West Seneca Family Ready to Cheer On Volleyball Olympian | News
WEST SENECA, NY- The London Olympics are just a couple of days away and a local family will be cheering hard when their loved one hits the volleyball court in search of gold.
It's easy to see from the signs across West Seneca, that the town is backing favorite son, Matthew Anderson, as he goes for Olympic Gold on Team USA's men's volleyball team.
"A little bit unbelievable, and a little amazing, but it's just wonderful to see everybody supporting him," said Matthew's mother, Nancy Anderson.
She knows across the pond in London, her 25-year-old son is about to live out his dream.
"I'm getting chills talking about it now. With being in the locker room, and just before that first match and putting on that jersey and just looking at yourself and knowing that you are the best that your country has to offer. And you're going to fight every grain you have in you to win," said Matt.
No one would have thought he'd come this far when he picked up the sport his sophomore year at West Seneca West High School and then joined the Eden Club Team.
"He was definitely not a starter. And we would travel all over the US watching him play and sometimes he would get only a couple minutes of playing time because he wasn't that great," said Joelle Vanegas, Matt's sister.
And that's why he's so inspiring. As Matt gained inches - he's 6'10" now - he also gained skills and confidence. In his junior year at Penn State he led the Nittany Lion's to the National Championships. Now he's one of the best outside hitters in the world.
But one of his biggest fans won't be there to see the culmination off all his hard work. After a series of medical complications following a fall from a roof two years ago, Matt's dad Mike, suddenly died of a heart attack in his sleep.
"It's bittersweet. Because we know he'll be there. We know he's there in heart and he's there in spirit," said Joelle. "He's so proud of Matthew."
Each ball Matt spikes on that court will likely be to honor his father, his family, his town, his country- and he'll be showing future Olympians the true meaning of perseverance.
Friday, the day of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, is being declared "Matt Anderson Day" in West Seneca. Flattery's Bar in West Seneca will hold a special party in celebration of the day.
Sunday is Team USA's first match. They take on Serbia at 11:45 a.m. Team USA is defending its Gold Medal it won in Beijing in 2008 and is not a favorite to win. That distinction would go to Brazil.
Anderson is the youngest player on the team. Many play into their thirties. Some say he's hitting his peak now and has even more room to grow, so this isn't the last you'll be hearing of Matt Anderson. After the Olympics, he's signed to play in a professional league in Russia.
Sunday, July 29, 2012- 11:45 AM- USA v. Serbia
Tuesday, July 31, 2012- 11:45 AM- USA v. Germany
Thursday, August 2, 2012- 3:00 PM- USA v. Brazil
Saturday, August 4, 2012- 11:45 AM- USA v. Russia
Monday, August 6, 20112- 3:00 PM- USA v. Tunisia
Wednesday, August 8, 2012- 9 AM, 11 AM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM- Quarter Finals
Friday, August 10, 2012- 10 AM or 2:30 PM- Semi Finals
Sunday, August 12, 2012- 4:30 AM (Bronze Medal Match) 8:00 AM (Gold Medal Match)