Senior libero Emily Helm recaps her recent trip with Team USA to the 2013 China-USA Challenge Invitational...
As I set out to LMU for the first time ever I was anxious to meet my teammates that I was going to be playing with for the next two weeks in China. We had three training sessions to get through before we set out on our adventure to China. My team consisted of other players from elite Division I teams across the country, some that I have competed against.
I had one last American meal before we headed out to China on the red-eye. Everyone eagerly awaiting our trip to China, some of us not looking forward to the long flight…
Our first stop was Huian, where we played three very excellent teams. With one day of sightseeing in between the competition, the days flew by. We were already headed to our next stop (Beijing) before we knew it. We played three more teams that were even more skilled and physical than the first three teams. One of the teams (Tianjin) is a team that has won 8 of the last 9 championships in China. Also multiple players on the team are starters on the Chinese National Team. Needless to say the competition was at its highest in Beijing. Although it wasn’t all volleyball, we also had a day off to explore China.
Our first stop was The Great Wall which was truly beautiful. I cannot describe how unreal this place was. We walked up 1,000 stairs and thought we all were going to pass out from exhaustion but once we got to the top it was worth it. From there, we headed to The Forbidden City and finally to Tiananmen Square. Sightseeing and volleyball over, the last day came to an end. LAX was our next stop.
What an experience. This being the first time I have been out of the country, I had no expectations and I was blown away. Seeing China and getting to see their culture was life changing. It really opened up my eyes to how diverse our world is.
Thankfully the team that I got selected to was awesome and made the trip that much better. Overall, I really enjoyed the time I spent in China and felt honored to be reppin’ the Red, White and Blue. It was a lot of fun although I was extremely happy to head back to Arkansas to begin preparing for my last and final hoorah as a Hog. With my senior year ahead of me, I am ready to make some noise. MAKE HISTORY. WPS!