Rients takes volleyball skills to Amsterdam for winter break

The+Northern+Lights%2C+Rients%27+travelling+volleyball+team%2C+playing+one+of+the+Netherlands+volleyball+teams.

Photo submitted: Blythe Rients

The Northern Lights, Rients’ travelling volleyball team, playing one of the Netherlands volleyball teams.

Over winter break, sophomore volleyball player Blythe Rients got to go to Amsterdam with her volleyball club, Northern Lights, to play against other international teams. Her team was one of the top two teams in the age group in of her volleyball club.

“There were teams from Cataluna, Barcelona, and Portugal. Some of them were kind of obnoxious. They had their little cheers. And they would say things across the net and no one would know what they were talking about but everyone knows English, so they would know what we were talking about,” she said. But despite the little rivalries, the teams were able to get over language  and culture barriers.

“It was so cool because we met so many awesome people and we all became friends by the end.”

Although the girls traveled to play volleyball, the sightseeing aspect of going abroad couldn’t be ignored.

“I didn’t know what to for living conditions and food. I’m pretty flexible when it comes to that stuff.”

Rients didn’t encounter too many problems when it came adjusting to a new way of life.

“The language barrier I thought was going to be a really weird thing to try to get over and be a barrier that was going to be really hard to break. But all of them knew English so well.”

— Blythe Rients

“The language barrier I thought was going to be a really weird thing to try to get over and be a barrier that was going to be really hard to break. But all of them knew English so well. The people were all dressed really nice. […] First impressions of the people there was that they were all very to the point. There was no small talk, and Minnesota, we live for small talk, so that was different.”

The team didn’t stay in the Amsterdam, but rather in a little city about four hours away.

“The place we stayed in was called Alkabaar, and it was pretty small. Everyone got to go out into the city and the market for three hours without any coaches, adults or supervision. It was cool that they put their trust in us a really cute and safe city.”

Rients’ biggest tip for travelling to Amsterdam? Wear layers.

“We waited outside for three hours to get inside the Anne Frank house, and it was really cold,” she said.

Although half way across the world from familiarity, Rients didn’t feel the need to return.

“The hardest thing was leaving. That sounds really cheesy, but I didn’t want to leave. Not even a little bit.”

Northern Lights team receiving cheese as a prize at the end of a tournament.