Scott-Arruda makes way back to Baton Rouge
As Danielle Scott-Arruda opened up the case that contained her silver medal, a woman standing nearby cautiously moved closer.
“Can I touch it?” she asked.
Scott-Arruda nodded and smiled as the woman ran her fingers over the medal Scott-Arruda received as part of the U.S. women’s indoor volleyball team that placed second to Brazil at the Olympic Games in London.
A group of 20 friends and family greeted Scott-Arruda when she arrived home at Baton Rouge’s Metro Airport late Sunday night. They brought signs and balloons for the 39-year-old Baton Rouge native who competed in her fifth Olympics, the most ever for U.S. volleyball player. She is one of only 11 Americans who have competed in five Olympics.
“Wow, this is definitely the most people who have ever come to meet me,” Scott-Arruda said. “I’m surprised and impressed.”
Some of the other on-lookers were also impressed. One man smiled and said he had seen Scott-Arruda on television and encouraged her to “go down and beat them (Brazil).” Another man asked if she also got a medal in Beijing, to which Scott-Arruda replied with a smile and a “yes,” noting that the U.S. also took silver in 2008.
Any disappointment over the top-ranked U.S. squad’s 3-1 loss to Brazil in the gold medal contest on Aug. 11 has faded.
“I still believe we’re the best team,” Scott-Arruda said. “But Brazil was the better team on that day, and that happens in sports from time to time.
“I feel fortunate to have two of these (medals). Not many women do.”
Scott-Arruda played in a reserve role as middle blocker for the U.S. squad. She scored one point in the gold medal contest.
It marked the second straight Olympics that the U.S. team lost to Brazil in the final. The U.S. squad was 30-2 overall, losing once in seven matches at the Olympics.
Brazil snapped a six-match losing streak to the U.S. that dated to 2011.
Once the Olympics ended, there was little time for rest for Scott-Arruda, who has had two homecomings since Aug. 11. She returned to California from London. USA Volleyball has its training base in southern California.
Scott-Arruda and teammate Tayyiba Haneef-Park were honored by their alma mater, Long Beach State, in the days after the Olympics.
The week on the West Coast included interviews with a wide range of news sources, including TMZ, along with a red-carpet appearance for “The Expendables 2” movie.
There was no doubt that Scott-Arruda was thrilled to be back in Baton Rouge. Her daughter Julianne’ ran to greet her but tripped and fell along the way. Scott-Arruda scooped up the 2-year-old and kissed away her tears.
A group of 10 friends and relatives, including her daughter, were on hand in London to watch Scott-Arruda play. That fact did nothing to lessen the enthusiasm of Sunday’s homecoming. Scott-Arruda donned her silver medal and posed for numerous photos.
“It’s good to be home,” Scott-Arruda said. “My plan right now is to take a month off and just enjoy being home.”
Scott-Arruda said she also will contact agents to see what professional volleyball options are out there. The former Woodlawn High star played professionally in Brazil earlier this season before joining the U.S. team.
Though many have assumed 2012 is her last Olympics berth, Scott-Arruda said she has not ruled out trying to make the 2016 squad.
“I’m definitely going to look at my options,” Scott-Arruda said.