Inside Look on the Elite 8 Tournament – Days 4 and 5
By Blanca Izquierdo—
The morning of day four was the hardest of all. Everything was gone, nothing else I could do, and it broke my heart. Nobody prepares you to lose. When people congratulate me or tell me how proud they are of this team I feel like they’re lying. It’s hard to believe that we did so good, when we’re feeling so bad. I guess none of us is ready yet to understand how far we’ve come. We need time to heal, to get perspective and to celebrate this historical season. While you’re still on the fight, it’s hard to see the bigger picture, but we’re still trying—and so, we went to visit Pittsburgh downtown.
This city is beautiful. We went ice-skating around a huge Christmas tree. Facts about ice-skating; it’s not for me and it could be lethal for clumsy people. After lots of encouraging from my teammates, I found the courage to let go of the railway. Surprisingly, I ended up falling a few times (maybe some more); but it was all worth it because it made my teammates laugh. It’s amazing how laughing brings people back to the present moment and for a moment, we forgot about the game and the sadness temporarily faded. I am very happy we went ice-skating because it brought the team together, gave our minds a break and made us feel better.
Day five was championship day and the ghost of the quarterfinals returned. Some of my teammates gathered the strength to go watch the game but I personally couldn’t. A part of me questioned this decision. The final represented a celebration of the sport I love and I was lucky enough to be here competing until the very last moment. Tampa won the title and my team won an unbelievable experience that I’m sure will take them very far next season.
Everything has come to an end and it’s time to go home. No more practices, no more trips, no more games, this was it. I never thought about the end before, but making a dream come true is a good way to say goodbye. The 2018 Tarleton volleyball team is the first in the program history that has participated in the NCAA Championship and that is timeless. Thank you to everyone who has crossed my path during these four seasons of college volleyball. I will hold the memories near and dear to my heart. Forever thankful.