Written by: Viktoriya Tabunshchyk
***Viktoriya Tabunshchyk was born in Ukraine on January 07, 2001 in the historical old city in the western part of Ukraine, Lviv. Viktoriya and her parents moved to Canada just before she turned two years old. She picked up a tennis racquet when she was 4, and her first shots were fed by her father, Kyrylo. When the family moved to Edmonton at the age of 5, she started to attend group and private lessons at Saville Sports Centre. Looking for a more competitive tennis environment, Viktoriya with her parents and her little sister moved to Burlington, when she was 7 to become a part of the ACE Tennis team – Viktoriya as a player and her Dad as a coach. Presently, Viktoriya trains at ACE Tennis for 5-6 hours per day, which includes private and group tennis lessons, as well as physical conditioning. Viktoriya competes in a wide variety of tournaments almost every weekend – from U12 local tournaments to Nationals and Open adult tournaments. In the past half of the year, Viktoriya won the U12 interprovincial Ace Cup, the indoor U12 National Selection, a number of U14s and U16s events, was a runner-up at the U14 Provincials, and finished 4th at the U12 Nationals. In the last 10 months, she has played a staggering 100+ matches. Viktoriya Tabunshchyk is currently competing in Italy together with four other U12 players under the guidance of Tennis Canada Coach Sebastian Scutaru, and is blogging us about her tennis adventures.***
Right now, I am lying on the most comfortable bed I`ve ever been in, writing about my trip to Italy using a pink pencil that I got from the hotel front desk.
At the front of the plane, there were about 40 seats that literally looked better than beds. They had anything you could possibly think of – there were armrests, footrests, pillows, blankets – everything. At the back of the plane, there were smaller, but also luxurious seats. We got the smaller ones. The best thing about these seats, though, was that they had TV’s that had everything. There were games, movies for kids and all different kinds of movies for adults. Some of the movies were still in the theaters, such as `21 Jump Street`. I went for the category of movies for kids, and I watched “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Mirror, Mirror”, and “Chipwrecked”. When we landed, we were still flyring for at least ten minutes, and all I saw was a lot of short grass and a forest of really tall trees that only had leaves at the very top. When we landed, we learned that our plane arrived really late, and the lady said that if Maria and Brindtha didn`t come in 2 minutes, she would leave without them. Luckily, they came at the last moment. Next, we went on a very colorful bus to our next plane. I slept the whole time on the plane and completely missed our breakfast, which was why I was starving when we got to the hotel.
In the airport, we were waiting for our luggage for about 20 minutes, and finally, we discovered that our luggage was delayed. After that, we spent about 20 more minutes looking for our car, and then when we finally found it, Sebastian (our coach) drove us to the hotel.
At the hotel we quickly unpacked our bags that we had with us on the plane, took showers and went back downstairs to go to lunch. After we had lunch (a pizza and iced tea), we went to the club that was hosting the tournament and watched a little bit of the matches. At around six o`clock, Sebastian got a message saying that our luggage was at the airport. So, we got back into the car and tried to find the airport. I was sleeping the whole time, but I woke up sometimes to see what was going on, and for some reason, when I woke up once, it seemed like we were in the same place when I woke up a half hour ago!
Near the end of the ride, I heard Sebastian wondering where the parents were. When we got there, I felt like killing myself, because they were already there and they did everything, which meant that we went to the airport for no reason. Aaaaargh!
Then, we went right back to the hotel and had our dinner. Then, off to bed and I was snoring the moment my head hit the comfortable pillow.
The next few days are not really that exciting. I am going to skip most of them except for a few interesting things. One thing was that I noticed a lot of cornfields and I took a picture of one of them, which was beside the club where we trained sometimes. Another interesting thing was that at the club where we trained sometimes, the toilets were inside the floor. Luckily, I didn`t have to go in it. It was really weird. Also, on the day before the tournament started, Sorin (Maria’s dad) chose some random person on the court and told us to find 3 of his weakness. The first thing I said was that he was mentally really weak because he was walking in the middle of a point, and he was smashing his racket whenever his opponent hit an amazing shot. Finally, the creepiest thing that happened to me was when I lost my phone. When I was eating lunch, I had my phone in my hands because I was talking to my Mom and then I had to go somewhere really quickly, so I put my phone in my pocket, and left. Later, I came back and then we had to go somewhere again, and for some reason I put my sweater in my tennis bag. Ten minutes later, I had to text my mom something, so I looked in my bag and it wasn`t there!
When we came back to the hotel later that day, I told Maria that I lost my phone, so she told me to look for it in my tennis bag. When I told her that I already looked in my bag and it wasn’t there for sure, she decided to go see herself. Ten minutes later, I came back to our room, and Maria said that my phone and my sweater were both at the top of my bag! There’s a ghost in our room! Ahhhhhhhh!
My very first impression of the players was that they are really tall. More than half of the players were literally a head taller than me – and I thought I was tall. Another impression was that the people in Italy are really sportive, I guess. Whenever I saw kids, they were always competing in some kind of way.
I also noticed that there are a lot less police officers in Italy than in Canada. In fact, I haven’t seen any police officer yet. Actually, I think that might be the reason that there is so much robbery and kidnapping going on here. Finally, the last thing that I noticed about the people was that they make friends really easily. And I mean really easily. They don’t even know the person’s name, and they’re just like, “Hey, wanna be friends?”
In Italy, the roads are really weird. Whenever there is a crossroad, instead of something that’s just plane like a cross, there’s a small circular island, and there’re four roads connecting to it. Also, all the parking lots are huge. And I mean huge! It would probably take me about 20 minutes to walk around it. Once, we were looking on the parking lot for a car that we rented, and it took us more than 20 minutes to find it. Finally, for some reason, the buses are really colourful, just like the one I’m sitting in right now (going to Trieste), which is navy blue with splotches of all the colors in the rainbow.