As I embarked on my 21 hour transit to Columbus, Ohio I was filled with nerves and and anticipation of things I had only imagined thus far, these things were about to become my reality very shortly. Once I had navigated the giant maze which is LAX Airport I was boarding my plane bound for Columbus the place which I was to call home for the next nine months. As I landed I was picked up by a freshman setter from my team who lives in Columbus, his truck was about twice the size of any 18 year olds car in AUS. The next few days were full of orientations, buying textbooks and a couple of Open Gym sessions which are just scrimmages ran by your captain as in the off season the coach has only about 3 hours a week they can be with the team due to one of the many very specific and strange rules enforced by the NCAA. To give you a taste of the Volleyball side of things over here; the setter who has started the last two years on my team is my height, we have a sophomore who is from France and has (only) been playing Volleyball 12 years, we play with the molten volleyballs which have a heavier feel than mikasas and you can generate a lot more speed off the ball when spiking and serving which makes jump serving very popular over here.
It was comforting in our first team meeting when our Strength and Conditioning Coach came out to speak he was as buff and stocky as I had imagined, but he seems very switched on and from what we were told our first few weeks of pre-season should have been terrible but with changes from the way the strength work will go compared to previous years we did three reasonably hard circuits and today we started our structured lifting which will be 4 times a week. But I am very looking forward to that in fact and knowing that with such tailored guidance I will get stronger and fitter and be closer towards playing in NCAA Division 1 volleyball, as the physicality not just being huge but how toned and well they move around the court is something I have already picked up on in our Open gym sessions. If you are worried about coming to college because your mum does all your washing you need not worry as all the gear we train with is placed on loops and after each practice or lifting session you throw your loop in the magical laundry basket and then the next day all your loops will be back in your locker clean and dry.
On the college side of things I am attending (The Ohio State University) a school in the top 5 largest universities in America based on population, the school has 1200 student ran organisations and about that many student-athletes as well, the pride people have being here as students – a lot of them knowing they wanted to go here for all their lives – is incredible, and people really buy into having so many people on campus.
Thus far I have had two 1 hour trainings with the coaches and a bunch of open gym sessions and its nice to be given very fresh advice on techniques and ways to play the game, some of these things are hard to implement when you have been learning certain things for so long and all of a sudden you are told to do something different but it is a challenge I am looking forward to taking head on.
The dorms I have been placed in are only 50 years old and I am yet to have any posters on my wall so I call upon the help you my fellow GMVA athletes to mail me a poster and if I happen to receive too many(which would be impressive) I will let my roommate choose which ones get on the wall or perhaps implement a rotation policy, I will post my postal address for my time in the states at the end of the blog.
Some classic American things I am learning to deal with is the American handshake which is a mix of high-five and then clasp it looks very sporty when done correctly, the all you can eat food places I go to the majority of the time sometimes are a challenge to eat healthy but its getting easier everyday, as you will have always been told Americans love our accent and its totally true and thus far I have only had one girl give a neutral reaction when I said I was from Australia, statistically she was a major out-liar. But on a serious note for College life, coming straight into a sports team is awesome because you have 20 other guys that quickly become your good friends and sets you up nicely to make many more.
The way that the upperclassmen have let myself and the four other freshman on the volleyball team into their community is really cool and they’re starting to feel like a really big family really quickly. In summary and for those second guessing coming to college here in the US or Canada; before I left everyone was telling me you’re going to have the best time of your life over here and I was too busy overthinking everything and worrying to believe that; but I can safely say that after only 2 weeks and 6 days here I am having the time of my life. There were a lot of little things I had to to get here but now I’m here and it was all worth it, so I would urge anyone considering college to just do it as a cultural/live/volleyball experience you can’t go wrong.
That’ll be me for now and I’ll hopefully blog every month and post some links on the GMVA facebook page; and if anyone considering/thinking/daydreaming about college has any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me on facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), I know when I had questions I referred to the every rangry Gerrard so maybe I can be someone’s Gerrard, just without the bad haircuts! I think that’s enough from me for now, to all those at GMVA make sure you look after Luke as he’s surely lost without the full time boys being there everyday to brighten his day :D
The Next blog I will explore the American lingo I have been learning and all the adjustments you have to make over here e.g. walking on the right side of the sidewalk!
Until you hear from me next – Take it easy everyone!
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