9.11.01 Never Forget.

9 11 01 Never Forget

It is hard to believe that 13 years ago today, our country experienced a tragedy beyond any measure.  I will never forget that day, or where I was, or how I felt.  To this day, thinking about it gives me goosebumps and makes me ache inside for all the lives lost and their friends and family members.

I was a scrawny high school freshman with a home volleyball match that day.  I remember being in 4th hour English Literature class, glued to the television as my classmates and I watched the horrific events unfold as if we were watching an action movie.  It was surreal.  It was so sad.  It was downright awful.  I remember praying for it to be a dream or a nightmare – instead it was real.  It was no surprise to anyone, when school was dismissed for the day and all after-school activities were canceled, including my precious volleyball match.  I didn’t feel like playing anyway.

As the 13th Anniversary of September 11th is upon us, we will never forget, we can never forget.  To all those who lost their lives that day and in the days, months, years afterward fighting for our country, you are in our thoughts and prayers.  Never forgotten.

Thursdays are a popular day for volleyball matches during the school year.  As you stand on the court before our country’s flag with the sounds of our National Anthem filling your ears, press your hand over your heart and think about those who lost their lives on 9/11…even if you are too young to have experienced that historically tragic day.

Remember them.

Remember their families and friends.

Remember our soldiers.

Remember our country united.

Dedicate tonight’s volleyball match to them.  And vow to never, ever, ever forget.

CONGRATS, National Champs!


Rockwood Thunder 16 Mizuno wins National title at GNVC_1

Rockwood Thunder 16 Mizuno won the National title at GNVC in Minneapolis on July 3, 2014. Bottom Row: Eva Mich, Lauren Wacker, Katelyn Bright, Alayna Martin, Emma Kriete. Back row: Taryn Griffey, Mackenzie Steckler, Hayley McSparin, Meghan Donovan, Amanda Beaton. Coached by Gretchen Moser and Billy Rhodes.

A big congratulations to the Rockwood Thunder 16 Mizuno Girls’ Team who won a National Title at the Girls’ National Volleyball Championships in Minneapolis this July!!  We are so proud to see our hometown, St. Louis, MO as well as the Gateway Region represented so well on the National Level as CHAMPS!!  What an awesome way to end a fabulous season.  Great job to all involved and good luck as you continue your volleyball careers.

Also, thank you to one of our followers for letting us know this awesome news so we are able to spread the word!  Followers, if you have some great volleyball news that you would like us to share, let us know!!

Where the Game Begins…

#AVBDUDE Getting Sandy

Dude at the Heart of America USAV Junior Girls Beach Volleyball Tournament in KC

#AVBDUDE was hanging out in the Midwest this past weekend at the USAV Junior Beach Volleyball Tournament hosted by the Heart of America Region in Kansas City.

The tournament took place at a great, up-and-coming facility called Volleyball Beach.  The facility boasted 14 sand courts with all the amenities, including a sprinkler system to keep the sand cool and at its best.  Spectators watched from the back patio and porch and enjoyed food and drink from the bar and restaurant inside.

Qualifying matches for Girls 12’s and 14’s took place on a hot and sticky Saturday, June 21st.  But the humidity did little to dampen the competition!  Ace serves, diving saves and rallies for days marked the day with success for many teams.  Despite the resulting scores, the players had a blast while working hard and improving their game with the amazing opportunity to play in the sand – something that was unheard of in the Midwest until recently.

Overall, a very successful weekend, especially for TVT Beach Elite Team Aubrey/Morgan on took home a 14U National Bid with a 3rd place win at the KC tournament.  Congrats, ladies!!

Even #AVBDUDE made an appearance!  Volley Dude got to soak up some sun and get sandy, all while hanging out with the All Volleyball Girls!!  Where the game begins…even for beach!

A Letter to a Volleyball Dad

Dear Volleyball Dad,

I know sometimes I don’t say this enough…but, thanks.

Thank you for always waking me up on the weekends in time to leave for my tournaments. I know I can be very grumpy in the morning!

Thank you for shuttling me to and from practice, to and from my games, and to and from my tournaments. We have spent countless hours in the car traveling all over…sometimes late into the night. You never seem to mind…well, if you do, I never notice because I am most likely asleep!

Thank you for always getting me my water bottle when I’ve forgotten to bring it over to the bench. I know I need to remember it more, but it is pretty funny watching you sneak it over to me!

Thank you for coming to all of my games, sitting on those hard bleachers from the first serve of the match to game point.

Thank you for the big hugs you give me at the end of the day, even though I am a sweaty “monster” as you always say!

Thank you for going shopping with me for my volleyball gear. I promise to try and wash my stinky kneepads more often. Oh, that reminds me! I think my feet grew, I need new shoes again…

I know I roll my eyes a lot at your lame jokes. But you are my Volleyball Dad. You are always there to support me, to encourage me, to help me. I know that no matter what the score or how much of an “off” day I’m having, you are always there for me.

You have given me every opportunity to succeed in my favorite sport, and I just want to say “thanks!”  And, seriously, I think I need new shoes :)

Happy Father’s Day!

Your Volleyball Kid.

Stars and Spikes Forever

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light

As the first few notes of our National Anthem fill the air in the gym, I sneak a peek down the line of my teammates.  I can’t help but smile.  Our toes of our White/Black Mizuno volleyball shoes are touching the end line.  Our backs are to the net as we face the stars and stripes of our American flag.

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?

We are standing shoulder to shoulder with our left arm around our teammate and the other pressed softly against our hearts.  We watch as the flag dances slowly in the breeze of the air conditioner.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight

Suddenly, there is no one else in the gym with me.  There is no opposing team.  No referees or line judges.  There are no fans or family members.  It is just the flag and me in my volleyball gear.

O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?

My thoughts wander to the men and women of our military, who fight for our freedoms – past, present, and future.  If it wasn’t for them, would I be here standing on the court with my teammates?

And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air

Would I be a student-athlete in college?  Would I have this jersey with my team’s name on the front?  Would I even be here?

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

Would I have this incredible opportunity to represent my university every weekend during volleyball season in a match against other teams from across this wonderful nation?

Oh, say does that Star – Spangled Banner yet wave

I catch my breath as I realize that every freedom I have, including the sport I love, comes from the work of our armed forces – men and women who I don’t even know.  And these strangers – who don’t even know me – have given up so many things, so that I can have so much.

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

As our National Anthem comes to an end and the crowd roars with anticipation of the upcoming battle across the net, I switch my focus back to volleyball.  However, our Armed Forces and the true battles they face are not forgotten.   Each and every time I hear the opening notes of The Star-Spangled Banner, I think of them.  I can only hope that my silently prayer of thanks can be heard and felt by them all.

Let’s all remember the true meaning of this day.  Whether you are playing sand volleyball, barbecuing with the family, or taking in a fireworks show, take a minute to think about it.  While our country is not perfect, we should still be thankful.

To the members of our military – past, present, future – Stars and Spikes Forever!