Lost our first Gold Bracket challenge match this morning. Congrats to Rizen from Hawaii, who played a tough, hard-fought match that was marred near the end of game 3 by some dishonesty by the winners. At this moment, we're moping around the Phoneix Convention Center, feeling somewhat sorry for ourselves for losing in the way we did, angry at ourselves for not playing harder / better, and disappointed in the other team for some calls they should have made on themselves, but chose not to. "It's Nationals... this is why we pay for officials, so they can make the calls, not us*." Well then.
* - To be fair, most teams would agree with this. As would most of my teammates. Except when it costs them (us) a match. This is one of those things that I guess I understand, but is much harder for me apply personally. If I touch the ball, I say so. If I touch the net**, I say so.
** - Those of you who have been out of volleyball for a few years may be surprised to hear that you are now allowed to touch the net under most circumstances. I know, I hate it too.
Next up is the Bronze Bracket. Unlike the Gold, which is double-elimination, any match we lose in Bronze will end our tournament. Winner of the 12 team Bronze bracket will take home Gold Medals (go figure) that say "Bronze Champions". They'll also be able to claim a final National Rank of (counts it up...) 25th. We are going to need to get our heads back on our shoulders before our first match... or our trip through Bronze is going to be short and sour.
- Aw2pp, who will now go find the closest Subway, then go back to the Convention Center.