I mentioned yesterday that Claire has had pretty much non-stop volleyball tournaments for the last couple months or so. Local around here (only three parents in all allowed to watch), and then the last three weekends, three in three different cities.

Yikes! Volleyball has taken over our lives! (Again, reminds me of the good old days when Max was in this mix, but boys’ volleyball is so different from girls! Lots more travel going on with girls, for Max it was just for Nationals.)

The last two tournaments here in town happened to hit on the same days as proms, so that made for some tricky maneuvering business. That girl got changed from volleyball to prom so lickety split, we have some pretty funny memories from all that’s been going on around here!

I lucked out and got to go to Denver with Claire for her “middle” out-of-town tournament.

Got introduced to the big blue bear at the convention center there (kinda cool), got to stand in line with thousands of volleyball parents (all the way around the convention center one morning to check in negative covid tests and get our participant verification lanyards, etc.), got to explore that downtown Denver area, got to know the parents that by now in a regular season we’d know so well, but we haven’t had much opportunity to interact because of all the covid restrictions.

And most of all, I got to hang with my girl (when she wasn’t team bonding), and cheer on her great team from the sidelines.

We somehow got put in the USA division rather than the Open division which was a little frustrating but man alive, they did so well! It was so fun to watch the energy on that court.

These tournaments are pretty incredible. Volleyball courts set up as far as the eye can see and the tallest of tall girls from all over the country surrounding us, playing some pretty incredible volleyball. Even with only one parent allowed there were so many masked people, including the players, and the environment in there is pretty electric.

Let’s look at a few of Claire’s kills (taken from an iPhone video but bear with me 🙂

The jump:

The hit:

The follow-through:

Pretty good cheerleader from the sidelines too:)

While Claire was doing her team stuff I took a little walking tour of downtown Denver by myself…

…(but really with Lucy on FaceTime who had been wanting to talk forever) and I saw so much beauty (Lucy mentioned she was sure Claire was glad she was “team bonding” rather than being with a mom taking a bunch of pictures of a “boring” city…ha!). Dave joined in too after a couple tough days of his school.

There is something so good about getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. Loved hanging with Claire’s teammate’s parents and learning their stories. Here are a few of us (plus coaches) at dinner:

I got to watch three games on both days I was there, and they won and won. Every one of them. It sure makes it fun to watch volleyball when you’re winning!

The timing was perfect for me to give everyone hugs, say my goodbyes to the girls and all these awesome parents…

…and take the train back to the airport. (I was so sad to leave before the last day but Lucy was ready for me to be home and I had a bunch of Relief Society stuff I needed to get back to as well.)

SO happy I got to be there as long as I did! Goodbye Denver!

Dave and I watched the rest like this from our phones:

The streaming works sometimes and didn’t work other times…Dang it when the score is like this and you can’t see it!

The team mom is THE BEST, such a nurturer taking care of these girls, and had them do this for Mother’s Day:

Those girls won every game in the gold division until the very last, the championships, where they lost in the third set 15-17 (you only go to fifteen in the third and have to win by two).

So they were actually so frustrated in this picture after that loss, but they came home with silver medals and got their Nationals bid so we were pretty proud of them!

Claire loves when I make her take pictures like this:

Ha! She’s a good sport!

Dave got to go to the tournament the next weekend.

Loved that I got to watch some of those games with my Dad, who was here (with my mom) for my brother’s end-of-the-year party. (More about that soon.)

This time they were in the Open division. They had a heartbreak loss to a team they beat in their Reno tournament a couple weeks before and then a glorious win against the number one Open division team with Claire making an impressive block to take the last winning point.

But even still, they got knocked down (with the loss) to the silver division. And came away taking second place, I think! So proud of them and how hard they have worked, together.

I love this team so much, and so grateful for the chance to actually get to know the girls better, these girls Claire spends so much of her life with!

Anyway, phew!

That’s a long wrap-up, but this has been a long journey. So much learning and growing being done.

On to Nationals!

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  1. As a former hs volleyball player (and fellow Middle like it seems Claire is), I LOVE these volleyball recaps. And if you’re ever wondering if it’s worth it being all in like this, I can tell you that now as an adult some of my biggest “life lessons”, leadership skills, teamwork, and just plain work ethic were developed through volleyball. Go CLAIRE! (And go you and Dave too – you’ve given her the ability to take an incredible opportunity here).

    1. That’s good to hear, Molly! I do think it has the possibility to teach SO many lessons!!

  2. What’s the significance of USA Division vs. Open Division? Are there teams from other countries? (Forgive me if that’s a dumb question, I am completely disconnected from sports beyond watching a little college football … and Ted Lasso!)

  3. Oh my heart, I miss volleyball!!! We are still under big restrictions here in Alberta ( kids are on line school) no sports, no hanging out with anyone unless they live with you etc) so so miss volleyball. I’m so glad you got to go!!! Seriously, you blink and it’s over. It’s Grace’s senior year next year and I’m praying they’ll play by then!!
    Soooo fun!

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