This “event” might be a little off of the beaten track from some of the other events I have blogged about, but I chose to attend this because it served a specific purpose for me: much-needed inspiration. I was able to go and watch the regional semifinal and finals of the women’s Division I collegiate championship which is basically the Sweet Sixteen of women’s college volleyball.
The four teams I was able to watch included Wisconsin vs. Florida State (where my sister played college volleyball) and Illinois vs. Purdue. There’s no better way to get your act in gear than to go watch people half your age display athleticism you can only dream of! I also attended for the sake of my daughter. It’s incredible for me to see young women out there displaying such courage and determination. They are incredible role models for her. During the game she asked me if I thought she could play volleyball. It will be interesting to see where some of the athletes wind up. I am pretty confident one of them will be the future setter for the Olympic team.
By far the most exciting person to watch throughout the three games was Deme Morales. She is the shortest outside hitter in the Big 10. Standing 5 feet 7 inches, she is 6-11 inches shorter than the athletes on the other side of the net. She dominated! It was incredible to see someone who was conceivably up against Goliath to walk away with a season high 20 kills in the regional final game. She was awesome to watch.
Another thing that was really interesting for me to see was the difference in the physical condition of the various teams. There was a SIGNIFICANT difference in what I could see as far as physical conditioning, weight, and body composition from team to team. Other people might not notice it, but there was one team that was far and away the most athletic and physically fit. It really made me wonder about what the strength and conditioning resources are like for the various teams, as well as nutrition education available to the athletes.
While in town (Champaign, Illinois) we were able to check out The University of Illinois and their beautiful recreation facilities. We sludged around campus in 7 inches of snow but still had a great time. I was able to use their recreational pool, cardiovascular equipment, indoor tracks, and even get in a 5 mile run on campus (before the snow hit). In the dead of winter it was a nice break and a great source of athletic inspiration.