Let's see if I can put the future parts of this Dallas trip together just a little quicker.
While I pretty much covered getting there and that very tired Saturday, I did not post these shots of my beautiful nieces.
The tournament was at the Dallas Convention Center and we stayed at the Westin Galleria. It's about a 17 mile drive down the toll road to the Convention Center. While we took two vehicles to Dallas, we could all fit in one just fine for the toll road jaunt each day, plus we'd be able to split the cost of paying the toll.
The first day, Bailey had to be at the Convention Center at 7:00 a.m. Which meant we ALL had to be at the Convention Center at 7:00 a.m. So we got up bright and early (actually, it wasn't bright at all - it was dark!), got all our stuff together (camera, cards, lenses, wallet, etc. - you cannot bring any food or beverage in so that they can charge you an arm and two legs to buy theirs!), and headed south. Dave dropped us off and then found an excellent parking space in the underground parking garage and it was all looking pretty good.
When the doors opened to go in, we had to go past the security people to get into the court area. They asked to see inside my bag (had my LowePro backpack) and promptly told me that I was not allowed to bring in the lens I had (I rented a 70-200mm f/2.8). In fact, I couldn't bring in a lens over 3" long. Interesting, because nowhere in the information about the tournament stated such lens limitations. Now I know they have professional photographers from whom people could buy pictures, but really? Fortunately, they went ahead and let me in. Whew. I was a bit stressed, though, since this was the lens I had intended to use most of the weekend.
Having never made it to any of the previous regional or qualifying tournaments (though I tried), I had NO idea what the setup was like. I thought we would be sitting in bleachers, kind of far away from the players. Not sure why I thought this, but I did. I couldn't have been much more wrong. Unless I'd pictured us in a football stadium. We all sat in chairs RIGHT NEXT TO THE COURT. Which is awesome for watching the game. But horrible for the lens I brought! In my effort to travel light, the only other one I brought was my pancake lens - a 40mm. That was it. I could've cried. Oh, I'd still have rented a lens, so the money wasn't the issue. The problem was I had rented an amazing lens and wouldn't be able to use it. For FOUR ENTIRE DAYS of the tournament!
But then an angel disguised as an assistant volleyball coach appeared with his bag o' tricks. Bailey's assistant coach, Cliff, is a photographer, and he shoots Canon, and he had a 24-70mm Sigma, and he was super sweet and kind and allowed me to borrow it for the ENTIRE TIME we were there!
It would seem that all was well at this point. Only it wasn't. Unfortunately, the trip and the not eating normal and the screwy sleep (or lack thereof) wreaked havoc on Caleb's stomach. He was not feeling well at all. He stuck it out for the morning, but wasn't doing any better. So I borrowed the keys and took him back to the hotel. I left the big, amazing, heavy lens in the hotel with him and headed back to the Convention Center. Naturally, there were no underground parking spaces available, so I had to park in the hot, hot Texas sun. Phooey. I also missed a game, but that was to be expected at that point.
Bailey's team had a pretty good day - they won more than they lost. It was also her birthday, so that was pretty cool since she loves volleyball so much and got to spend a good portion of her day playing. That night, the team had a pizza party planned at the hotel, so she got to continue to have a fun birthday.
Nice photobomb by my brother-in-law.
Caleb & I just vegged in the hotel. I think he finally started to feel a little better. Oh yeah, I also uploaded nearly 800 images from the day. Yikes.
Pillar reflection I discovered on our way out of the Convention Center.
Who says you have to be tall to be good at volleyball? Not me. I've seen otherwise.
She has a great serve. Although I miss her jump serve.
Bring it on.
This isn't about the play. Look at the ceiling lights. A) They make for great lines, photographically. B) It gives you an idea of how big this place is. This is just a small portion of it that you can see. I believe there were 90-some courts total. That's a LOT of volleyball!
In case you missed it:
Dallas, Part 1