Ah, summer breaks, remember those days? While the rest of us were working away, with an occasional weekend sneaking off to the beach, some former RVC junior & adult players were globetrotting and playing some v-ball. Colton “Smiley” Stone hooked up with some of his IPFW collegiate pals and headed to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Christian Taylor (from EMU) hooked up with other D3 players in Brazil. Hunter Taylor (from EMU) was busy representing Team USA at the Deaflympics in Turkey. Jack Wilson (George Mason alum) is playing some pro ball in Finland, Quinton “Q” Moore is playing pro in Iceland and Sam Albus went to a pro tryout in Slovenia. We’ll be posting all of their stores here. But let’s start with Christian & Colton and see what they have to say about their experiences.
This past June I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to the country of Brazil and compete with the USA All-D3 Select team. We played against teams in the cities of Campinas, Jundiaí and Rio de Janeiro. The competition we faced in Brazil is something that cannot be matched here in the States. The players we competed against have ate, slept and breathed volleyball since they were first born. The NCAA has strong competition but the guys in Brazil were born and raised to become volleyball players. The guys there said, when you’re young in Brazil, you either choose to play soccer or volleyball. Whichever one they choose, that’s how they were raised.
Aside from volleyball, I was able to dig deeper into a culture that I was introduced to last summer while watching the 2016 Olympics in Rio. When we weren’t playing, there was time for trips to Christ the Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the USA Olympic training facility, and an elementary school visit. Besides trying to learn a little Portuguese, we were able to eat with locals and take part in the daily life that they live. Each day in Rio de Janeiro, we spent our time enjoying the beauty of Copacabana Beach. I remember sitting on my couch watching beach volleyball during last summer’s Olympics and thinking about how cool it would be to play volleyball on Copacabana Beach. This June, I was able to turn that dream into a reality.
It was an honor to be able to play, with and against, the highest volleyball IQ players I’ve ever been around. I am hoping to take many valuable lessons from my trip and help them turn me into a better player for my team at Eastern Mennonite University. Being able to discuss volleyball with different players from around the United States was extremely beneficial. I was able to take away different things from other players and coaches that I hope will be beneficial to the improvement of my game over my final two years of college at EMU and then hopefully professionally somewhere overseas.
While playing at Indiana Purdue, I have made many great friends from all over the world. Three of my teammates are from Puerto Rico so they invited me to play there this summer in the Jeep Volleyball Championship in San Juan. The experience was amazing because I got to play with and against some amazing players from the island. They play the game with so much passion and energy that it really changed my perspective on how to play. Volleyball opens up your life to so many opportunities and experiences and I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.
Want to stay in the loop? Sign up for the RVC monthly email newsletter to make sure you know the score!