My kids and I went to Baltimore last weekend for the Northeast Qualifier. It's always one of my favorite events because it's a great opportunity for the kids to go out together, for the parents to get to know each other, and to play lots of volleyball. Good times.
This year we placed 21st out of 70, registered in the 17 club division, which is the best of any team I've had so far. The kids feel we could have done even better, but while I'm inclined to agree, I still think we had a nice run.
The first day we won our first two matches, tanked the third, but then had to watch the last match to see if there would be a three-way tie (and subsequent tie-breaker). All matches in our pool went three games except our second one, and were the last pool playing in the convention center. We had to cheer on the Cheetah Volleyball Club to win and prevent a tie, and fortunately they pulled it out in the end. I still can't believe they ended up going to the bottom half, because they were a really solid team, especially that number 13!
The second day we played in the morning. We won the first match, then nearly beat fellow OVR team Premier before giving up a lead and losing. That one kind of hurt to lose. They're not a powerful team at all, but my God are they consistent. We lost the third match to an impressive team from Memphis, and landed in third for the pool. No gold flight for us, but even at that point we couldn't do anything lower than the upper third.
Sunday morning the kids choked. They got beat by a younger team and simply didn't show up. I talked with our 18's coach after that and we both have the same problem. You can lead them to water, but you can't make them drink. We both refuse to just accept that, but at the same time it will drive you crazy if you let it. Like I said, I'm just pleased that they finished so high, and I'm proud of them.
Despite our screwed up seeding system in OVR, this finish hopefully secures us a spot in our own bid tournament, as it boosts our rank. We've also had (at least) three teams in the region score bids, so they're out and everyone else moves up.
I'm enjoying myself this year, and finally keeping a healthy dose of perspective. For whatever shortcomings I feel I have as a coach for the team, the progress of individuals is drastic and I'm really pleased. I really look forward to our final four events.