To call Marisa Field a well-travelled athlete this summer would be an understatement.
The 26-year-old Kelowna product is in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week, competing with the Canadian national women’s volleyball squad at the World Grand Prix of volleyball.
It’s the third leg of the summer’s international tourney, which also took Field and her Canadian teammates to Peru and Belgium for a series of matches against South American and European competition.
“The Grand Prix is highly important for us to gain very valuable experience competing against the top teams that we will be facing at the world championships in (this fall) in Italy,” Field said via email. “It’s quite rare that we have the opportunity to play against top European teams, as we are usually confined within our NORCECA/Pan American zones, mainly due to funding issues.”
In addition, SportsNet1 is broadcasting all the Canadian matches live for the first time ever, which Field considers “A huge honour for us to finally have the opportunity to showcase what we work hard towards every day.”
Now in her eighth summer with the national women’s program, Field isn’t one to look too far into the future but admits the prospects of competing in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil are never from her thoughts.
The Canadians have been working the last two summers with a corps of 18 to 20 players in preparation for competitions leading up to Olympic qualifying.
After devoting the majority of her life to volleyball over the last decade, Field said nothing would be more rewarding than making it on to the biggest stage of all.
“My ultimate goal since I was a teenager has always been to play for Canada and wear the maple leaf across my heart, and eventually at the Olympics,” said Field, a two-time CIS national champion with the UBC Thunderbirds.
“The dream of making it to the Olympics with Canada is always a motivating factor when the grind and struggle that can be 12 months a year of training is real. If that dream can become a reality in 2016, I would count my lengthy volleyball career the ultimate success.”
Volleyball is, literally, Field’s life as she also spends at least half the year in Europe playing the sport professionally. Last season, she played in Germany with the Thuringia Volley Stars.
Still, as demanding as her schedule has become over the years and the sacrifices made, Field still appreciates what the sport has provided her, both as an athlete and as a person.
“With very little time off to rest, recovery, and enjoy summer in Canada before heading back over to Europe, and little time to have much of a personal life, it can be a grind,” she wrote last week while flying into Spain with Team Canada. “But as I sit on a plane, I am reminded of how cool and unique this lifestyle and opportunity to make a career our of playing the sport I love really is. I am so grateful for all the traveling I have been able to do and incredible places I have seen thanks to playing volleyball, and of course, doing it all with some of your best friends doesn’t make it terrible.”
Following the Grand Prix, Field and Team Canada will be tune up for the FIVB Women’s World Championship, Sept. 23 to Oct. 12 in Italy.