Troy Field, Casey Patterson, And How an SOB Trip With Ty Tramblie Sealed The Deal
Ty Tramblie laughed and laughed. He rolled over on his bunk in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, there for a South of the Border Volleyball Vacations event, and looked at Troy Field in much the same way a parent who doesn’t quite understand the way of kids might look at their children.
“So,” he said, “you’re the new guy, and you’re making the guy who’s won AVPs wait?”
When Field heard it from Tramblie’s mouth, he reacted in much the same way a child might when a parent rephrases an idea they had. Field laughed, realized the ridiculousness of it all, and called his new partner for the 2020 season.
He called Casey Patterson.
“Right after that conversation I was like ‘Yeah, why am I making him wait? What the heck? Casey’s a legend,’” Field recalled.
In truth, the move was made before Field left for Mexico and Tramblie was laughing hysterically. It was made barely after the 2019 AVP season ended, in Hawai’i.
“Essentially right when the season as over I knew that [Budinger] and Chaim were going to play together,” Field said. “I’m super close with both of those guys.”
Field didn’t expect to play with Patterson at the time. He was perfectly content with Tim Bomgren, with whom he enjoyed a breakout 2019 season, making three straight semifinals and the finals of AVP New York. But anyone who has seen Field play knows that his career will not be confined to the borders of the United States. Bomgren, a Minnesotan who loves his Minnesotan life and his growing Minnesotan family and his Minnesotan job, hasn’t expressed any interest in taking his game international. He’s satisfied playing all of the AVPs, returning to work on a Monday just hours after making a final on Sunday, as he has done several times now.
In Field’s mind, he was going to wait until after the 2020 Olympics were over to begin traveling overseas. A conversation with Tri Bourne changed that.
“You have to start now,” Bourne told him. “Don’t wait. If 2024 is your goal, you have to start now.”
So Field shot a message to Patterson. Only, there was a slight issue: Patterson didn’t know Budinger and Schalk had all but confirmed their new partnership. Field was actually in the car with Budinger, driving home from the p1440 Pro Challenge, when Patterson texted Budinger.
“It was actually kinda funny, I sent Casey a message, and he said ‘Oh, as far as I know, Chase and I are good’ and I was like ‘Yikes!’” Field said. “That was right before the 1440 four-man, and I’m riding back with Chase, and he said ‘Oh, I just got a text from Casey’ and I said ‘Was it around 9:30?’ and he said ‘It was 9:31.’”
Budinger and Patterson talked. They figured it out, left it on good terms. Not long after, Patterson texted Field.
Did he want to give it a shot?
Field needed a minute. Here was a guy whom he had watched for a long time, a guy he admired, looked up to. Was he ready? Was he ready to play with an Olympian? Ready to make the FIVB leap?
So he made Patterson wait.
Then came the bunk-to-bunk conversation with Tramblie, an AVP champion himself. The realization that if he was taking his career seriously, if the 2024 Paris Games were indeed a goal, he’d have to make the move.
He called Bomgren, who was more than understanding. Then he called Patterson, who was thrilled.
“Casey’s for sure going to make me a better player, but Tim made me the person and athlete I want to be,” Field said. “Tim was able to teach me the etiquette, the personality, who I want to be on the court: the respect, just everything that goes into that. I just felt that was really good for me.”
Now he’s breaking new ground. The goal for him and Patterson will be to qualify for the Espinho four-star in July on points alone. Budinger and Schalk will have more of an international focus, but Field will have the most overseas-minded season of his young career.
“This could be the next 20 years of my life, and I’m starting it right now,” Field said. “I have to play international all the time now.”
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