May 10, 2012
Today was a very exciting day. We woke up around 10 am to have breakfast downstairs, which of course had bread and cheese. There’s also a choice of eggs and cereal, and everyone always loves the croissants. After stuffing our faces, we left for the ropes course around 11 am. We start walking up towards the giant hill that sits in front of our hotel where a ski lift takes us to the top. Everyone is paired up to ride up the hill, where some people decided to put down the safety bar, while some of my other adventurous teammates did not. Me and Susan decided to use the safety bar since falling out of a ski lift that was about 30 to 40 feet off the ground didn’t seem like very much fun, but to each their own.
Once we made it to the top everyone put on their harnesses for the ropes course. We split up into two groups. One group went to the giant swing, while the other group went to the telephone pole. I was in the group that had the giant swing first, which in my opinion was pretty scary. They strap your into all the ropes and wires and your teammates have one of the ropes, which that run out into the field which will take you to the top of the swing. The worst part, in my opinion, is having to release the rope yourself to drop down from the swing. Kaleigh and I both agreed that if someone else were to pull the rope for us it would be a lot less scary, instead of having to rip out the cord that catapults you into a 100 foot drop. I may be exaggerating the 100 foot drop slightly, but regardless it’s still a long ways to fall. The initial drop is probably the second worse part. I’m not a big fan of free falls, so that empty feeling that you get when you’re falling isn’t too much fun for me. There’s also a two second delay once you pull the cord where you second guess whether or not you pulled it hard enough, and then all of the sudden you’re falling from the sky. Once I got past that first drop the swing was actually pretty fun and exciting. I have to give the best swing award to Scott though. The people tried to convince me to lean back and spread out my arms as I dropped because it would “more fun,” but of course I hung tight to my harness. Scott on the other hand took the swing like a champ. He laid all the way back, spread out his arms wide and he didn’t even scream. All of the girls started screaming after the first drop of course, and even Ed had to yell a few times.
Next was climbing the telephone pole. The climber is strapped in by three different ropes, one which of which one of the guys helping us was strapped into as well. The other two ropes were red and blue, and for some reason the blue group NEVER wanted to keep their rope tight. So if I were to have fallen from this telephone pole, you can blame everyone in the blue group. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! Anyways, the guys tried to explain to us that once you got to the top of the pole, which shakes harder and harder the higher you get up, to simply just stand up using your left leg. As more and more people got to the top of the pole and started to freeze up, these are the words of encouragement given by our helpers, “Just stand up! It’s not so hard.” Umm… Thank you? But in fact, it is pretty hard to gain enough courage to actually stand up on top of the pole which is about as wide as a dinner plate. I feel like I made it to the top fairly quickly, but when I felt that pole start shaking, and I put my left foot on top, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get up. But once you make that decision to stand up, it really isn’t as bad as it looks. Anyways, everyone made it to the top, and after you make it, you have to slowly turn around to face the other side to step off the pole. I would have to give the best pole climbing award to Kaleigh. Not only did she make it to the top, but she also did it ballerina-style. Most people like to balance on top of the pole with two feet, but oh no, not Kaleigh Colson. When she climbing she wasted no time getting to the top, balancing on one foot, then twirling (almost poetically) off for her dismount. It was not only graceful, but also inspiring for me and I’m sure for my fellow teammates as well.
After everyone finished up with the swing and pole, it was time for lunch. I moved my back pack over to the table, which I realized was about 50 pounds heavier since everyone that it would be a good idea to consolidate all the bags, into one bag, my bag. Anyways we stuffed our faces again with bread and cheese as always, and all the other Slovenian food they gave us. The miniature sausages were actually really good, and they actually had some ranch dressing for our salads. Usually they just give us some oil and vinegar, but since most of us are from the South, we appreciate the nice, creamy dressings that aren’t good for you. Once we finish eating we have yet another photo shoot. We took pictures in front of the hill, in front of the building, in front of the ropes course, with two people, with five people, with coaches, with trainers, with new roomies, with old roomies, and with every different type of combination and scenario that you can think of. We took every possible picture you could.
The next part of our journey was now making it back down the hill. I wanted to simply take the ski lift back down, but that would be way too simple for the Slovenians. Instead they built this rollercoaster to sends you to the bottom. You sit in this small yellow cart that is connected to the railing. The cart has two options: Slower or Faster. In my opinion the slow wasn’t actually very slow, because I know I pulled back on it a few times, and I still felt like I was going over 100 mph. The guys reassured me that this contraption was safe, and had been tested thousands of times, so there was no way I could fall out. They strapped me in, simply using a seatbelt, which didn’t feel very safe or fool proof to me, and sent me on my way. The railing did not just stay on a straight path, but it twists and turns and goes into the wood. Several times I really thought I was going to be thrown out of my car, but luckily I had my seatbelt to keep me safe. Finally we everyone made it to the bottom of the hill after tons of screaming, and we were safe on dry, solid, level land.
By now it was time for a good old fashioned nap. Everyone claimed they weren’t going to go to sleep, but of course I know everyone did. Then we woke up and went downstairs so that we could travel into the city of Maribor. We walked around and took pictures by the river and fountain and lake. Then in the distance we spotted a MCDONALD’S! Even though we had just eaten lunch a few hours ago, we were hungry yet again. Tonya let us all get GRILLED chicken wraps, and was even going to let us have lemonade, but unfortunately all they had was soda. I for one definitely didn’t want soda in my system before we played, so we all drank water instead. I will say, this McDonald’s was not like my Mickey D’s back home. After we finished stuffing our faces yet again, we traveled around the city about half an hour more, before we started walking back over to the gym for our game.
It was an extremely long day out in the sun, but we had to push that aside and focus on our game. Ever since the first day, we decided not to let all the traveling and fun we had during the day, weigh down on us during the game. We started warm-ups and got nice and loose and were ready to start the game. From passing to defense to offense, this was the best we’ve competed since we started this trip. It felt good to not only have fun, but to beat this team in three games. They asked to play one last game to 25, and we did, even though we had already won. AND we had one of our favorite women’s basketball players from Tech who is from Slovenia come cheer us on. I could hear TJ cheering in the packed stands for us. Her voice was louder than all the other fans there, and we knew we just had win. She even started the “YELLOW – JACKETS” chant, which made it feel almost as if we were home again.
From GTVB to TJ, thank you so much for making that trip out to support us. We all love you! I can’t wait to see you back on campus!
Once the game was over we took a quick shower in the locker room and got dressed for dinner. We all put on our nice jeans and shirts, and were ready to eat another meal. I guess you could say that this was our 4th meal of the day, not including the snacks that we ate during nap time. But athletes love to eat, and we have to have fuel to keep us going. The food was also very good tonight; we ate wings, sausage, and steak with potatoes and vegetables. Oh and I can’t forget the bread and cheese we have to have at every meal. After we finished, they gave us a nice tour of their wine cellar. They have these huge metal contraptions where is take TWO YEARS for them to make their wine. For it to take this long, I sure do hope its good, which I’ve heard it is. The place we ate was on top of a hill, but unfortunately it was dark so we couldn’t really see anything. Still, it was a very nice place, and we all enjoyed the food and the view.
We head back for the hotel after a full day with the ropes course, city, volleyball, and tons of food. I think everybody would agree that it was a great way to end our stay in Slovenia, and we all had a wonderful time. This was a great experience for us, and I’m happy that we could not only have fun, but also win our game too.