Volunteering at EHF Men’s 18 Handball Championship 2016

Sports

Good morning/day/weekend!

Around this time last year, I published my most successful non-movie related article on the topic of volunteering. Well, today, I’m continuing the tradition and writing about the behind-the-scenes inner workings of another sports event. As usual, the article will focus on my personal experience of the event and won’t be completely objective or universally truthful.

For the past week, I’ve been lucky enough to volunteer at EHF Men’s 18 Handball Championship in Lithuania. This was the first event of this kind for European Handball Federation since the new age group system has been introduced. The championship has been simultaneously held in 3 countries: Bulgaria, Georgia, and Lithuania. The winners of that part of the championship that was held in my country were the team from Israel, who won the final against Italy. The 3rd place went to Austria after they defeated the national youth handball team of The Netherlands.

After working as a team attaché for 2 weeks last year, I was quite sad to find out that I won’t be managing a team during this championship. Instead, I was supposed to be helping the officials of the EHF which seemed kinda sweet deal too. However, by the end of the first of the event, my job  became obsolete and I didn’t do much in terms of helping the local and foreign organizing committees.

Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the championship. I loved spending some quality time with my volunteer friends, which I only see a couple of times per year. However, in terms of the actual volunteering, I felt that I didn’t do much. I was really looking forward to the experience of working with sports professionals from an international federation, but instead, I was just kinda picking up the trash because I didn’t want to just sit there.

The main problem I had, concerning volunteering in this particular event, was the fact that there weren’t any clear lines of communication between the organizers and the volunteers and only a small portion of the volunteers actually did some meaningful work. A proper training session wasn’t held and I felt that the organizers were thinking that since all of the volunteers had previous volunteering experience, they will know what to do. I wish that they would have put more trust in us/me and actually given clearer orders. You can only do so much on your own intuition and I don’t really think that it is up to a subordinate to constantly seek for tasks. Then again, the volunteers, me definitely included, could have asked more questions. This was probably an obvious example of miscommunication and two parties not knowing what to do with each other. I will definitely learn from this whole unfortunate thing.

In the end, I can’t be that mad with the organizers because they did thank us for helping with the event and gave us commemorative gifts and Thank You notes/certificates. I did, however, felt that I didn’t really deserve any of it. Then again, I came to the championship every day and was always ready for work.

Speaking about handball as a sport – I wasn’t familiar with it at all. My background is in swimming and running, so handball was a completely new territory for me. I don’t know if I am completely sold on it as an enjoyable sport but I will definitely give it another shot – will either watch it or ask for one of my friends, who (I think) used to play handball, to teach me the basics.

Bellow, I will include some photos from the event, a picture of the volunteer’s T-shirt and the thank you gifts and any other random bits. In addition, here are the links to the pages of the European Handball Federation, the Lithuania Handball Federation, the actual event, and the Union of Sports’ Volunteers of Lithuania.

Have a great week!

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Swimming Marathon: Platelee 2015

Sports

Hello!

This past weekend, I and a bunch of my friends went camping by the Plateliai lake (wiki). That lake and the whole Plateliai town (wiki) is a very special place for all the members of the swimming community, which I and most of my friends are a part of. 34 years ago, the first open water swimming marathon in my country was organized in that particular lake. There is only one person, who is still alive, and who has swum in all of the marathons to date.

The first time, I and my family went to Plateliai was in 2004. Back then, I was only 7 years old and couldn’t swim, but my dad was a veteran swimmer, so he participated in the marathon. Since then, my family has been going to that event every year, and I participated in my first Platelee marathon in 2010.

Plateliai swimming marathon is also very huge party for teenager/young adult swimmers. It is a whole weekend of partying with your closest friends, doing craziest things without any consequences.

The weather this year was quite terrible, air temperature reached only around 20 degrees Celsius (68 F), while the water temperature was even lower – 15 or 16 degrees Celsius(59 to 61 F) . My whole body froze while competing in a 1.8 km distance. My friends swam the longer 3.5 km distance and was freezing even more by the time she finished. The wind was also really strong, so there were massive waves in the lake. Around 140 swimmers didn’t allow the cold weather and water to stop them from swimming and participated in the event.

All of the swimmers  received a commemorative T-Shirt (like always), a sticker with the marathon logo and a medal, intricately carved from wood. (Photos below).

Although, I am not a social person and kinda hate partying, I’m really glad that I attended the Platelee marathon and stayed for all the crazy after-party and pre-party stuff. Now, I just need to sleep for a few days to get myself back in shape. Also, I need to wash a lot of clothes and dry out my sleeping bag – during the night from Saturday from Sunday the rain was pouring non-stop, so we were practically sleeping in a pool of water. However,  a really cute cat woke me up in the morning by touching my nose with her paw. Gladly, she didn’t have her nails out. One of my friends told me that the cat sneaked into the tent through the crack and, since all of us were sleeping, that friend didn’t want to risk waking others up by shoo-ing the cat or yelling. So, we just had a pet stay over for a night.

Even if you are not a swimmer and just a regular tourist, Plateliai town and lake is still an amazing place to visit. I have always enjoyed sitting on a footbridge and reading a book or just watching the boats and yachts pass by. The lake is also full of unexplored islands which you can reach by hiring a boat or taking a ride on a water bicycle. In addition, there is a plethora of cozy little hotels to spend the night in, if you are not a type of person who likes camping.

Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend like I did. These past 4 days have been a highlight of my summer. You can find last years coverage of this swimming marathon here. More photos from the marathon are on Facebook.

Bye!

Swimming Marathon: Switerzland 2015

Sports

Hello my dear readers!!

Last week, I’ve participated in my first swimming marathon this summer. That was The Swiss Swimming Marathon 2015 (in Lithuanian language – Šveicarijos plaukimo maratonas 2015). I have already explained why this marathon and the village that it is held in has the same name as a European country. You can find that blog post here.

Anyway, since I haven’t been training at all, I chose the shortest 1 km distance and even managed to win it in a women’s group. It was one of the hardest swims of my career. The weather also seemed way too cold. The organizers said that the water temperature was 20 degrees Celsius (68 F), but it felt like 17 C (62 F) at best. The air temperature was 22 C (71 F).

I wasn’t even planning on attending this marathon but then the nostalgia kicked in. This was the 6th Swiss Swimming Marathon and I have participated in all of them since the beginning. Moreover, this is probably my last year of swimming with my team because I am graduating this year and moving to Scotland . So, I figured that this is probably my last chance to swim in that particular open-water competition, so what the hell, let’s do it.

Bellow I will include some links to a few Facebook photo albums where you can see more moments from the event. I will also include a photo of my commemorative T-Shirt, a medal and a diploma. Have a great week!

Photos on Facebook here.

Lithuania’s Independence Day Run 2015

Sports

Hello my dear readers!

Today, I officially opened my running season of 2015 with a first running competition. The marathon was held in order to celebrate my country’s Restoration of Independence Day. We have 2 independence days in Lithuania: in 1918, on the 16th of February we announced our Independence but during the 2nd World War my country was occupied by the Soviet Union and we only restored our independent state 25 years ago: in 1990, in 11th of March.

The running marathon is held every year in Jonava and it is also dedicated to one of the pioneers of the Reformation movement in Lithuania – Abraomas Kulvietis. There are a few statues of him in Jonava (you can see one of them in the 3rd photo).

Around 550 athletes participated in the run. They could choose from 2 distances: 3.4 km and 15 km and were divided into age groups accordingly. I chose the shorter distance because,lately, I hadn’t been training much.

It took me a decent amount of time to finish the distance: my result isn’t great if you look at the results of others but it is okay for me, especially at the start of the season.

Bellow you will find a couple of photos from the event: the first one shows the start line, the second – a finish line. The third one is statue of A. Kulvietis , which I have already mentioned, and the fourth one is my number and the commemorative medal.

My next marathon will probably be Kaunas Half-Marathon at the end of April. Last year’s post about that run – click here.

Have a nice day/evening/morning!

Movie review: Unbroken

Movie reviews

Hi!
On Monday, I went to the cinema to watch Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. I have seen several films depicting World War II events from different angles (Schindler’s list, Fury, Inglorious Basterds, Pearl Harbor, Forest of Gods and The Imitation Game) and now Unbroken joins this list.

In short I would describe the film as a mixture of Life of Pi and Fury with a pinch of Forest of Gods and topped of with Edge of Tomorrow.

Unbroken isn’t Angelina’s directorial debut – it’s her 2nd time being behind the camera. The film tells a story of Louis Zamperini – an Olympic athlete who spent the 2nd World War in a prisoner of war camp in Japan after surviving 47 days of a raft in the middle of the ocean. It’s based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand as well as real life events. Sadly, the real Louis Zamperini died in spring of 2014 and didn’t get to see his life on the big screen.

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Acting

Louis Zamperini is portrayed by Jack O’Connell – a British actor who is best known for his work on the TV show Skins. I liked his performance, it was so-so at the beginning of the movie but in the end, when Jack really got into the character, it was just amazing. The emotional dual between him and the Bird truly showed his talent and made me enjoy the scene which was actually horrible and heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time. I would love to see more of his work.

Speaking about the Bird – a Japanese general who tortured Louis both mentally and physically – he was played by a Japanese singer Miyavi. The character seemed a bit cartoon-y to me – almost like a stupid school bully. Nonetheless, I hated the character almost as much as Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa in the Inglorious Basterds, so Miyavi did a great job as a villain.

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Other cast members included : Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, Luke Treadaway, Jordan Patrick Smith and many others. As you can already tell, this is an all male cast type of movie. I don’t have any problems with that because there were no women at war. However, I do have a problem with the fact that I can’t remember anything about the characters that these actors played with the exceptions of Jack O’Connel and Miyavi. They didn’t develop them well enough and didn’t make me care about them or even remember them at all.

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Visuals and Directing

The movie is beautifully shot and I really liked Angelina’s work as a director. The scenes in the water were cool but sometimes cheesy while prisoner of war camp was portrayed realistically.

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Sport

Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner and for me as an athlete, the part which told us about his athletic career was the most interesting. I also loved the fact that they didn’t diminish the importance of sport in Louis Zamperini’s life. If he hadn’t been an athlete and hadn’t trained as hard as he did, he probably wouldn’t have survived the war. I loved the clip of the real Louis running with the Olympic torch in 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan.

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Religion

Louis Zamperini also was a religious person, who found God when he needed him the most. Religion’s theme was mentioned in the film but didn’t explored deeply enough. The end of the film was really touching and made me tear up. It showed the importance of forgiveness – sometimes it’s better to turn the other cheek than to raise a fist.

Criticisms

Unbroken received mixed reviews from the critics and was shut down from the award’s season. Overall, I liked the film, though, a few scenes were really unbelievable and took me out of the movie. For example, their fight with a shark – you can’t catch a shark with your bare hands. The pacing had a few problems, but I would still recommend to watch this movie if you are a sport’s fan and interested in history.

Rate 4/5

Trailer: Unbroken trailer

Photos: Screenshots form the trailer.

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Sport: Running for Kaunas

Sports

Hello!

There hasn’t been a post in my blog about sport and active life for a while, but today, I’ve participated in 3rd annual “Bek uz Kauna” marathon (Marathon “Run For Kaunas”). It was my second time running this specific marathon. Around 1500 professional athletes and amateur runners chose 10 km or 5 km distance and were running in the city center.

Web page of the run: Run for Kaunas. Place of the run: Laisves aleja (Liberty avenue). The main sponsor: Fazer company

The weather was perfect for running, the sun was shining and there was no wind at all. I was a bit unprepared for this run, lately, I have been running only 2-3 times a week and, more importantly, I have been getting cramps in my right foot. By the time I had finished my 5 km distance, my foot had already started to cramp, so I was happy that I didn’t choose a longer distance.

All the participants received a commemorative medal and a gift from the sponsor company (various kinds of breads).

I am planning to participate in the PINK run for breast cancer awareness at the end of October. I hope my cramping foot will let me do that. Have a nice week!

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Collection: Posters + other wall decorations

Uncategorized

Hello!

Welcome to another segment of Collections. I have shared my nail polish and postcards’ collection with you before but now I will show you my room’s wall decorations. Mostly, my walls are covered with posters that represent all of my obsessions (TV shows, movies, books, comics, singers and so forth). All of the posters are custom made or bought at the concerts. Other decorations include a wall clock, couple of paintings I have painted myself, couple of inspirational quotes, my medals from various sports I do and two flags of the countries I wish to live in someday. Let’s begin, shall we?

I have 11 posters, I use to have more but now I have taken them down. My first poster (TVD and GG) are about 5 years old.

I have:

  1. The Vampire Diaries poster
  2. Twilight series poster
  3. Glee poster
  4. Game of Thrones poster
  5. Gossip Girl poster (+ couple of postcards with quotes)
  6. Marvel poster
  7. Pretty little liars poster
  8. Wizards of Waverly place poster
  9. One Direction poster
  10. Lana del Rey poster (bought at the concert in 2013)
  11. Lady Gaga poster (bought at the concert in 2012)

My o’clock is very girly: its Disney pink clock with Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

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These 4 paintings are all painted by me using Paint by numbers canvases. The quote underneath them is the quote I saw on one of the swimmers from London 2012 Olympics T-shirt and found it really inspiring, so decided to hang it on my wall.

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Here you can see 55 medals that I have won in swimming, running, bicycle sport and aquathlon. Above them are numbers from running and cycling competitions.

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And here is my favorite part of my room (although, I do love all of it) – US and UK flags. I wish to study in the US and then live for a while in the UK.

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My walls used to be white but 4 years ago we repainted them into orange. I also have an inspiration/mood board above my desk with inspirational quotes, sayings, tiny paintings and symbols that mean something to me, but I am going to save it for a separate post.

So, I hope you liked seeing my room, even if it was just a tiny bit of it. Bye!

Swimming marathon: Platelee-2014, Lithuania

Sports

Hello!

Last week. I participated in the 33rd annual swimming marathon PLATELEE-2014 which was held in little town in western part of Lithuania. This swimming marathon is the longest running outdoor swimming event in my country and this year it has attracted the biggest number of participants yet. 161 swimmers chose the distance of 1.8 km and around 30 athletes swam 3.2 km.

The weather was super hot and the water warm as well. I was happy with my result mainly because I managed to outrun (out-swim) my couch.

All of the participants got a commemorative t-shirts and diplomas. There were also smaller distances for kids and disabled athletes and fun attractions like tug of war in the water for viewers. However, the funniest contest for viewers and participants alike is competition of swimming with unsuited measures, for example swimming in a pot, in a coffin or on a ladder.

This was my 10th year going to this marathon. Plateliai town has a rich history and Plateliai lake has many legends surrounding it. The biggest catfish in Lithuania is rumored to live in it, it weights around 400kg. More info: Plateliai town Plateliai lake

The red dot on the map shows the location of the lake, it is a part of Zemaitija national park.

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This photo shows the distances we were swimming in the lake.

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Next swimming marathon will be held on 9th of August in the eastern part of Lithuania. Have a great last month of summer!

You will find more photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.695621537160336.1073741913.188180954571066&type=1 (Photos belong to A.Ališauskas).

 

Swimming marathon: Lampedziai (Kaunas) 2014

Sports

Hi!

On July 6th I and about 100 other swimmers participated in 2nd swimming marathon this summer.

July 6TH is a national celebration in Lithuania (not just an international kissing day) – it’s coronation day of the only king Lithuania ever had. (In 1253 Mindaugas was crowed the king of Lithuania) so the swimming marathon was dedicated to this special date.

The weather was perfect for this kind of event: it was hot and sunny. The wind was quite strong but refreshing. The water was quite cold but the weather made up for it.

I was not training for this marathon so I was surprised that it was quite easy to complete the distance and my time wasn’t bad. All of the swimmers swam 2 km distance and sportsmen with disabilities swam 500m.

This was 13th swimming marathon in that particular location – Lampedžiai lake/man-made pond.

The third swimming marathon this summer will be held in Plateliai at the end of July.

Have a great week!

Photos belong to Arlas Juodeška.

Sunday: Marathon

Sports

Hello!
Today, I am going to tell you about a very special event I participated in – Kauna’s Half-marathon. This marathon was organised for a 2nd time. Last year, I also attended the event and ran 5 km distance,but this year a great bunch of my friend s joined me and we all ran together and had some friendly competition. There were 3 distance to choose from – 5 km, 10 km or 21 km – half marathon distance.
I was quit happy with my result, it is not my best one but still pretty good. All of runners got a commemorative medal, which we can add to our ever growing collections. One of my friends also won a 3rd place, so we were all really happy for her. Bellow you will find couple of photos from the event that I made myself and some links to more professional photos and articles.
I hope all you had great weekend, had plenty of rest and are ready to start a new, productive week Bye 🙂

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