By Chad Robert Snyder
Pilot staff writer
Five Brookings-Harbor High School volleyball players are hoping to go on a trip of a lifetime next July.
The girls are planing to participate in the Downunder Sports international competition, which is held annually in Surfers Paradise, Australia.
Bruin Head Volleyball Coach Lori Cooper said the opportunity is unlike any other and offers the girls a life-altering experience.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to travel to another country and meet players of different nationalities and from different American states," she said.
"They'll also get to see the Outback and hold Koalas and really experience Australia," she said.
The tournament itself includes a two-day indoor tournament against American and Australian competition and a series of beach volleyball games.
The girls will also have a day free to do some sightseeing and relaxing after the tournament is over.
According to Cooper, the host nation, in each of the four years she has attended, has always been nothing but kind to visiting athletes.
"The red carpet is rolled out for them," she said. "The Australians really love them and even host a parade for American players on the Fourth of July."
This year's event will be the 21st for Downunder Sports, an organization originally founded by George O'Scanion for the express purpose of bringing American football to Australia.
The international competition has grown in recent years to include basketball, volleyball, track and field, wrestling, soccer, golf and cheerleading, as well.
Cooper said the girls are looking forward to the trip and she knows the experience will be good for them as individuals and as teammates.
"They're pretty excited already," she said. "I think the chance to go together as a team will be good for us next year. When students go to this event they always come back better players and with more confidence."
From now until July, the Bruins will be putting together fundraisers for the trip, including car washes, a spaghetti feed and possibly a golf tournament.
Cooper said she's hopeful everything will work out and she'll escort the girls come July.
"Anytime you can travel abroad and play the sport that you love with another culture it's an incredible opportunity," she said.