Tim Toy: In tough times, “champions rise”

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Tim Toy, far right, with the families of the USA women's volleyball team

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

By Tim Toy for VolleyballMag.com

I have said to so many people this week that I feel so fortunate.

I have been asked by many what my connection to the USA women’s national team is, and why am I here …

It’s not an easy thing to explain and it is a difficult story for me to tell, but one by one, each time I have been asked, I answer.

It is a sad, yet beautiful story.

And I will continue to tell it.

I let all the things that make me sad run straight through me. I can’t see a way to the other side of this without leaning into the suck. This is my story, this is what happened, and this is how I deal with the bitterest of disappointment.

The women’s national team has taught me so much, so it’s only fair that I give something back, and maybe, just maybe, that’s why I’m here.

These athletes taught me that each point, played at the maximum amount of effort, is a valuable game all its own. I have done this with days since Ellen’s passing. Yeah, that day sucked, but I get another, and it’s my choice to reset, regroup, and choose to play hard again.

I have also found value in the way they deal with each other, that no one player is more important than the other. They are 12 interchangeable parts, each having worth to the machine as a whole. Each prepared to do battle should the other struggle or become injured.

The Ultimate Trust, from one of my earlier blog posts.

Courtney Thompson with Tim Toy
Courtney Thompson with Tim Toy

I have on days struggled, and each time I have found someone to prop me up, a friend, a co-worker, or a family member.

Thursday was a bad day for my team. The Serbian team was ready. The Americans made too many errors, and at the highest level of this great game, errors are going to come back to haunt you. Thursday was that day.

So what is the cost, really?

Many of these women have put their lives on hold, some for a decade, to make playing for a gold medal a reality. Thursday evening they were left with a very bitter pill to swallow. Playing in a bronze-medal match wasn’t ever going to be enough, yet that is what they are left with.

So here is my lesson.

What is gone is gone for good. The past leaves us no control over it. You have control over how you act and react in the wake of this bitter disappointment. That is what I expect to see on Saturday. I know you know this, and I’m hoping I’m the right person to remind you.

I have the deepest admiration for this team.

I know what unbelievable athletes they are.

If you’ve been paying attention the last week you know this, too. That is not why I came to Rio. These are my friends. I came to support them. I’ll be in the seats in the Maracanazhino Arena again on Saturday, cheering my ass off for them. The medal is not the color we had hoped for, but it’s the one we still can play for and win.

This is not where I expected my life to go, but this is what I am left with too, and I am going to make the best out of what I have left.

And that’s what I expect will happen in the bronze-medal match.

Champions rise.

These women are champions.

One more time gang, one more time.

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 is fortunate to have him as a correspondent this week as he makes his first international trip to see the team he loves.

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