After seeing the influx of first year college GMVA folk getting their blogs done I thought I better get one done and some them how, a blogger better than Linford Bennett does it.
I remember about three years ago when Gerrard Lipscombe would grace us with about 1 blog a year, a time when I was young and less aware or ignorant as some may say, and I thought how do these college people never have time to blog…? Well three years into college I think I have become aware of the phenomena of ‘just getting by’ especially during season where the balancing act of being a college athlete is tough. I do believe if you are a very focused individual you might be able to do it all but keeping motivation day in day out is something that I am glad to be able to practice in college because I’m confident that will look a little bit similar to the dark unknown after college known as life.
So now that I have got around to providing my fans a blog let me tell you about my year. The year before this last year I made the decision to transfer schools and so when I came back from a trip to Vietnam I arrived in sunny California, where I started school at Concordia University Irvine. The transition from one of the biggest schools in the country to one with the population of about 2000 undergraduate students was hard to adjust to at times. But like everything if you spend enough time somewhere it will feel like a home soon enough.
My school is located in Irvine, California about an hour south of Los Angeles in Orange County. It is sunny all year round which is a little different to weather in Ohio. Many people in the Orange County and surrounding southern California area believe they live in the best place in the world and are very content with never moving out of the state. The state is full of beaches and national parks, but it can be hard to get around sometimes as you need a car or nice friends that let you borrow their car. Because of this and for convenience I got my American driver’s license last November.
Starting off there year the preseason here featured some 6am Friday mornings to play some beach volleyball and do a buoy swim which I was died a little bit inside every time we did it, but I can’t deny that afterwards I felt better. For anyone who doesn’t know a buoy swim is simply ocean swimming out to touch a buoy and then swimming back to shore, sometimes the tide was nice and sometimes unforgiving.
Next was fall practice and some preseason tournaments. These tournaments were our first look at the rosters most teams would have for the season and the level of competition. Coming off two years of watching from the stands the game looked very physical and competitive. This is something that it definitely took time to get used to and be comfortable with.
Looking back on the actual season my team finished with a 16-15 record with 5 wins over ranked opponents. The biggest highlight was easily our five set win against BYU at BYU in front of 3000+ fans. We were down 2 sets and fought back to hand BYU one of only two losses in a span of 19 matches. This game was very special for our coach who had played at BYU and coached there and our captain who transferred from BYU, and gave the team a new sense of confidence that we belong at this level.
So after three after three years I was able to go begin to achieve something I’ve wanted since I was 14. But I would caution people, that things will never be the way you imagine them and sometimes I’ve struggled with this. So just being content at where you are is really important. I’ve worked to be competing at the D1 level and I’m proud of that and blessed for all the support I’ve received over the years.
So after a long and tough season I’m keen to rest and recuperate and lift a lot over my break to come back ready to push next year and coming into my fourth year I’m not going to let any freshman try and take my spot now that I have one.
A piece of advice for any young aspiring GMVA athletes, in the words of Kendrick Lamar stay ‘Humble’. Unless you’re Wilfredo Leon then you are not the best player in the world and hence you have something to learn and to improve. It definitely can be hard at the college level or any level for that matter to come to practice each day so focused and ready to focus on getting better and not being stressed about assignments or homework or simply life. The life of a student athlete is a tough, but nearly almost all athletes watch Netflix and try and be social just like normal students so it’s only going to be as tough as you make it for yourself. You have to find ways to shut everything out when you step onto that 9 by 9 court and not think and just play because you’ve put in the hard work in practice.
One of my friends who was part of the team this year told me about a very interesting thought of a 15 week college semester being compressed to four weeks, based around the fact that most students will get the work done - even if it’s on the night before. So I never really stress I won’t finish something it’s more just stress you places on yourself when you leave assignments to the last minute. But studies show that it is extremely hard for humans to put long term gratification over short term gratification. Thus why people put off assignments for one episode of The Office, however in this case if you have not watched the office stop reading this blog and start watching and when Michael Scott leaves the show skip straight to the finale of season 9.
Well I think that’s plenty for now, I hope that you’ve enjoyed my perspective on college and volleyball. I know that not everything may have sounded rosy and cool like college sports are but that’s because behind the coolness of being a student athlete there is hard work and dedication and stress. Please be sure to tell Linford Bennett to come to me if he needs tips on getting back into the blogging game. If you have any questions, concerns critique for my writing style please contact me. Especially parents if you have questions about your son or daughters interest in college I would be happy to answer your questions. Thank you for reading.