18 Under Armour got the opportunity to spend 10 days Italy this year playing volleyball across the country. In-between matches and travel, the team also took in the sites, food, culture and learned about the vast history that Italy had to offer!
1st Day in Italy!
Most days were filled with early morning breakfasts, followed by a bus trip into the city where the sightseeing began, on foot. 18 – UA Libero Jenna Giambi had this to say of the touring “The most interesting thing I found out on the trip in Italy was how different life is there. In America we drive EVERYWHERE, but in Italy they walk and walk, and they never complain. Even though they might see the same statue or church every day they still respect it, as if it was their first time visiting it.”
Sightseeing could include everything from historic buildings, like the Coliseum or churches to famous rooms where artist created their world renowned works that are still enjoyed today. Each day was filled with a new part of history for the team to learn about.
After morning tours, the team was treated to lunch at a variety of restaurants. 18 – UA Middles Amya Small and Nikki Capizi said that one of the toughest parts of the trip was “Eating all the time, literally” and “I (Nikki) wasn’t prepared for how much food we were going to get”. Almost every meal in Italy the team had was a 3-course meal, something that isn’t offered as readily back home.
After touring ended for the day, the team would travel to a new city for a match. Although Italy has a lot to offer in site seeing, volleyball was still the focus of the trip. The girls played multiple matches through out the trip versus a varying degree of opponents. 18 UA got the chance to compete against high school level teams, and professional teams with girls that live in academy’s dedicated to their sport. 18 – UA Outside Annaka Jorgenson on playing in Italy, “I thought it was so interesting to see just how different volleyball is in Italy. It is so funny because so many of have such little knowledge about the rest of the world and it never even occurred to me that the sport I play could be so similar yet so different just being played in a different country. It was cool to have to play with international rules but the most interesting part was just getting to play against such a different and unique style of play. It helped me learn more about the complexity of volleyball and really appreciate the different ways to be successful and to compete.”
Locker room prep for the 1st match of the trip!
“The Nutella was amazing over there and when I got back and had some, it wasn’t the same. But I also missed all the amazing people we met. It seemed to be every city we went to we met at least two people that we will never forget.”
"I missed the culture and the people"
"Eating as often as we did"
"If I am being honest, I missed the gelato the most, as well as all the food. It was absolutely amazing. Enough said. But in all seriousness, I missed the adventure of the unknown. I loved waking up in the morning and not really knowing what was ahead for the next day... it was so cool just having so many different interactions and experiences with the cities and the people and the overall Italian culture."
18 UA Parent Group!
We asked 18 UA on their thoughts on what was tougher than expected about the trip. Here is what some of the players had to say:
"I was not prepared for the language barrier. I thought going over there some people would speak English but not everyone did. And the ones who didn’t speak English it was hard to communicate with them, we would always have to get a translator.
"The hardest part for me was playing on concrete floors"
"I wasn’t prepared for how much food we were going to get"
"The hardest part of the trip for me was being away from my family for so long. I went without either of my parents and this was the first real time I was without them for so long, and to make it better I was in a foreign country across seas. But I learned so much about myself over this trip and I learned what it feels like to be on my own and responsible for almost all my stuff. It was a good look at like how college is going to be and I am grateful to have had this experience at the end of my senior year before I head off to college in the fall."
JVA Open Division Champions!
Here are some of the things 18 UA would like to pass on to the groups that will follow in their footsteps. Getting ready to travel to Italy is more than just packing, and here is what the girls had to say:
"Enjoy every bit that you can. Never say your tired or you want to stop because there is so much to see in such a short time. You have 10 days to experience a trip of a lifetime. Take some pictures, but remember to soak in the experience away from your phone. You will cherish the memories of the trip so much more if the photos have more meaning behind them. Make sure you create as many moments as possible."
"Make sure you get enough sleep and bring enough clothes to have different outfits throughout the trip. Be prepared to walk everywhere. Have walking shoes for sure."
"It’s a once in a life time opportunity and be grateful that we get to do this at such a young age. I’m so grateful for the opportunity. Have fun and just love where you are."
"My advice for future groups is to commit to trying new things and commit to being a volleyball player first. This is a volleyball trip and trust me you will have plenty of time to sight see and take pictures, but don't let that be your focus. Instead, when we focused on competing on the court and then bonding off the court as a whole group to experience the culture, that is when we had the BEST time.
PS Bring a speaker for the bus ride, you're going to want to do karaoke and sing and dance on the long bus rides. Shout out DJ Joellie!! :)"
This trip provided so many different experiences and opportunities for everyone. For most girls it was their first time out of the country! Forza1 North would like to thank the Marina family for this wonderful opportunity. Words alone can’t reflect the impact this trip has made on the players, the family and the staff of 18 UA, and with out the Marina family, none of this would have been possible.