Israel: one of the world’s most heated places throughout history.
Not only is it a country of religious and political tension, it is also a hotspot for one of Pacific’s own, Lauren Goss.
Goss had an opportunity of a lifetime this past summer, spending three and a half weeks in the Middle East country on a worldwide volleyball excursion.
Not only was she enjoying the sport she loves, but she was representing her country while she was doing it.
Goss was part of a U.S. team that tours to Israel every four years.
Collegiate women from all over the country take part in a tryout, in respect to the side of the country they live on, in hopes of being selected for this team.
Those on the east coast travel to New York, while those on the west coast, like Goss, tryout in Orange County, Calif.
According to Goss, there were 50 participants at her particular tryout; only nine made the cut.
After a 17 hour flight across a ten hour time change, Goss was in Israel.
She was not unfamiliar with the country by any means. Having family who lives in Israel, she has traveled there five times before.
This time, she was able to get a whole new glimpse of the surrounding area.
While off the court, the team toured some of the most famous and most dangerous areas, like the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Goss explained it as “a very interesting experience.”
“We literally played right across the street from the West Bank, and had to be escorted there by police and military personnel,” she said.
The United States was just one of about 60 teams represented in this gathering.
Goss and her team played a total of five games against teams from Brazil, Chile, Ukraine and Israel.
One of the biggest challenges for Goss was the differences in rules.
Each country had similar structure, being the same sport, but had some specifics that needed to be straightened out by international rules.
Despite being sick and in the hospital for a few days of her trip, Goss was very appreciative of the opportunity she got.
“My favorite part was getting the chance to meet people from all over the world,” Goss said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat, and recommend this to anyone who gets the chance of playing.”
Every two years, this world wide gathering trades off between Israel and Holland.
Goss is hoping she will be able to attend the event two years from now.
Now, Goss is doing what she can to help her team at Pacific University.
“We had a rough start in Colorado, but we played really good teams.”
Goss, unfortunately, was injured during the trip to Colorado Springs and is therefore currently out.
However, she is optimistic about the team’s potential this season.
“We have a lot of team chemistry, and a good chance of doing really well this year.”