July 31, 2001
Bob Bell, father of Kyleen Bell #24
The day started with a 7:15 am rendezvous to load our luggage on the bus, eat a quick breakfast and be on the road to Anklam by 8 am. Everyone showed up on time and in good humor. However, the prospect of a four-hour trip to Anklam for today’s match was a sleeping potion for most of the team. No cries were heard about which song was to be played on the bus radio, only a simple request to turn down the volume. Determined to display none of my weariness to Kyleen, I managed to stay awake for the entire bus trip. The by-product of this vigilance was a spectacular view of the German countryside. You could not help be notice the pride the German’s take in their country, and in particular, their homes. Yards are immaculate, flower gardens flourish everywhere, there is little or no road trash, and roadside advertising billboards were almost completely absent. We arrived at Anklam on time (Is there a theme here concerning German punctuality?) After quickly checking into the hotel, it was again time to EAT.
Our gracious hosts seem determined to both raise my cholesterol level beyond safe limits and force me into a post tour diet! After lunch, both the Georgia Tech team and Schwerin’s team practiced with, signed autographs for, and interacted with Anklam’s young volleyball enthusiasts. Watching our players patiently and graciously work with younger players has been a highlight for me. Our players have been outstanding ambassadors from the USA! They are spectacular role models for children of any country.
The match versus Schwerin was outstanding. I define outstanding as our team played hard, were supportive of their teammates, and finished the match with the same number of unbroken bones as when they started! Several things made this particularly unique. First, Maja’s older sister, Hanka, played for Schwerin. Besides being an Olympic athlete and one of the best volleyball players in the world, Hanka is as gracious as she is beautiful. Additionally, the match was played before the largest and most enthusiastic crowd we have enjoyed thus far. Furthermore, Opa, Maja’s grandfather, was able to see his granddaughters play. The more I am around this gentleman, the more I hope I can age as graciously! Well sports fans, aurf wiedersehen from Germany. Danke seh?n to thank Shelton Collier and his staff for allowing my wife and I to accompany the team. This will add to an already rich experience with Georgia Tech volleyball.