KARI MILLER'S BLOG

FROM: Kari MillerSitting Volleyball

7.30.12

The last training camp before LONDON!!!!

This was It -- the last camp where all of us would come together before leaving for Europe!! It started if off with an early morning meeting where we got our credentials.  I just have to say, the picture of me on my credential reminds me of a gelfling from “The Dark Crystal.”  OH WELL… It's really real, and I’m really going!  

Besides the awful picture, we got the coolest thing ever with the credentials: our Oyster Cards, which is what they call train and subway passes. We can ride the rails in style now. Watch out, London, here I come!!

Oh, you know how there is a saying that every day you learn something new? Well, during the meeting there was a packet explaining how the Oyster Cards work and other run of show things, and there was a warning: “Do not top up.” Well, today I am pleased to share with you that that means “do not add funds.” (Hmm, does that make me bilingual now, Queen’s and American English?)

One of the huge highlights of this camp is that we had Red and Blue scrimmages.  It was awesome. Both teams were relentless and beat up on each other! We had fans out as well and the “cherry on top” was the evil machine that made crowd noise!! It was relentless!!!! Definitely challenging, but fun.

The day of the last scrimmage was our coach's daughter’s wedding. He informed us that he was still coming to the evening scrimmage! We tried to talk him out of it, but once we realized it was a losing battle, we begged him to please come in his tux. He did and looked spectacular! We were so happy for him, and it set that day’s scrimmage off on a spectacular high for us. 

Now for the extra-curricular activity… Last Games we had a “What the Heck Are You Wearing?” Olympics Opening Ceremony watching party, and we did it again this year.  The things the team pulled out of their closets seriously makes me wonder where and why would anyone ever have the occasion to wear some of these crazy things!! It was great to get together, all of us bunched into one of the athlete’s tiny apartment’s living rooms, watching the countries come in, comparing the outfits, and dying laughing at Mr. Bean!

The last practice of the camp started like most. We were happy working through the soreness and boo boo’s. But in the end, after the last huddle when it was time to get ready to go, it got a little emotional for a lot of us, knowing we have a little break but then we are off to battle it out with “our girls.”

I can’t wait. 

7.20.12

Looking back on my first Games in 2008, I thought the lead-up to China was HUGE! But this go round, London 2012 has been phenomenal!!

I am currently on a plane meeting my team in Shanghai to have a friendly tournament with China and Ukraine. Had this been just a couple of years ago, I think I would have been going into this tourney with a bit of anxiety. 

But here we are 2012, and I have the most awesome team in the world. These last few years I have been looking at how much each of us has put into our individual skills and how all the strengths have come together as a cohesive team on the court, and I just glow inside. Coming out of Beijing with the silver has clearly made us a hungry team, and I look forward to the battle to come!!

That being said, let me tell you guys about this trip. It started off really strange... I was sitting, minding my own business, eavesdropping on the lady's conversation next to me, when I was rudely interrupted by this superfast blur near the ticket desk! All of a sudden both she and I realized:  MOUSE!!!!!!!! My arch enemy!!!!! In the airport!!! So I gracefully (yet hastily) relocated.  

I ended up getting the most awesome seat with no one in the middle and the best-ever riding partner. At first I assumed that he didn't speak English. But lo and behold, he said to me, after one of my many bathroom trips, “You are doing so well with that. My grandson has cancer in his ankle, and they are considering amputation. I have some questions about it." He was from Chicago! So aside from being stylish, my shorts helped me make a friend, and who knows, maybe we will be seeing his grandson out here playing sports one day!

We finally arrived in beautiful Shanghai and a quick ride through the city to our hotel, The Equatorialm which rocked. How often do we get fresh sushi during a tourney!!! 

Our first game was a nail-biter. We had the opportunity to try a lot of different combos and formations, as well as actually see China for the first time since ‘08. I have to say, this was the toughest competition that we have had in a long time!!! Ukraine was there as well, and they totally brought their "A" game.  I am totally looking forward to the Games – they’re gonna be a doozy.

Ok, so after the tourney on our final day in Shanghai we got to spend time at the cool tower with a rollercoaster and museum in it! I had a blast taking pics overlooking the different sectors of the city. The sheer numbers of buildings was overwhelming. It reminded me of the movie “Inception,” when the city kept folding on itself. 

It was truly a great trip!!

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