Tim Toy is on his first international trip and he’s reporting from the Rio Olympics.

I didn’t learn a whole lot of Portuguese while I was here in Brazil, but this is what I did learn.


It means thank you. I said it at least 200 times in the past 10 days. It had meaning every time.

When you put yourself out in the world, allow yourself to be vulnerable, you are forced to respond in a thankful manner. It was easy to be thankful in Rio.

From the first cab ride with Elton, and every cabbie the entire trip, obrigado.

To Steve and Linda Thompson for setting everything up, Craig Thompson, Jackson Lynch, Dawn Colston for all the laughs! All the USA parents, especially Laurie Glass and Rob and Connie Harmotto. We shared joy and tears. Obrigado!

To the city of Rio de Janeiro, much was written about your shortcomings. Let’s face it: It can’t be easy to hold an Olympics in a country so strapped by poverty and corruption, but Rio far exceeded my every expectation. When I started telling people about my plans to come to the Olympics, everyone had concerns. Zika, government unrest, and crime all dominated the conversations. This was a trip I HAD to make, and Rio dispelled all of these concerns. The winter months cut down on the mosquito count, the country seemed to put rising corruption concerns on the back burner for two weeks, and I never once felt uncomfortable walking from venue to cab or around Porto Maravahla. Rio put on its best face. Its people were bright and friendly. Obrigado!

To the USA Volleyball staff, I am so very proud to have gained “friends and family” status. Your organization has been so very kind to me. You have always been so quick to offer support during my dark times.

Lori Okimura with Tim Toy
Lori Okimura with Tim Toy

Extra thanks to Lori Okimura, Bill Kauffman and Denise Sheldon …
So great meeting Jamie Morrison and Marv Dunphy and a huge thank-you to Karch Kiraly for personally telling me how much he enjoyed the blog posts and that he used one in pre-match with the team. I cannot tell you how that feels to me. Honored to have had just a little impact on you and your team. Obrigado!

And to the team. We have been on this three-year odyssey that started because one of you wanted to help. It has grown into what can only accurately be called friendship. You have allowed me access with your participation in my “Five Questions” segments. You recognized my desire to serve the volleyball community and you have always been so quick to respond to my every email, inquiry, and even texts. I am a better man for my relationship with you, and I have recovered well from tragedy because you chose to care. I have learned so much about the game, but more importantly about response and mindfulness with all of your mentorship. Obrigado!

To my family and friends, as anxious as you might have been to see me make this trip, in the end you were entirely supportive. You sensed a need for me to see this thing through, and many of you have been following along with this blog and with the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts. Ellen always lived her life in a way that would benefit others, even in the face of personal loss, health concerns and the unknown. She knew she could inspire. I hope by my adventure you can see it is possible to get back up and choose to live, choose to love, choose to play. I went #allin for this trip, and so glad you believed in me and helped me along! Obrigado, Obrigado, Obrigado!

This could have been a difficult 10 days, and it was emotional, but I am inspired to “play the next point” because of everyone mentioned above. My trip to Rio serves as a dividing line between what was and what can be. So as I have said so many times the last week and a half, Obrigado!!!
I’m coming home!

Oh yeah, one more.

To Lee and VolleyballMag.com, and everyone who took the time to travel along with me on this journey, Obrigado!  It’s been great writing my feelings out for all of you to see and read. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it and living it for you. Remember to always “Choose to Serve.”
All my best!
Tim Toy, We Serve First Foundation

Tim Toy’s wife, Ellen, passed away from cancer. Before she died, she and Tim became very close to the USA women’s volleyball team. The best way to catch up is to go: https://www.jamthegym.com/our-story/, because there’s so much to it that deserves your attention, including their Jam the Gym event and how they gave back to the volleyball community in so many ways.

This trip to Rio is one of Tim’s way of honoring Ellen and their We Serve First Foundation.

VolleyballMag.com appreciated all his blog efforts and we are grateful to have been a small part of the journey. We know our readers are. Best of luck Tim!



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