Off & Running!
Here’s a little Life of Cassie update:
I got my first taste of International competition a few weeks ago when I went to India with Corinne Quiggle for an Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) 1 star tournament. The FIVB is the international governing body for all forms of volleyball and sponsors the only tournaments that provide the opportunity for olympic hopefuls can gain points towards the olympic dreams. My adventure halfway around the world proved to be more than challenging - it tested us to our core. We battled over 40 hours of travel, food poisoning, language barriers, and unfamiliar medicine just to get to the courts. It was our inner strength and proudly wearing USA, that kept our focus and provided the inspiration to push through. Unfortunately, after dueling another USA team to three sets against the young and talented Nourse twins, we were unable to pull out a win. The FIVB tournaments are single elimination, which meant we were heading home early. The taste of being selected and playing in an FIVB tournament, representing my country, even with the loss, made me just want more.
I returned to California with a fire burning deep in my belly to become a better player. And I mean that in a many ways; I need to change my mental game, refine my physical game, increase my mobility, and develop better nueral networks. I've focused every waking moment pushing myself to become a next level player - stronger, fitter, and mentally prepared so I could represent USA in the FIVB tournaments this April.
One week before I leave, and I’m ready! I am playing with Lara Dykstra and we have planned to play in multiple FIVB tournaments in a row. We will begin our trip in Battambang, Cambodia and then will head to Langkawi Island, Malaysia. Then we have a pretty fun itinerary to our next tournament in Gothenburg, Sweden. I am so excited to see so many American athletes heading overseas to represent the greatest country ever. My path to the podium start nows!
I am asking you for help - I need your sponsorship!
If you’ve never talked to me (or my family) before, you haven’t heard that I have big dreams of playing in the 2024 Olympics. While this may seem like a long way out, there is a lot of strategy and chess moves to be played in the next 6 years leading up to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. Lara and I have scheduled our entire season to try to give ourselves the opportunities to win smaller 1 star FIVB tournaments in the beginning of season to gain international points that will put us in a good position to get into larger, more competitive FIVB tournaments as season goes on. Knowing which ones are worth our time and money to travel and when it might be better to stay in the States to train or play in domestic tournaments is something we are both learning as young players in this international arena. If you want to know more about how the ranking system works, head over to April Ross’s blog post about it. She did a beautiful job of explaining how teams are chosen and made a pretty complicated process seem fairly simple. Plus, her blogs are pretty great insight and chock full of wisdom about life on and off the beach!
In addition to the FIVB tournaments, Lara and I plan on playing in the AVP Tour this summer. I am so excited to see all my friends and family across the country as I play in the tournaments. Here is the AVP schedule for this summer - I hope to see you courtside!
Part of the reason for this blog is also to ask for some help. Preparing for the Olympics takes full commitment; mentally, physically and financially. Traveling to compete is expensive as you can imagine. Training on and off the court, strength building, specialized conditioning, physical therapy, film sessions, and team meetings don’t allow a lot of time to maintain an 40 hour a week job. Traveling also limits how much of an income I can make while I am away; duh, Cassie. I have secured coaching positions for three teams and work part time at a restaurant to try to make ends meet each month, but sometimes you just have to wave the white flag when you need some help.
I have had a lot of people tell me or my family that they are so proud of me for chasing my big dream and would do anything they could to help me on this journey. My favorite analogy to explain the help a young Olympic hopeful is similar to the same one that is used to explain how to raise a child; it takes a village. I had an AMAZING village of people to help raise me and filled me with love and inspiration that has followed me into adulthood and plays a huge component in my professional career as a volleyball player. Now, I am reaching out to my Village for some help in chasing my big dream. I can’t cover all the expenses with my income from my coaching and part time job while trying to pour every other ounce of myself into my game. Finances are always big stresses for beach players and we all have to tell ourselves that the investments we make today, this week, this month, will pay off when we are able to stand at the top of the podium and say all the sacrifices were worth it.
If you find yourself with an extra $5, $20, or even big tax write off or tax return that you don’t know what to do with, I’m asking you to consider supporting someone’s dream. Because every single one of those numeric amounts makes a difference. $5 is a full meal in some of the Asian countries I will be going to. And a tax write off or tax return could possibly cover an entire travel trip to allow me to get international points and move up the world rankings, bringing me closer and closer to France.
I’m lucky to say that I have had a few people believe in me enough to already gift me with some help and found sponsors like Black Snout Brewhouse and five12 Apparel who want to help support me in the ways they can. But, friends, I wouldnt be asking for help if I didnt really need it.
I have created a donation section in the Sponsor page of my website that will send you to a PayPal pool where you can donate any amount you can. Or you can click here! I can't thank you enough if you decide to contribute and help me. If finances are tight for you as well, I'm just asking for some love and good vibes to be sent my way. Or, if you're in one of the cities I will be competing in, help a girl out with a couch to crash on! I will be so much better about keeping you guys up to date via social media, mostly Instagram and some Facebook, while I am on the road so be sure to follow along! Time to get this season off and running!