One of the Eastern U.P.’s top volleyball players for the past few years just returned from an overseas adventure playing with top athletes from across the world.
Lindsey Hill, who played for the Brimley Bays, was hand-picked by organizers of the “America’s Team.”
The tournament was called the Barcelona Cup.
They played at the Instalaciones deportivas Esplugues de Llobregat in Barcelona, Spain.
Hill was a multi-sport athlete for the Bays whose mother, Beth Hill, was also the head varsity volleyball coach at Brimley while Lindsey was playing. She will continue to coach this year.
Before this international adventure, Lindsey had only travelled to the Buckeye State.
"I felt really grateful that someone like me got the opportunity to do something so amazing and life-changing. I have only travelled as far as Ohio in my lifetime so to be able to travel to a whole new country and experience a whole new culture was so exciting," Lindsey said.
In the months leading up to the trip, Lindsey held fundraisers to help with the cost.
"She had to raise money to fund her trip. Her aunt helped with a big taco sale last summer that did amazing and we had a GoFundMe that helped a lot too. She also had some family and friends that gave her generous donations towards her trip. Packing was a challenge. We spent a week checking and rechecking to make sure she had everything she needed," Beth said.
She said it was worth the hard work.
"It was 100 per cent worth the experience. The friendships formed, the dining experiences, culture, and views was all such eye-opening experiences. She realized that there is so much out there in the world to offer," Beth said.
Then the day came for Lindsey to head to Detroit and head overseas. Without her Mother.
"I was so excited for her to have this experience. It was the first time she went to compete that I wasn't there with her so that was tough for me and very tough to leave her at the airport with strangers, but when she got home and shared her experiences with us it was definitely worth it. This will be something she will remember for the rest of her life and I am thankful that she was able to gain this experience," Beth said.
"This was my first time flying so at first getting on the plane I was super nervous, but after the first flight, it was a piece of cake. I was greeted with a hug from my coach and her daughter. My teammates were so nice and meeting them in person felt like I knew them forever. Most of my team members were from Michigan, three of us were Yoopers, me from the EUP and two others from the western UP. Two of my other teammates were from outside of MI, one was from California and I think one was from Florida. I think skill-wise we were all pretty well matched up, and everyone seemed good with their roles on the team," Lindsey continued.
As for the time in Spain with complete strangers that soon became like family, Lindsey says they plan on keeping in touch.
"I became very close with my roommate and one other girl from my team and we already have plans to meet up again soon," Lindsey said.
She loved the experience of playing volleyball with different levels of competitiveness from different countries.
"I think it was more for the experience of adventure in Spain, but playing volleyball for four of the days we were there was so much fun. We were all very competitive, and playing the international teams was tough because they were all so amazing. European rules are different than our rules here. The tournament rules are more strict and the tournament atmosphere was nothing like I've ever played in before. The international teams play year-round volleyball, some of them at a high collegiate level so that in itself was a learning experience for me and my team. The international teams were super nice and welcoming, too," Lindsey continued.
Her Mother was able to watch the games on the internet...but it wasn't easy to just be a spectator.
"It was hard to catch the live streams because of the time difference, but I would catch myself "coaching" her through the computer screen when I would watch the replay!! I was happy there was another parent there to stream the games though, otherwise, I would've never been able to watch any of the games," Beth explained.
Of course, Mom and Coach could not be more proud of Lindsey.
"I couldn't have been more proud that Lindsey was able to represent the USA playing the sport she loves so much. I have watched her work so hard over the years to build on her skills and be the best player she can be. She has been a EUP standout for the last few years and it has always been a goal for her to continue playing volleyball after high school. But we all know it is not easy for small-town kids, especially from the UP to gain any kind of exposure, so when she committed to NCMC last fall she felt excited and relieved to have reached that goal. And then to be chosen to play international was above and beyond what we could've ever dreamed of. So very proud of her and excited to see what else she can accomplish," Beth said.
Lindsey is set to head to Petoskey to attend Northern Central Michigan College (NCMC) in a couple of weeks to play volleyball at the next level.
"My next two years at NCMC I will be focusing on general education and some pre-nursing classes. I know I want to go into something with science, but I haven't locked down what career I want yet. I do plan to further my education after I am done at NCMC," Lindsey concluded.