Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Land of the Free, Home of the President

This President's/Valentines Day weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to spend it in none other then our nation's capital - Washington, D.C. I may or may not have mentioned this on this blog before, but I am a volleyball coach, and my team competed in the Capitol Hill Classic this weekend. I love away tournaments because they're like mini vacations that I am getting paid for - the best kinds. I also always invite a few friends to join me on these long weekends, because hey, it's basically a free trip. My friends Alex and Wilber decided to join me and I couldn't have asked for a better pair to spend the weekend with!

Friday: Travel Day

We left a little before 3 pm and hit the road to D.C. With bags packed, we jammed out to some T. Swift and other throw back tunes all the way there. It's about a 5 hour car ride, and with stops (including a detour to get some cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes for my teams) we got to the hotel at about 8:45. I had a meeting with both of the teams that I coach, with my Head Coach, at 9 pm to distribute wristbands that all you to enter the facility as well as just going over what to expect for the upcoming weekend. All of the girls were very excited to start playing and even more excited to meet both of my friends who I brought along on this trip. 

After introductions and all of the excitement died Alex, Wil and I realized we were starving so we ventured out into the city to find somewhere to eat. Given that it was February 13th, the day before Valentines Day, many couples were out that night and it was a bit hard to find a restaurant that was able to seat us without a reservation. We eventually found one though called Zaytinya. To say it was delicious would be an understatement, this meal was possibly the best meal that I have ever had. It features traditional Greek, Turkish, and Lebanese dishes that are served family style, you pick a few dishes and share it with the table, altogether everything was to die for. If you are in the DC area, I would highly recommend checking this restaurant out!

A few of our selections for the night - a Greek salad, shrimp, and brussel sprouts

Awaiting our delicious meal

Alex and I enjoying dinner

After dinner we decided to walk around DC and see the monuments since there wasn't going to be much time for the rest of the weekend to sightsee. After going about 8 blocks, the cold and wind caught up with us and we decided it would just be best to head back to the hotel and go to sleep. However we did catch some cute pictures of the Capitol building prior to heading back.

Alex and I

Wil and I

Saturday: First Day of Play

Saturday was the first day of the tournament but we didn't play until the afternoon wave. How this works, since there are many teams that participate in these larger travel tournaments, is there is an afternoon wave and a morning wave. Morning wave starts at 9 am and the afternoon wave starts at 3:30. My 13's team had the afternoon wave and my 14's had the morning wave. Given that I wanted to watch both teams play, my entire day consisted of volleyball. I went and watched them play at 9 am and then at 11, which my friends both decided to come watch, and at 11:30 we left to go get lunch with my 13's team at Panera.

Wil and I watching an 18's team during the morning wave

After Panera 13's were on. We went 2-1 in our pool that ended up lasting until 11 pm! Our court was behind from the morning wave and ended up getting even more behind because a couple of our games went to 3 sets. But given that we had a winning record, that meant we played in the morning. So it was immediately off to bed because we had to leave for the convention center at 7:45 to play at 9 am.

Sunday: Second Day of Play

This was the second day of pool play and the day that my friends had to head home because we didn't have school off on Monday. After we played in the morning we ended up 1-2 for the day, which was a bit disappointing because that meant we ended up in the Silver division, instead of Gold (which is the highest). After we played, I caught some lunch with my friends before they headed back to Raleigh at this restaurant about 2 blocks from our hotel called Cuba Libre. After bidding them farewell, I spent sometime with my team and then caught a game for one of my high schoolers that started at 8:30. After that it was time to pack up and head to bed for the last day of the tournament.

Monday: Last Day

Like the rest of the weekend, Monday we had a start time of 9 am. However unlike the rest of the weekend, this day was single elimination so if we were going to lose we were done for the day and had to go home. If we won, we kept playing. The first game was definitely our hardest by far, they took us to 3 games but we ended up winning the second and third games easily. After that we were on a roll, and won our next two games which meant we wont the silver division and 13th place overall for the weekend!

Overall I am very happy with how the girls played, and had so much fun with my trip to DC this weekend. I'm so glad my friends were able to come up and keep me company. Can't wait till the next trip! Next stop - Atlanta!

Till next time,

Casey Rose