If your idea of a perfect day is basking in the warm sun on a beach in Mexico playing volleyball with a bunch of awesome people then you belong on a South of the Border Volleyball Vacation. I just got back from spending nine pretty awesome days down in Ixtapa, Mexico with 240 SOB-ers on my second trip with this organization. My first one was in Puerto Vallarta circa 2013 and I’ve had a hard time fitting in another one since then until the FIVB tournament in Fort Lauderdale (Feb. 4-10) got cancelled and my schedule unexpectedly opened up!
I immediately reached out to SOB’s fearless leader Tom Davenport to see if he had room for me. Luckily he did, but once I was in I got a little nervous. The Puerto Vallarta trip is known for being a little more mellow and a lot less people than Ixtapa, and don’t get it twisted, we Pros are working while we are down there even if it is one of the coolest jobs you can land. I was envisioning it being really hectic trying to get around to everyone, I definitely wasn’t sure I’d be able to remember anyones names, and most importantly, how many tequila shots was I going to have to take?! But I managed to stay in the moment, put myself out there, just accept that I’d be asking for people’s names over and over, gave most of my shots to Troy and Miles 😉 and in the end everything ran really smoothly and I genuinely had a great time.
The new pros to Ixtapa flew down Friday so we could get the lay of the land. New to this particular trip were myself, Sean Rosenthal, Kerri Schuh, Geena Urango, and Troy Field. We checked in to The Park Royal Hotel, which I loved immediately. It’s airy and clean, my room had a gorgeous view, and it’s right on the beach with a picturesque pool. After we threw on our bathing suits we headed out to the beach for a welcome drink and a few rounds of four on four fun volley, then it was back to the room to clean up before heading to dinner. The restaurant Tom took us to was nestled in the hills of Zihuatanejo with an unforgettable view and food that matched. It was a great night with the crew before all the guests arrived the following day. The veteran Ixtapa pros that also joined us Saturday were Caitlin Ledoux, Janelle and Billy Allen, Ty Loomis, Ty Tramblie, Kelley Larsen, and Miles Evans, a pretty solid group of people to spend a week+ with in Mexico!
The pros have a few specific responsibilities while we’re down there; mainly playing with the guests in the morning and afternoon for a few hours, leading clinics every day, with a little coaching sprinkled throughout as well. Some of my favorite moments on the trip were playing with the SOBers during the Pro Games each day. All the guests are allowed to sign up for one thirty minute session with a pro and we either play a couple of games or they can ask for something else like a hitting lesson, etc. There’s another pro and guest on the other side of the net, so really you get to play with two pros at once! I had a lot of fun getting out there and playing with everyone who signed up for my games and hopefully I was able to give them a few tips they could take home. I also had a blast playing a few pick up games in my spare time. This really allowed me to meet and get to know some of the people on the trip, which I was thankful for, no better way to break the ice with someone than to play a sport with them!
By the end of the trip, I had enough chips and guac to last the rest of the year, secured a base tan that no one should have in January, and made some connections that I hope will last a really long time. On a side note, I was stoked it was too hot to do anything in the middle of the day which allowed me to get in a siesta to catch up on sleep each day and then hit the gym before our afternoon session, I actually came back from Mexico in better shape than when I left! I did a ton of yoga and my body held up really well throughout the nine days of going pretty non-stop down there.www.sobvolleyballvacations.com