A tope, Chikis, and other Voliebol nonsense

To everyone that has asked about my well being, thank you. I am safe and sound and physically unaffected by the events in Paris.

With the desire to talk about something positive, I have to shout out my Madrid volleyball team. I have mentioned joining a volleyball team, but I haven’t exactly elaborated in terms of what that has meant for my life here.

Within my first two weeks of living here, I decided to seek out a volleyball league as a way of connecting and meeting people in Madrid. Although I do want to travel a good bit while I am here, I think there is something valuable in making the place you live home. For that reason I joined a team, bought actual art for my walls, a scented candle, slippers, and I am actively trying to find a routine that pleases me in Madrid. My first volleyball practice was one to be remembered. My Facebook status from that night:

So, I went to my first volleyball practice in Spain today and I learned a few things: 1. Probably should have looked up a few volleyball terms in Spanish 2. Listening to someone explain a drill in Spanish is the same as listening to Jaime Burns Fisher explain in English–pretend to know the rules of the game and then actually start understanding after about 15 minutes and one team huddle 3. High fives and hugs are universal smile emoticon Missing my team and Millsaps College Volleyball tonight 

What that experience did for me was reignite a passion for the game that had been a void in the U.S. and make me remember how important it is to have a team.  The reason I first loved Jackson and Millsaps College so much was because of the people that came with the package. In order to love Spain, I know that I cannot just go sight seeing and touring, but truly find people that make the place worthwhile. That first practice happened to be a clinic instead of a competitive group, so I kept looking. Of course they all asked, “how is your Spanish?” To which I answered, “terrible. But I am fluent in the game of volleyball.” Which I have discovered is actually true for me after four years of playing in college and three years of being a head coach. After contacting several teams, a tryout,


My first weeks were tough. Learning a language is a challenge–learning the sports terminology and differences in the game in a different language are especially tough. For example–the word for “covering your hitters after they attack” in English is “cover.” In Spanish the word is apoyo* (mind you I am not sure how


-Having your name on the back of a jersey is super cool!

-Stretching is not optional after age 21 if you expect to function like a normal human being the day after a game

-I am too old for a five game match. Let´s be reasonable here.

-Dive rolls will always suck. No matter what.

-The coach and player disconnect exists everywhere.

-Even adult teams need the grit and leadership talk.

-Being a part of a team is one of the most special parts of my life.


Sports teams are very special. The moral of this is that team becomes family–albeit temporary. They help you grow–they are there when you are weak and losing and when you are strong and winning and everything in between. When our coach and his wife were preparing a baby–the team threw them a shower. When our club coordinator had a biopsy, we took silly pictures of encouragement, said serious prayers, and anxiously awaited his recovery. And when I continually speak terrible Spanish and get frustrated, they speak to me in broken English so I don´t feel so bad. I am so thankful for this team and being able to grow with them. A tope, chikis (“to the top, cool girls”—sort of)! DaBasco!

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