The one positive from the season ending in the way that it did, was that I was free to travel to the Champions League final four in Łódź, Poland. For me the Champions League final four is the best weekend in the volleyball calendar. There is high level volleyball all weekend, and all the most important people in European volleyball are in attendance, from Presidents of leagues, to journalists to the most important agents. All are there to see the best and meet the best.
Unfortunately, this years edition didn’t work out as planned. On the morning of the first day, the Polish president along with half of his government was killed in a plane crash in Russia. Almost immediately rumours began circulating that the tournament would be cancelled or postponed or played without spectators. Wandering around town running into people there for the tournament, the latest information / rumour was exchanged, but it was not until just after 2pm that the final news filtered out that the event would be cancelled. Firstly there was obviously major disappointment as people had gathered from all over Europe. That was quickly followed by a mad rush as many people tried to leave immediately. One friend of mine was in the queue boarding his flight when he received the news and was able to turn around and go back home.
For those of us who stayed the only thing to do was hang out, talk volleyball and enjoy Polish hospitality and cuisine, which we did until the early hours of the morning. It turned out to be a memorable weekend after all and I do have about 20 new (or at least new for me) stories. And we did achieve a ‘seven nation army’… seven people at the table from seven different countries.