Amsterdam, the Netherlands, June 29, 2015 – They are the unseen heroes and heroines, the ones who in years gone by have travelled thousands of kilometres to support and watch, the ones who tend to injuries, wash the kit and provide a hug and consoling words after a heavy loss.
They are parents.
Ask most players at the Netherlands 2015, FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships and most can spin a tale of parents who gave up their own time to drive to training and to matches, to watch, cheer and provide a reassuring presence on the side-lines no matter the weather.
USA’s Brooke Sweat is one player at the World Championships who could tell a similar story and a players whose parents are again sitting on the side-lines cheering her and partner Lauren Fendrick on in the Netherlands.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Brooke’s father Harvey Youngquist who is watching the action in Amsterdam with Brooke’s mother Renee.
“We’ve covered border to border, thousands of hours and thousands of tournaments, starting with basketball and volleyball way down in elementary school, at six, seven, eight years old. This is fun, how can you beat this.”
Harvey and Renee Youngquist are regular spectators on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour, both in the USA and in Europe where the cooler northern European summers provide welcome respite from the intense heat of their Florida home. Following the World Championships they will head south to the Gstaad Major Series event in Switzerland.
“They have done everything for me,” Brooke Sweat said. “I have two brothers and a younger sister and they would be driving us to and from sports every day. They encouraged us and always believed in us, they are a huge reason for me being here today.
“I love that they are here. They come to a few international events and it is great to see them and spend time with them. I’m away for a long time from my husband and my family, so to have them here means a lot to me.”
Harvey and Renee Youngquist would have gone through the rollercoaster of parental emotions watching their daughter and Fendrick’s opening encounter in Amsterdam. The pair took on 2013 silver medallists Britta Buthe and Karla Borger from Germany and the two teams slugged it out over three sets and both let three match points slip before Sweat and Fendrick won 2-1 (17-21, 21-19, 20-18).
“It was very exciting and made my blood flow, I can tell you that,” Harvey Youngquist said. “The girls were playing good and those German girls are exceptional. They’ve played them a lot of times and they really play good, so everybody knew what to expect. I think it was a crowd pleaser and I think everybody enjoyed that all the way to the end.”