Monday, September 17, 2012

Curricular Activities

Besides my stint as the volleyball team’s “video coordinator”, I spend most of my days in my Sports Pedagogy classes, conveniently located in the Ramsey Center. I’ve managed to make a few friends, but have limited time to hang out due to my busy schedule. It’s nice that my program here is relatively compact, and most of my classes are made up of the same students. My professors aren’t too intense, but exams and papers are starting to pile up, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. 

Since my undergraduate degree was in Exercise Science instead of Education department, I have a few undergrad level courses I have to take to fulfill my teacher certificate degree needs. Hence, my classmates are split between undergrads in my Teaching Net/Wall Activities and Foundations of Sports Pedagogy classes and graduate/doctoral students in my Instructional Planning and Analysis of Pedagogy in Sport classes. There are a few people who I am in every class with, making our subgroup a little bit closer. I'm lucky to have a good core group of peers who are all (obviously) interested in the same things as I am (sports). 

I was able to go to an art studio called Pints and Paints with two girls (Erin and Meg) from my classes to celebrate Meg's birthday. As I'm sure you were able to get from the name, you drink pints while's a fantastic combination attempting to distract you from your atrocious painting skills (or in my case, lack thereof) through consumption of alcohol. It obviously worked:
Just made a little bit of a mess 
Everyone's final masterpiece
My finished painting - hanging proudly in my apartment
Some of my undergrad classmates came by our first home tournament at the start of the season, and rumor has it that they are planning something interesting for this upcoming weekend vs Alabama and Arkansas. Stay tuned for more curricular happenings......

Life as a Georgia Peach

I have now been a pseudo-resident in the state of Georgia for almost two months. Most of my time has been spent wearing Nike shorts, one of my many “Georgia volleyball” team-issued t-shirts and sneakers – nothing of which is too out of my character. Incorporating red and black into my wardrobe required no real effort, due to my previous college volleyball experience at University of Tampa (also red and black). Since many of you are as new to Georgia volleyball as I was, I have provided a “cast of characters” to try to help you, my faithful readers, sort out who’s who.

Name - Description
Lizzy Stemke - Head coach; She’s my boss; married to Kevin, mother of Kerrigan
Josh Lauer - Asst coach; married to Deb, father of Eli
Colleen “Neels” Bayer - Asst coach; married to Dave, mother of Max, Ben, and Sam
Matt “Huskey” Huskey - Volunteer; lives with the Lauer family
Laura Welch - Director of Operations                       
Trina Topping - Athletic Trainer GA; my roommate on all team trips
Vanessa & Megan - Athletic trainer undergrads
Matt, D, & Keenan - Student managers for the team
Trina and me at the airport
Some of the Dawgs sending up their love 
In addition to the above-mentioned individuals, we have the Dawgs themselves; Bri & Choi are our lone seniors, followed by underclassmen Britt, Allie, Stacey, Elena, Lauren, Chloe, Tirah, Gaby, Jasmine, Maggie, Kaylee, Des, and Megan. The team plays in the volleyball arena, which is located inside the Ramsey Student Center. 
My job as video coordinator entails setting up video recording for all practices and matches, taking Data Volley statistics during practices and matches, and Data Volley statistics of scouted matches for upcoming opponents. 
Data Volley set-up at FSU
Due to everyone up until this point in their season competing in tournaments (meaning at least 3 matches per team per weekend), I’ve had quite a lot of Data Volleying. Luckily regular conference matches have begun, so we are going to only be scouting for two teams per weekend. Not to mention we have traveled for THREE consecutive weekends, stayed in 4 hotels, been on 3 flights, in addition to travel via charter buses. It’s becoming quite problematic to remember which hotel we’re staying at, and which key goes to the door.

Thus far in our season, we’ve hosted the Bulldog Invitational (vs GA Southern, GA State, Troy and Slovenian National team), traveled to Florida State (vs FSU, FAMU, and FIU), traveled to Michigan State (vs Albany, IPFW, and Michigan State), and traveled to SEC opponents South Carolina and Mississippi State.

[note: matches in BOLD are wins, matches in ITALICS are losses – aka we are 7-4]

We are hosting Alabama and Arkansas this upcoming weekend (September 21st and 23rd, respectively). Check out our schedule HERE! If you want to watch the Alabama or Arkansas matches online click HERE then select SPORT tab and click on Women's Volleyball to view our videos.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Lovin', Had Me a Blast!

This summer, my boyfriend and I spent 5 weeks together. Consecutively. Ok, so we had a 4-day hiatus upon his departure from the USA and my arrival in Munich, but basically we spent every waking moment together. Essentially living together with one's relatively new boyfriend is like being on that game show "Deal or No Deal"; it either works or it crashes and burns. We definitely had our frustrations - mostly when we were stuck in one place for more than 5 hours (ie. tropical storm Debbie kept everyone in Jacksonville inside for 3 days straight, our single day road trip from Athens to Maryville, TN back to Athens, or the flight + train from Amsterdam to Halmstad). Those times were tough, we would both admit, but looking back they are now hilarious.

The trip began in Orlando, FL with DISNEY!
We got married!!! Just kidding!
It's a small world!
Cinderella's castle
Mad Tea Party
Sleepy boy on the way home from Disney
We journeyed on to St Augustine / Ponte Vedra to spend some time at the beach, with my family, and (of course) coaching a little volleyball at JJVA.
Daniel with JJVA 17 -Adis
First trip to Target, he can't decide what to buy! 
St Augustine, FL
Old Town St Augustine
First Chipotle experience - he LOVED it!!
Tropical storm Debbie is over!

Marble Slab Ice Cream
 Visit some of my long lost friends in Aiken, SC
My old school - SABCS

Hopeland Gardens in Aiken


Shopping in Augusta Mall
 Spent the night at the Haney's house outside of Athens
Sophie loves Daniel!!
 Daniel had an interview up at Maryville College in Tennessee
Maryville's gym 
He looks good as a Scot
Celebrating the 4th of July in St Augustine 
Happy 4th!
He was blown away by the fireworks

Our Euro trip took us through Germany, Italy, Croatia, Netherlands, and finally back to Sweden
Cheers at the Haufbrahaus
Verona coliseum
Romeo and Juliet's Verona
If you tell a lie, he bites your fingers off
Pula, Croatia
On the Rialto Bridge
The train ride in Amsterdam 
Red Light district
Racing in Halmstad
He's a mac

We had an amazing summer together, and now we just have to wait patiently until Thanksgiving to continue the fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


106. That is how many days it took for my graduate school application to be completed, received, revised, and (hallelujah!) ACCEPTED!! As of June 2, 2012, I am officially a graduate student at
The University of Georgia,  
where I will be studying Kinesiology - Sports Pedagogy. For those of you who are not familiar with this area in academics, "kinesiology" is also known as human kinetics, or the scientific study of human movement; "sports pedagogy" is the development and construction of the teaching of this ever-broadening idea of sports science.

In addition to furthering my academic education, I will be joining the women's volleyball team as the graduate assistant coach. My job will mostly entail DataVideo and DataVolley analysis. These programs are designed to help coaches evaluate skills, tempo, and efficiency of both the individual and the team thus resulting in more effective training techniques and pre-competition preparation.

I am so excited to be given this opportunity to further both academically and athletically. By combining these two overlapping areas, I hope to be able to continue my volleyball journey to the wide world of coaching. My sporadic blogging will most likely continue throughout this summer, and once I am moved up to Athens, my schedule will be pretty tight, so I make no promises for the fall. I can, however, include to you all a UGA volleyball schedule. You're welcome, and GO DAWGS!

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's officially over.

My volleyball season in Sweden has finally come to an end. After finishing up our regular season with 4 wins and 14 losses, we managed to sneak into the SM-Playoffs in 8th place. We managed to beat both Svedala (finished last) and Örebro (finished 9th) when we played them home and away, and took Hylte/Halmstad (finished 6th), Sollentuna (finished 7th), Gislaved (finished 5th) to 5-sets. We took a set from the top ranked team, Engelholm; all of these prove that after this first somewhat "experimental" season, Ljungby Volley is on the rise. Note: The top 8 teams advance to SM-Playoffs; the bottom 2 teams play against the top two teams from the lower division to fight for 9th and 10th place in Elite Series.
LVBK Regular Season Results (4-14)
In the beginning of our season, the team had a "chill" practice, where we did light aerobics and dancing before we went into the sauna and pools. It was here that we decided to make an internal team goal of making it to playoffs. No one outside the team would officially hear that information, and we instead told everyone that we would hope for the best season and try to stay in the Elite Series for the 2012-2013 season.  After many ups and downs, we achieved just that. Ljungby Volleybollklubb was here to stay.
SM-Playoffs, Quarterfinal results: Katrineholms - Ljungby

After our final loss at Katrineholms, we headed back to Ljungby. Halfway through the bus trip, Jocke made an announcement that he had wine, beer, and cider for us to celebrate such a successful season as rookies in the Elite Series. We started drinking and playing some games before finally pulling up to Sunnerbohallen and stopping at the Yellow House for our end of the season "party". We were greeted by speakers blaring Queen's "We Are the Champions" and members of the board cheering for us. It was such a great way to be welcomed home, Jo actually asked at one point "did we win?" We ate, drank, danced, and sang for hours, stopping only for the occasional speech. Despite the low feeling we all had after realizing that the season was over, this party was able to help lift our spirits. The board had decorated the club house with Swedish and American flags (love it!), all of our individual head shots from the beginning of the season, and some signs for next year's season in the Elite Series.

DJ Jimmie

LVBK is a 2012/13 Elite Series team!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's official!! We made the PLAYOFFS!!

Yes, my dear readers, we did it! After defeating both Örebro and Svedala home and away, and forcing Hylte/Halmstad, Sollentuna, and Gislaved to 5-set matches, Ljungby Volleybollklubb was able to secure a total of 15 "big points" (because I have no idea of a better way to describe them) towards our overall season record, thus securing our entrance to the first round of the Elite Series playoffs. Did I mention this is the FIRST time that LVBK has sent a women's team to the Elite Series playoffs??

I should maybe explain how we earn "big points". If Team "A" wins a match in 3-sets or 4-sets, they are awarded 3 "big points" to their overall record. It Team "A" wins a match in 5-sets, they are awarded 2 "big points" and Team "B" (who lost) is awarded 1 "big point".

We have our last home match this weekend against RIG Falköping - currently ranked #4. We lost to RIG 0-3 at their place earlier this season and are hoping to have a much better showing against them at home on Saturday (Feb 18). We will travel on February 25 up north to Sollentuna - ranked #7 (whom we lost to at home 2-3), and on March 4 we travel north again to play against Katrineholm - ranked #1 (whom we lost to at home 0-3).

Currently, we are tied with Sollentuna in "big points", however since they beat us in our first meeting, they are ranked higher than we are. If we are able to earn one point or more in our matches against RIG or Katrineholm, and then at least go to 5 with Sollentuna, we could potentially move up in the brackets; however, this doesn't really make much of a difference as far as match-ups go. Playoff matches begin on March 11.

Once playoffs start, whichever team is ranked #1 is allowed to choose which team, ranked 5-8, they would like to play against. Then the team ranked #2 chooses, then #3, etc. It's a little strange, but it could mean the difference between a 2 hour drive or 6+ hour drive. The way I see it, Katrineholm (located near Stockholm) would naturally pick the lowest ranked team that is near them. Makes sense to me, then again, we are in Sweden...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LVBK at Örebro

The day began bright (only because the lights were on inside, the sun was still in hiding) and early at 7am. Malin drove Jo, Sofie, and I to Sunnerbohallen. The team loaded up the bus and we were off. We had been informed that we weren’t allowed to sleep past 9:30, and despite my initial intention to do so just to stick it to the man, I was unable to. I slept for about an hour and a half before I joined the waking world to watch Despicable Me. This is one of Jo’s favorite movies (and mine as well). We had to make two stops on the drive, the second at a mall where we spent a little over an hour to eat and hang out. Finally, after me becoming quite the PITA, we had arrived at the gym. We went on a brisk pre-match walk before heading into the locker room. The gym wasn’t anything special, and had really high ceilings with lights from the side angled to the court—perfect for blinding a hitter. I did manage to find a secret treasure in the locker room: a pretty pretty ring!! “Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers!!!” Hey ohh!!!
The match was going to be tough, as are most of our travel matches. Despite beating them 3-0 at home, this was going to be a battle. We knew that they had a new professional player (their setter) in addition to a solid right side and American outside, so we would have to jump on them early in order to win. The match started out ugly with us losing the first set 20-25. Fortunately we were able to work through this tillsammans (“together” in Swedish). As the match progressed, we were moving better and better, but I think the biggest change was our mental game. We were able to maintain a steady focus and calmness throughout the last 3 sets, which is not usually the case. As Daniel said on our team website, “this gain was incredibly nice because we showed we can win even without playing at our peak”. We won the match 3 sets to 1: 20-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-17. Jo led the team with points (20) thus earning the Best Player award of Sex and the City perfume and lotion box set. Malin and Jassi were the next two highest scorers with 13 and 12 points, respectively. It was a great match where we were able to secure another 3 points for our overall ranking in the Elite Serien. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Procrastination: it's what I do.

As I sit here studying for the GRE’s analytical writing task, I am prompted to write a blog. Go figure. The first sample issue task states “as people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.”

First things first, technological advancements have allowed the human race to do the unimaginable. Franklin got struck by lighting and discovered electricity. Alexander Graham Bell made a phone call. The Wright brothers flew a plane. Without these, and the countless number of other inventions, life today would be much more primitive and thus, limited. Instead of taking months or years for Newton to get hit on the head by the apple, we can today obtain information instantly via the world wide web; now even more so thanks to wireless and mobile internet. The Internet merely allows individuals the luxury of doing research immediately rather than looking it up the “old-fashioned” way. In a society that is focused on the idea that time is money efficiency is key. I know that some people prefer to do research through books, newspapers, periodicals; my grandfather is one of these people. I receive handwritten letters from him about once a month (since that’s how long it takes for us to write, send, receive, and reply to one another via snail mail) updating me on his day and upcoming events, which may actually be past events by the time I receive the letter, but that is neither here nor there.
One of my letters; yes, that's $20
I love getting these letters, and will be the first to admit that I value holding something tangible in my hands much more than reading something on my computer screen (hint hint). If you want my mailing address, send me an email and I’ll gladly send it your way 

Next, my sister and I recently implemented a Tuesday night Skype date. This is hopefully going to become a weekly occurrence to better allow us to stay connected to each other’s lives. Skype, or more specifically the Internet, here can be quite temperamental and has caused a bit of stress throughout my stay in Sweden, but at the end of the day, it’s the closet I’ll get to having real quality hang outs with my friends and family back at home, so I can’t hate it. I’ve also been able to FaceTime with a few of my co-Apple lovers out there, which is equally as exciting. My first solo FaceTime experience was with two friends who recently got engaged—CONGRATS AGAIN!!! I was in shock the whole time (about the FaceTime, not the engagement) and kept saying over and over “ohmygosh, ohmygosh, it’s you! Ohmygosh, there you are! It’s you” Once I had finally gained some composure, my friend’s parents walked in the room, and I repeated my previous lines again. After ending the conversation, I realized that we didn’t actually say anything productive. Then again, that’s no different from hanging out with me in person, so I guess it was successful after all.
Skype date with Erica <3
I know that there are many of you who will read this and instantly think “I want a Skype date!!” so if you are one of those people, check my schedule and email me when you’d like a date:
MONDAYS: 4am-9:30am PRACTICE 3pm-6pm
TUESDAYS: 4am-12:30pm PRACTICE 3pm-Kamryn’s skype date-6pm
WEDNESDAYS: 4am-6pm (times may vary as this is our free day from practice)
THURSDAYS: 4am-1pm PRACTICE 4pm-6pm
FRIDAYS: 4am-10am PRACTICE 12pm-6pm (evening times vary)
SATURDAYS: match days, times vary; usually any time after 12pm for home games
SUNDAYS: times vary
*all times are EST (aka Florida time zone)
**only practice/match times are set in stone so if you give me a time I can most likely make it

After reading the GRE prep booklet, I know that there is no “right” answer to these writing prompts, but they grade you instead on how well you can identify and address the issue, present your analysis, and support your point of view. I’m definitely going to fail.

Kids, this is your brain not on Ritalin. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Don't quit your night job...

As most of you know, Sweden has given Jo and I quite the surplus amount of free time. We initially solved this “problem” by agreeing to coach Ljungby Volley’s “B” team; however, they only practice during the evenings, which merely increased the amount of consecutive time we spent in Sunnerbohallen (the volleyball gym). We coach the team Monday and Thursday evenings before our own practices, and attend their matches when possible. Stefan, one of the girl’s fathers, is acting as coach throughout the season so the team always has an adult present. We have only been coaching the team since mid-November, but have already seen quite an improvement (and increase in numbers!). Both my dad and mom were able to come to practices this year and the girls seemed to enjoy having another American around to help out with advice. They are all really eager to learn and it’s been a great coaching experience overall.

After the New Year, we again expressed our interest in finding jobs to help occupy more of our time. The club spoke with a few sponsors and found that one was able to have us come to help in their factory. Thus, Jo and I have recently begun working at a local graphic productions company called JOMA, GP. We like to refer to it as “JoMeg”. Unfortunately, part of our visa/immigration to Sweden limits us legally working to only playing or coaching in the volleyball club, so instead our work for JoMeg must be part of the company’s sponsorship of the team. Either way, we were pretty excited to begin our factory jobs!

We've only worked 3 days so far, but things have been going pretty well. I started as a lamination specialist while Jo was working as a plastic wrap technician; terms coined by Jo and I, of course. I spent the first day and a half as an LS but upon completion of this task, I joined Jo as a PWT. We photo-documented a play-by-play of Jo's daily job as Plastic Wrap Technician. Sort of tutorial-esque fashion, in case any of you ever desire to go into this line of work. Keep in mind we are trained professionals and you should not try this at home.

Step One: grab stack of handouts

Step Two: slide handouts into the plastic wrap

Step Three: carefully slide handouts onto the grill

Step Four: press the green button
**Note: do NOT press the red button

Step Five (a): remove excess plastic wrap
Step Five (b): remove excess plastic wrap 
Step Six: repeat
As you can see, this job is quite tedious and requires a meticulous eye. If done incorrectly, you can face dire consequences such as steam in the eye, burned fingers/arms/clothes, cuts and abrasions, etc. This job cannot be taken lightly. After joining Jo on this task, I was switched to Postmaster on Friday. I labeled, stamped, stuffed, and sealed over 200 envelopes in just under 2.5 hours. Check out my super sweet workstation:

My postmaster's station
We ended all of our assigned tasks about 45-minutes early, so we were sent to the back of the factory (!) to help tape up boxes. We assembled those boxes and taped them like champions, leaving nothing but a box maze as a trail. 

Tape Master
We got boxed in...
 Until next time, JoMeg out!