Warners and Rietema Provide Updates on Costa Rica Volleyball Tour
Thursday, July 25, 2013
(L-R: Greer Bratschie, Amber Warners, Megan Rietema)
Entry written by Calvin women’s volleyball coach Amber Warners currently leading an AVCA team of All-Americans through Costa Rica
I am the person who has had the privilege to coach this incredibly talented group of volleyball AVCA All-Americans. I must admit, I had little expectations and many more questions about this trip. Will these players be anything like my players? Will they respect me like my players do? What is the expectation for winning….with never having any practices together? What will the competition be like. I have traveled to many different countries but never to Costa Rica and never as a volleyball coach. What a privileged, honored, terrified and excited feeling all rolled into one. On top of all of these feelings, I ended up having one of my players and a player from our rival school both going along….and who play the same position! The rivalry is not just any ordinary rivalry. It has been ranked as the 4th most fierce rivalry in the nation. And it is between two schools that are NCAA Division III! When our two teams play, we draw around 3000 fans.
We are about half way through this trip and what I have found from this trip so far is respect for the people and culture of Costa Rica, respect from the All-Americans, and that coaching women who aren’t necessarily like all of my players is a very fun and rewarding experience. I have found that there is friendship and goodwill playing against some very talented Costa Ricans and who also have a very competitive spirit. I have found that winning matches is still just as much fun out of the U.S. of A. than it is when I am home. I feel goosebumps every time when our team cheer is “USA”
One of the most rewarding experiences for me has been to get to know and coach this player from our rival school. It has been such a joy to watch both my player and the rival player laugh, compete and get to know each other. It has been a joy to coach her and there have been many times when I have wanted to call up her coach who I coach against and praise her for her part in helping this player become the women she has become (which I certainly will do when I get back into the U.S). It has made me realize that I can compete and want to beat this other school but at the same time like them as people because they are people very much like the people on my own team. I know that the rivalry will not become any less fierce but I do know that the respect I have for the other school has increased and I feel very blessed by that.
I am not sure there are too many coaches who get to experience coaching a player of their own and a player from their rival school on the same team, let alone both All-Americans but I can say that I would highly recommend it if they are given the opportunity.