Mad Dog's Blog: From the Olympic Training Center
Cal libero Maddy Kerr is spending the weekend in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Women's National Team and U.S. Collegiate National Team tryouts, along with teammate Alyssa Jensen. Kerr will provide an update after each day.
This morning our tryout session did not begin until 11:40 a.m., which was nice because we were pretty exhausted last night from our long day. We woke up around 9 and ate breakfast at the Olympic Training Center dining hall, which has very good food, I must say. Then, of course, we wanted to explore the OTC, so we headed outside and wandered around. All around the grounds, there are these oversized plaques that describe and portray either an Olympic sport or a legendary American Olympic moment. So, for example, there is a plaque that represents United States Olympic volleyball and its history, and there is also a tribute to the 1980 USA Men’s Hockey team. It is kind of hard to describe these plaques/memorials/representations, and I’m doing a really bad job of it. It actually took me around ten minutes to figure out that “plaque” was probably the best way to describe these things.
Next, we went into the gift shop, where they sold a lot of really cool Nike Olympics gear. We looked around but decided not to buy anything because everything said “United States Olympic Team” on it, and in case it wasn’t clear, we’re freshmen in college and definitely not on the Olympic Team at the moment. So we figured it would be false advertising and didn’t want to confuse anybody. We left the gift shop and decided to go up this elevator, and we ended up on this rooftop where the Olympic flame is lit! We had this amazing view of the entire OTC, with the snowcapped mountains in the background and all of the amazing facilities spread all around.
We headed over to the gym and were twenty minutes EARLY, instead of being an hour and twenty minutes late like last night. So we already felt accomplished before we even started. Finally, we began to play, and it was a relatively basic tryout that consisted of a lot of serving and passing, which are the two most important skills in volleyball according to every coach I’ve ever had. I’m pretty sure Karch Kiraly knows what he’s doing. I enjoyed it, because as a libero I basically only have two skills (passing and defense), so I got to show my stuff. One interesting thing about volleyball at the international level is that liberos do not serve, whereas at the college level, we do. This was fine with me, as I have a bad shoulder and my serve is just extremely pathetic in general. So my first session today basically consisted of all serve receive passing reps.
When the session was over, Alyssa and I grabbed lunch, and then I met up with a couple friends I know from my club volleyball team in San Diego, Jennie Frager and Karly Drolson, who both play at UCLA. I had a lot of fun catching up with them because it hasn’t been easy staying in contact with all of our hectic schedules. Then, my next session began at 4, and Alyssa’s was later, so I headed back to the gym.
The last session consisted of more live play, however it was very difficult to get much repetition because there were about seven liberos on each court, and we had to switch in and out constantly. It was tough to get in a groove, but I did my best, and I know Alyssa did too during her session. We really are working hard to represent Cal volleyball and prove how awesome our program is! We both have early mornings tomorrow - I play at 7:30 a.m. and Alyssa plays at 9, so we headed back to the room quickly after dinner to get some sleep (and I had to write this blog entry and did not want to get in trouble). We are excited for tomorrow’s session, but also psyched to get back to Berkeley and practice with our team, who won all three of their matches today in their first Spring tournament! We were obviously so disappointed we could not be there, but we were so excited when we heard the news and can’t wait to get back to practice because we miss our crazy girls!
Tomorrow morning is our last session, so we will definitely leave it all out on the court. The level of play here is extremely high, with girls of all ages, ranging from high school seniors to girls that have graduated college, and each and every player brings something to the table. It has been especially interesting playing with other Pac-12 girls that we played against all year, including Liz Brenner from Oregon and Washington’s Krista Vansant, to name two of many. It sounds completely and totally cheesy, but it really does remind us that although we are on different teams and are pretty much sworn enemies, we all share the same passion for the sport of volleyball that started us on the path to where we all are today.
That’s all for now. I better get some sleep! Wish us luck tomorrow!