Walker gains worldly perspective on European volleyball journey
March 8, 2018
A chance to travel the world—that’s not what sophomore Arie Walker was expecting when she joined club volleyball in seventh grade at the encouragement of her mother and middle school coaches.
Walker started playing recreational volleyball at eight years old. As she entered middle school at SPA, her mother urged her to become more serious about her sports career and pointed her towards tennis.
Instead, Walker intensified her love for volleyball. When her seventh grade coaches recommended club volleyball, she joined Northern Lights Volleyball, a Minnesota traveling volleyball team. Since then, Walker’s tournaments have brought her to states all over the country. The trip that stood out to her the most, however, was the world trip her team embarked on in January that took her to Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. Walker didn’t know about the trip until her “fifteens year,” and she learned that to go on the trip, she had to be on a “one” or “two” team; at the moment, she was on the “three” team.
“This year I worked really hard in high school season to accomplish that goal, and I ended up making a twos team,” Walker said. “That was super cool, and now I get to tell everyone that I went on that trip.”
Over the entirety of the trip, Walker and her teammates met volleyball players from all over the world, including from Belgium, Germany, and Holland. While the trip consisted of a long and intense volleyball tournament, the focus was on the experience of learning about different cultures.
“The focus on the trip was definitely more about learning and experiencing something that’s not part of the United States. It was amazing to see how other people interact… how, culturally, what people do is different than in the U.S,” Walker said.
Walker’s team had time to explore Amsterdam and the different cities that they traveled to, and the different teams had time to meet in a lunchroom and get to know each other through asking questions.
“Do you have snapchat? That’s a big one that everyone asked. What do you like to do, what’s the driving age, all kinds of stuff,” Walker said.
The only downside to the trip was the physical exhaustion of the tournament.
“The last country we went to was Austria, and it was tough because we were all kind of homesick, and a lot of people were just irritated and kind of complaining, and I felt like that was ruining the experience. That tournament was hard too…. Our level of energy and trying to compete with such a high level of competitors was kind of tough,” Walker said.
The trip inspired Walker to think differently about the way she lives her life. Walker was especially interested in the language differences between her and her teammates, and the different players from across the globe.