So... We had our first volleyball tournament this weekend. What a trip!
To get to the school where the volleyball tournament was located, we had to somehow manage to chorale eighteen high school students and four chaperones onto a train. After traveling for an hour on the train, we then had to find those same eighteen students and check them into a hotel. Now one would think that a hotel could find a way to get us all in the same area of the hotel. Or maybe at least the boys in one area and the girls in another. One would think. Instead, the boys were spread out across two floors, and though the girls were mostly located in one hallway on the first floor, a couple of girls were also on the third floor. And we, we being the female chaperones, were also located on the first floor, right near the entrance of the hotel.
So much for sleep.
After checking into the hotel, we were bussed to the school to play our first set of games. The boys played first. Though they played well, and can really hit the ball!!!, they ended up losing their first match. The girls played right after and was able to win. We then took a break for f'tour. Since it is Ramadan, and none of the kiddos are eating until sundown, we needed to take this break. Oh my, how fast the food disappears. No lie, within ten minutes, the food was gone, and the cafeteria was cleared out. That ten minutes, however, gave us a chance to talk (between huge bites of pancakes and soup), and laugh... a lot. So much that one of my kiddos nearly spit her water all over all of us. And, I was called a trouble-maker. Can you imagine? All I did was throw a water bottle cap at a student at another table. (Don't worry, it was a student from our school.)
Full of food and energy, the kids all had one more game left. Boys again lost, but the girls again won.
The other thing about being Ramadan is that the kids then need to eat dinner. Ordering pizza, walking to nearby shops and bakeries... kiddos everywhere. By this time it was after ten o'clock. I was exhausted, but like I said, so much for sleep.
Finally, at about one o'clock in the morning, we had the kids all in their separate rooms and somewhat quiet. But, we had to make sure they stayed in their rooms and stayed quiet. Luckily for us, the guy at the front desk told us that if he saw any action, he would let us know. And he did. As soon as he saw our kids leaving their rooms, he told us. Fortunately there was only one student who tried and the problem was quickly rectified.
On to the next day. One more round of play and then the finals. Our boys lost both games they played on Saturday. They again played well and were fun to watch, but in the end, could not pull it together to win. The girls also lost the first game. It is a very frustrating thing to know that we have the potential to beat teams, and yet we lose. We have beat this team before, and yet still lost. Even though we lost the first game, however, we were still able to make it into the championship game.
What a great game. We were playing the best three out of five. We won the first set. The other team won the second. We came back and played really hard and had no problem beating them in the third set. And then we lost the fourth by just a couple of points. It all came down to the fifth set. Now, in all the other sets, we play until a team reaches 25, a point being made on each play. In the fifth set, we play to 15. Talk about tension. We played until a team reached 8 and then switched sides. Then both teams were tied at 12. Then both teams were tied at 13. The ball just kept switching sides. They won the fourteenth point. 14-13. Very critical. If they make it, they win. And my girls were very stressed. I could see it in their faces and eyes. So stressed, that the tension got the better of them and we ended up losing by one two points in the fifth set. My girls were devastated. No water and no food. And we lost. We were a mess. Yet, we still came away with second place, which is still really great.
After being recognized for second place, we headed home. Very few seats on the train on the way back, so many of us were stuck between compartments where we sat on our bags and talked (or played PSP).
All in all, I would say it was a successful trip. The times shared helped me bond with the kiddos even more. To celebrate a win. To comfort a loss. To laugh around "breakfast" food. To laugh together in the rooms at night. To talk... and listen... between games. To talk... and listen... on the train. To build these relationships. This is what it is all about.