Thursday, February 24, 2011

What a Beautiful Day!

So many great things happened today! I don't even know where to start telling you about everything. So, I guess I'll just start from the beginning of the day. Every morning, at 6:50 A.M., a train likes to sound it's little (but really annoyingly loud) choo choo horn, acting as the most horrible alarm ever and waking Kayla up an hour before her alarm is set to go off. I seriously will wake up an hour early and not be able to get back to sleep, and then crawl out of bed an hour later completely pissed off. Well, THE TRAIN DID NOT WAKE ME TODAY!! It made me so happy to wake up to a beautiful country song. So, I woke up with a smile.

Then we had practice from 8:30 (passers went a half an hour early today) -12. It went pretty well. My defense is continuing to improve so I'm very happy about that. After practice, we DIDN'T lift (I needed a day off the weights after two straight lifting days). We went to The White House for lunch. This is a really nice Italian restaurant that allows the USA players, coaches, and staff to eat lunch at everyday for free! And every day it is delicious! In the afternoon we had another passing session from 2:00-3:00 and it was actually pretty fun (maybe because I downed an energy drink right before lunch and I was all kinds of jacked up).

This afternoon, Karch Kiraly text me and said, "You've had a nice 3 days of serve receive-passed 3.27 Tuesday, 3.57 yesterday, 3.46 today. Angles and tracking still getting better-keep it up! It'll be fun to see how  we pass vs. Japan". Wow. Amazing numbers for me and an awesome compliment from the King of Volleyball.

And this text leads me to the fact that we are playing the Japanese Youth National Team on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are even selling tickets and Karch said that we should be getting a pretty decent crowd there. And since we are playing a match, we will need these:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen! I present to you my USA jersey!! A jersey that has the letters "USA" on the front and MY NAME on the back. Isn't it beautiful? I cannot wait to put this on and step onto the court to represent my country. Represent MY COUNTRY! I can even wrap my mind around it. It is so surreal and amazing.

And to end the night, I went with Ellie, Ashley, Cassidy, and Jenna down to the farmers market which takes place every Thursday afternoon/evening literally on the street right next to our apartment. It was relaxing and fun. Now, I'm watching Glee (my favorite TV show) and American Idol (one of my other favorite TV shows) and then bed for a good night's sleep. And tomorrow is Friday! Everything about this day was perfect. Inspiring.

Every day I see my dream.


P.S. I still haven't completed my next journal entry for class yet. But, as soon as I do, you'll be the first to read it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Longest. Day. Ever.

My schedule for today: Practice 9-12, lift 12-1, afternoon passing session 2:30-3:30. May not sound like a long day, but geez I was riding the struggle bus today. Actually, I was driving the struggle bus today. I wasn't playing that badly, but my body was just tired. I was pretty happy with the way I played defense today. But, it is so much harder than it needs to be because the gym's lighting background is so weird that your depth perception is completely thrown off and it is so hard to see the ball coming at you until it is about a foot in front of you. It is really tough. I find myself blinking excessively and squinting a lot during the play.

My brother, Eric, text me today and asked if I wanted to come back to play volleyball with him tonight...and I would LOVE to! Too bad I'm 27 hours away :( He told me today that he loves reading my blog. So Eric, I'm assuming you're reading this and just want to say I LOVE YOU! :) :) :)

Jess Yanz is gonna be here in 8 days. I cannot wait! We are going to have so much fun! She makes me so happy!

We play the Japanese Youth National Team in 6 days. I'm excited to put on the USA jersey! I can only imagine the goosebumps I'm going to get. And back to the good ol' high school days at Dubuque Wahlert, I'll be wearing the number 1 once again.

This blog was kind of a cluster of randomness. But, here is my third journal entry for my Leadership Class. Enjoy!

Journal Week 3: January 31st, 2011
Where My Values Come From; How I Live Them
                As I have gotten older and experienced different things, the number of values I have learned and began to emphasize has grown as I have grown up. I got a lot of my values from my parents and my brother, and a few more when I went through college. When I was a young volleyball player, my parents coached me for most of my career up until about my junior year of high school. They were always there telling me where I went wrong and how I could fix it. They taught me to always work hard; never do anything half-ass. Sometimes they even showed me tough love. My first summer at Nebraska, I was super homesick. I called home crying every day. They would just ask me one question, “Are you ready to quit?” Of course my answer was “no”. During this three month period of my life, my parents taught me that anything worth accomplishing wasn’t going to come easy. Never give up.
 I’m a year and a half younger than my brother, Eric, and I was always playing sports with him, whether it was street hockey with the neighborhood gang, or dodge ball in the back yard.  Shoot, we even raced to the car every opportunity we had. He played baseball and football. But, I think his heart was set on baseball. That is what he was best at and that is what he pursued in college. He never had anything handed to him like I may have at times. He wasn’t always the starter in either high school or college (even though HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN). He was probably pretty pissed off about it, but he just kept working hard because he was passionate about the sport. He loved it and I know that when he did eventually give up baseball, it was probably a pretty tough decision. But, he didn’t let his passion die with baseball. He kept a passion going for everything he ever experienced. He fell in love with Dance Marathon at University of Iowa. He raised money and supported dancers and families affected by cancer. And NONE OF IT was for his benefit. Their slogan was “For the Kids!” It wasn’t for him. Around this same time, I was at Nebraska playing volleyball. Eric helped me understand that it isn’t always about me. Sometimes a passion and love can be generated by helping others to succeed.
                This brings me to my Nebraska volleyball days. It was at Nebraska that I learned responsibility, discipline, commitment, trust, and love. It definitely takes responsibility to be a great student-athlete. Our time schedule is crazy and there are so many things that you have to stay on top of just to keep your head above water. My teammates and coaches taught me trust, commitment, and love. I learned what it felt like to love something and my teammates with all of my heart and I learned what it felt like to be 100% committed to something. Every ounce of energy, every ounce of my being, and my entire heart was given to Nebraska volleyball and my teammates. I’m still trying to get some of that back for my next adventure in life. But, I’ll probably always leave a part of my heart there. 


Monday, February 21, 2011

Gold Medal Monday

That was the theme of today's practice because last Monday's practice was a complete disaster. However, today was not that much better for me. I kept screwing things up that I know I'm capable of doing. I mean I've done them before. Example, back set a perfect ball to the leftside hitter. I've done it before and today I'm just chucking balls everywhere. And to make things worse, I let myself get frustrated and didn't move on to the next play. Which was stupid for me to do. Lesson learned. But, the universe made up for it in three ways. First, I found a dime right before lunch. I was confused when I heard about the dime theory at first too. Dimes are less common to find just lying around. Pennies and quarters are everywhere. Some of my teammates told me stories about people who were having a rough time and prayed to God to send them dimes to show them that He was still with them. They would then come across thousands of dimes or dimes would show up in large quantities everywhere. Well, God sent me a dime today. May not mean much to you, but it made me smile. Second, we got to sit down and have lunch with Karch Kiraly today and listen to many amazing stories that he told us about his career and his family. It's just amazing to listen to someone like that. In the presence of greatness hearing about things that at this point in my life I can only dream of accomplishing. Lastly, I received my very late birthday package from Jess Yanz today. It was Resee's Hearts and the book "The Hunger Games" and the movie "Lilo and Stitch". So, it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Anyways, staying true to sharing my class journals: here is the second journal entry for you to enjoy.

Journal Week 2: January 24th, 2011
What You Know About Yourself
                What do I know about myself? I know that I am quiet and not all that outgoing. So, it was no surprise when my test results told me that I was an introvert. I know that I love sports (I’ve played volleyball and softball). My family is a volleyball and baseball family, and both my parents and my brother were great athletes and are very knowledgeable in the sports world. I know that I will work my butt off to accomplish my dreams, but when given the appropriate opportunity, I love to be lazy. I know that I find joy and inspiration in reading, writing, musicals, art, beautiful scenery, and daydreaming. I know that I am a homebody. I would choose sweatpants and a movie night over going out clubbing probably 80% of the time.  I know that I have a lot of built up love and inspiration in my heart that is waiting to burst out of me. I think I have been in love once. I may still be in love today.
                What do I know about my volleyball self? I know that I am hardworking, determined, and disciplined. I started my leadership days off being a quiet “lead by example” kind of player. But, throughout college, I have developed into a more well-rounded leader. However, I know that communication is still my greatest weakness. I know that if I don’t do something right, it will eat at my very soul until I perfect it. I know that I am always challenging myself to be better, even though my body, heart, and soul may experience days that throwing in the towel sounds so beautiful. I know that I am unsure of myself 75% of the time but I keep a pretty good game face on close to 100% of the time and keep grinding through my anxieties both on and off the court. I know that one day, only after I have conquered the world, that I will be 100% sure of myself and satisfied with my career. But, until I accomplish everything I want to accomplish, every day I have to fight off my self-doubt. I wonder whether or not I’m good enough for the goals I have set out to achieve, but I know that I won’t rest until I reach those goals. 


P.S. I am setting a rule for this journal entry. No questions.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Oh Crap! I'm Still In School :(

So even though I am in Anaheim playing volleyball, I still have a terrorizing 15 credits left of college looming over my head ready to stomp all over me when I do actually attempt to take them out. And my academic advisor, Dennis LeBlanc, bless his heart, has me in a correspondence course this semester. He knows me well enough to know that if I don't finish school ASAP I'm going to struggle with it down the road. So, I am in an online Leadership Class. For this class, I have to read two books: Tuesdays with Morrie and Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success, and I will be doing a lot of journaling. So, I thought it would be fun to share my journal entries on my blog. They aren't long but they have a lot to do with my volleyball journey and who I am. So here is the first journal entry. Ignore the dates on the entries...I'm a little bit behind in my class (okay five weeks behind) but, luckily my teacher is really cool about everything.

Journal Week 1: January 17th, 2011
Expectations of this Experience
                I have had a few friends take this course, and after recently talking to one of them about their experience, they told me that they learned a lot about what kind of person they are. So, I guess I’m not entirely sure what to expect from taking this course. I like to think I know who I am. But, seeing as how this is a leadership class, I’m expecting to learn more about what kind of leader I am and what it’s going to take for me to be a great leader. What does it even mean to be a great leader? What does it feel  like?
                I’ve played volleyball at the University for the past four years and by junior year I was looked at as a leader on the team, and I was aware that I was a leader. Maybe it was because of the expectations that were put on my shoulders, maybe it was because I set the bar in practice (if I even did), I’m not sure exactly why but I was a leader. The sad part is that I never really knew whether I was a good leader or not. People would tell me that I was a great leader that they looked to me, but I never really felt myself being a good leader. I could feel the love and dedication in my heart every day for my teammates, but in a way I was in a constant panic about whether or not I was being great for my team. It was the scariest thing in the world. Knowing that my team was following me, but not having any clue as to where I was leading them. Or even the thought that I was failing as a leader and that my team was following me off a bridge and I didn’t know how to turn them around. I know that this is just me overreacting, but I never actually learned was leadership felt like emotionally, physically, spiritually, etc.
                As I’m moving on to the next chapter in my life, and as I hopefully (fingers crossed) keep moving up the USA ladder, I’d like to discover more about what kind of leader I am and what it feels like to be a great leader.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This number may mean nothing to most of you. But, this number MADE MY DAY!!! Some of you may have already guessed it. I PASSED A 3.11 TODAY! It feels so good. Okay, some of you still may not understand my excitement. Passing is graded on a 4.0 scale, and since I've been in Anaheim, I've been passing below a 3.0 about frustrating. But, I did it! I broke through the 3.0 barrier, and I am very proud of myself.

Not only did I pass above a 3.0 in practice today, but for the first time I actually felt really good about the way I played. I passed well and I felt like more of a presence on defense. Don't get me wrong there have been plenty of days since I've started training that I felt like I've played good. But, never really  good. It's exciting to feel yourself taking steps forward. So to sum up, it's been a great day for me so far!

Something else exciting happened this past weekend too! Erik Sullivan (assistant coach when I was at Nebraska) was in Anaheim recruiting, and I got to sit down and have lunch with him. It was great to be able to talk to him, listen to stories and advice, and of course, enjoy a free lunch :) 

This is Erik and I with my fellow liberos Paige Hubl and Megan Pendergast at the Great Wall of China.

On the schedule for tonight is dinner and then Long Beach State vs. UC Irvine men's volleyball match. Can't wait! Until next time...adios amigos!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let the Blogging Commence!

I did it! I am officially a blogger. Thanks pretty much 100% to Jess Yanz who inspired me to join the blogging world. I am still exploring my blog and trying to figure everything out. But, I like journaling a lot, and what a great, fun new way to get my thoughts down! Seeing as how there is probably a grand total of three people who will read this (Jess, Mom, and Dad), I'm using this as a test blog to continue to get acquainted with this new hobby.

However, if there happen to be some newbies reading, I'll give you a mini update on my life. I'm currently living in Anaheim, CA training with the US National Volleyball team. I grew up a midwest girl, so the California lifestyle is completely different. It's as if I took a running leap and cannon balled right out of my comfort zone. But, so far, it seems to be going very well for me. I'm getting used to the area, and adapting fairly well to the level of USA volleyball. I have no idea what the future holds for me. Literally, I'm not sure where I'll be or what I'll be doing in two months. I dream of one day playing in the Olympics, so hopefully USA volleyball continues to show interest in me as an athlete. Anyways, to put it simply, I'm in California "livin' the dream".

It was sunny and 70 today. Pretty sweet dream, huh? :)