Baby It’s Cold Outside

It has been almost two weeks here in Michigan and there is a lot to unpack!

Our pre-season started by ringing in the New Year at a Griffins hockey with the team at Van Andel Arena! I sometimes have a hard time believing it’s 2024.

I remember New Year’s Eve 2010 saying to my friends on my couch. “Guys, it’s gonna be so weird when it’s 2020!” Well yeah, we can all agree that year was flippin weird, and let’s add four more years to that and here we are, it’s 2024 and I’m playing pro indoor volleyball in the state of Michigan. God has amazing plans but I can confidently say I didn’t see this one coming in the best way possible!

When the New Year confetti fell to the ground, we were already dressed and ready to go for our first days of lifting and training. We hit the ground running and the last two weeks it’s been full steam ahead. The new daily routine is different than the one I’ve lived for the last 6 years. No sand has been spotted but there’s lots of snow. The days start by waking up at 5:30, seeing 5 inches of snow that fell the night before, eating some breakfast, reading God’s Word, and heading out the door for a lift at 7:30-9:00. From there I come back, chill, take a nap, and eat lunch before heading to practice from 1-4! Next, I go home, snack, call my entire family, eat dinner, and do other miscellaneous things before hitting the hay and doing it all over again! 

There have been many new changes in the last couple of weeks. I’ve settled into my new apartment, started to nail down the new daily routines, and have gotten to meet lots of new faces, whether that be on the team, in the community, or at church. But out of all the changes, I think the biggest one would be THE WEATHER. 

As I said in my previous blog. The word “cold” has never been in my vocabulary. And well, after being in Michigan for two weeks, that word is becoming more frequent. I am almost hesitant to say the word cold, because the cold I have been experiencing the last couple of days is a “cold” I’ve never felt before. 

However, there is a lot to love about the cold.

I love coming back from a day of training and seeing the snow fall outside while I’m perfectly nestled in my warm bed. Or when we’re leaving lift and seeing who can catch the most snowflakes in their mouth like we’re five years old. I even love just the simple drives around Grand Rapids taking in the beautiful snowy views on our way to a cozy coffee shop! There have been some fun snowy memories but let me tell you, it’s a slightly different story when you are caught outside in the middle of a blizzard lol

Story Time. 

My teammates recently picked me up as usual to go grocery shopping, they’re practically a chauffeur service cause I wouldn’t dare drive in the snow alone. They told me,  “Bundle up it’s about 4 degrees, -15 windchill.” I have no idea what that means so I “bundle up” in a sweatshirt, a vest, running shoes and sweatpants. no beanie, no gloves. That was mistake numer 1. 

I survived our run into the story. No one falls which is a plus. We grabbed our groceries and flung our things in the car as fast as we could to avoid the wintery death. Now as we’re in the car warming up our entire bodies,Holy proceeds to tell me we need gas. I’m thinking, no problem, let’s grab gas. Getting gas has never been a problem in my life.

As we approached the gas station I offered to pay so I flung the door of the van open and immediately the word “cold” hit me in the face. Upon feeling the windchill I slid around the van as fast as I could without eating s***, and somehow within those 5 seconds to the pay machine my hands were frozen.

I felt like I was fighting for my life in the “Arctic Tundra”

I could barely get my card out of my pocket and into the reader. The machine wasn’t reading my card and I was dying at this point, I think frostbite is settling in on my hands. I struggled to put my card back in the machine. Seconds went by and it was a success, it read my card. I’d like to point out it has been less than 3 minutes since leaving the van.

By this point I can’t even grab the gas pump my hands hurt so bad. I shoved the pump into the car and I told Holy to take care of the rest of it as I hauled a** back in the van.

I really can’t put into words how cold that feeling was. “This isn’t the “I’m going to blow on my hands to warm them up, type cold.” haha that doesn’t seem to work past a certain temperature.

Aside from all of that, the weather is swell! I’ve learned many things here in Michigan. The biggest is that when someone says bundle up it means your entire body should be covered besides your nose

Now as the weekend is coming to an end and as I thaw out my body for tomorrow’s adventure I can hardly believe our last week of pre-season starts tomorrow! We have our first scrimmage coming up in Van Andel Arena on Wednesday and about a week after that we hit the court for our season opener! 

Yep! Only 11 days away from our first serve of the PVF season! Our first home game is against the Columbus Fury on Thursday January 25th. Catch our games on CBS or if you want to battle out the cold here in Grand Rapids, watch us live and in person at Van Andel Arena!


Sarah Sponcil is a prominent figure in the world of professional volleyball, known for her exceptional skills, work ethic and achievements on the court. Born on August 16, 1996, in Phoenix, Arizona, Sponcil began her volleyball journey at the age of three and has been showcasing her immense talent and dedication to the sport ever since.

Garnering three high school state championships in Arizona, and two NCAA national championships at UCLA, Sponcil’s career reached new heights when she represented the United States at the 2020 Olympic Games. At 24 years of age, Sponcil became the second youngest beach volleyball player to ever represent Team USA in the Olympic Games and, together with her partner Kelly Claes, were the youngest beach volleyball team to ever represent Team USA in the Olympic Games.

Following her Olympic success, Sponcil has continued to excel as a professional volleyball athlete, earning numerous accolades and recognition for her prowess as both an indoor and beach volleyball player. Her versatility, athleticism, and relentless determination has solidified her reputation as one of the top players in the sport and make her a force to be reckoned with on any volleyball court.

Off the court, Sponcil is known for her humility, work ethic, and commitment to her faith, family, and desire to inspire the next generation of athletes. She serves as a role model for aspiring volleyball players worldwide, demonstrating that with passion, perseverance and dedication, anything is possible in the world of sports.

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See me live in action with Grand Rapids Rise online or in person!