What a crazy summer! There were ups, there were downs, great memories made, records set, and LOTS of airline miles accumulated! I learned so much this year, battled hard, and I hope it made me better, but I know it made me stronger. Before I get carried away with the gazillion things I could blog about, I wanted to provide a brief summary (complete with photos!) of our season, so here it is…
Our season started (after three months of preseason) in late April with two events in China.
First in Fuzhou-
Next was Shanghai-
Then we came home for the AVP in St. Pete, FL, where Brad (with John Mayer) and I (with Kerri) both won, becoming only the third couple ever to accomplish that! And, bonus, no hurricane this year!
Next we were off to Moscow for a Grand Slam where we won some furry hats.
Then we stayed out for two more tournaments in Europe…
One in Berlin, where we also celebrated my birthday! Here we are against the Berlin Wall-
Then one in Stavanger, Norway, one of my favorite tournaments! I love the trophy they give for winning it- a Viking sword!
After those three weeks overseas it was back to the U.S. for the second AVP in Milwaukee. I was blown away by the atmosphere of this one and how awesome the fans were!
After the finals of that one it was right to the airport for our flights back to Europe. Gstaad, Switzerland for a week….
(practice against Phil & Rosie, we still owe them burritos for losing standing game. FYI it’s really hard to jumbo Phil.)
Then the Netherlands, where we actually played in two different cities- Amsterdam-
And The Hague- before heading back to the homeland again.
Once we got home, we immediately started preparing for the Long Beach Grand Slam in our backyard. It’s the only World Tour event in the U.S. and we all want to win it. Taking the cake in that one was one of my favorite moments all season. Doing the worm on NBC with Geeter before the finals was pretty sweet too though 🙂
After a quick champagne toast and a shower I headed to LAX to fly out that night in order to make it to Austria in time for the main draw, that was some brutal travel. We always love playing in Klagenfurt, just wish we’d done a little better.
After a disappointing finish, but also, the best party of the season it was time to jump back on that bird and fly home. This time we were home for two weeks, two AVPs, and Brad’s birthday! The first one was in Salt Lake City-
But then we were home for a FULL WEEK! Next up was the Granddaddy of beach volleyball tournaments- The Manhattan Beach Open, which I had never won before.
I was beyond thrilled to earn my plaque on the pier with Kerri! After checking that one off the bucket list we were supposed to go back to Europe, for another Grand Slam in Poland, but after being caught up in the grind for twelve weeks in a row at this point we made a last minute decision to skip it. Our bodies, and to a bigger extend our minds, needed rest. I think we took two days off and then hit the practice court again.
After Poland there was another AVP, this time in Cincinnati, Ohio-
The tournament in Ohio was followed the next weekend by another east coast AVP in Atlantic City, NJ so we decided not to fly all the way back to Cali, but instead stay out in New York for the week.
However, this was no leisurely stroll through Central Park kinda stay in the Big Apple, we went to work doing media for the AVP and pumping up the next event to try and get some New Yorkers down to the upcoming AVP for the weekend.
We did get to catch some US Open action which was really cool to see. My mind just started thinking about how similar beach volleyball and tennis are and how they should be on the same level popularity-wise & business wise…maybe one day.
As a result of all our running around in NYC, I don’t know if I’ve ever been AS exhausted as I was during the first day of the tournament in AC. My whole body hurt, I was so tired, and mentally toast. We managed to hold it together to stay in the winners bracket and I finally had some time to recoup that night and came back, thankfully, with a newfound energy the next day to keep our AVP winning streak alive.
Mercifully, after the Atlantic City AVP we had a TRUE weekend off, the first in about sixteen weeks! It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and family for a quick minute, definitely mentally rejuvenating.
The Huntington Beach AVP Championship was the following weekend and we showed up ready to clinch our undefeated AVP season. Whitney and Heather definitely came with their A game in the finals, but we were able to hang on and get our names in the record books! It was a very special moment.
But no parties for us, I immediately went home grabbed my bags then headed back to LAX for an overnight flight to Sao Paulo, Brazil for our last tournament of the year! Where it rained the whole time….haha.
Like I said, it was a crazy season, but so great to get it under our belts going forward. We know what we need to do to be prepared for next year and how much time, effort, sacrifice, and strength it’s going to take, but we are definitely up for the challenge!
I have to thank everyone who helped me/us out this year- my husband, my family and friends and fans for all the support- cannot overstate my appreciation for it, our coach Marcio Sicoli and assistant Jon Daze, my strength coach Tim Pelot, my agent Lindsay Kagawa-Colas, all the physios who traveled with us and helped us at home, USAV for their support, and Mizuno for outfitting me in the best and always being there for me! I am so thankful I get to do this and so grateful to everyone who’s agreed to come on this journey with me!
Hui ChengJanuary 9, 2015
Saw you guys play at Manhattan Beach. What a performance! Congrats.
What are your thoughts on the Mikasa FIVB beach balls vs. the Wilson AVP balls?