Karissa Hampton From San Jose: Day II
Dec. 1, 2000
Well, day one is over, and now we are just anticipating game day. We cannotwait for tomorrow to roll around. Today was great, though. We woke up andhad breakfast at Peggy Sue's. It was pretty good. After that we went tothe hotel to prepare for training. Before practice, we went to the stadium,and let me tell you, it felt so good to stand out there and just look aroundat everything. It was pretty neat. After our walk-through, we had to takeheadshots for ESPN. We had to go in this room one at a time and smile (orwhatever look you wanted to give) for 5 seconds into this video camera.Well, of course, us LA girls, the first thing we do when we walk in the roomis look in the mirror. One of the guys says to Breana Boling, 'Notre Dameand North Carolina didn't look in the mirror.' Well, the reason that is, isprobably because they have each been here over 10 times so this has justbecome routine for them. But for us, since this is our first appearance, Iguess people were worried about looking good. Or maybe it's just the LA inus.
As soon as pictures were over we traveled over to the practice facilities.Practice was great, the intensity was there, the focus was there, and ofcourse, like always, the humor. That is one thing I love about our team -it's what I love the most, actually - the camaraderie. We have such a greattime together. I have never been on a team before that came together andhad so much fun as this one does.
Tonight at the banquet a player from Notre Dame said, 'The team that willmake it the farthest is the team that can come together off the field.' Ithought about that and instantaneously this team came to mind. I have neverseen another team that enjoyed each other's company day in and day out asmuch as ours. As much time as we spend together, you would think that wewould be sick of each other, but for me I cannot wait each day to see themat practice or any other team function.
Right after practice today, Krista, Tracey, Venus and I all went to thepre-tournament press conference. It was nice. However, one thing that wassort of troubling is the fact that everyone seems to think that we are thisprogram that just started or maybe just started to want to compete for thenational title. It seems as if the media and others have little or no faithin us, but I guess that's fine. I love being the underdogs!
As we returned to the hotel, it was time to get ready for the championshipbanquet. We all looked so good! I mean you have to admit, this team ispretty good looking (just kidding)! When we arrived at the banquet, therewas a social in the lobby. It was good chance to see an old teammate ofmine who now plays for Notre Dame. I am also sure a lot of other teammatesliked it too, as I watched them talk to past teammates and friends. Then wewent into the banquet hall and sat at our tables. It was really nicebecause the atmosphere was really relaxed and warm. The highlight of theevening was for me to go on stage and speak. I was sitting thereanticipating this as all the welcome speeches were being made. Eventuallyit was the time for one person from each team to go up on stage and answersome questions. I was first and they asked me how it felt to be the 'newkids on the block?' And, 'what did you do to get here?' I answered thatquestion by telling them that this year, everyone has the mentality, drive,confidence, and talent to get it done. All of those things together are thereason why we are here today. I truly believe that. It's not because of afluke or luck that we're here. It's all of our hard work, talent, anddedication. Then she asked me about a little anecdote that I had with myteammate/roommate Venus James. Prior to me going up there I knew that shewas going to ask me something about that and Venus begged me not to sharethe story. I respected her wishes and instead shared a funny teamexperience that we had during in Clemson in the beginning of the year. Idecided to share our whitewater rafting trip, unsure of the reaction I wasgoing to get from everyone (because you know a story is never the sameunless you were there). I told the story anyway and surprisingly there wasa room full of laughs. I was relieved. When I was finished, the othergirls had their turn, and then it was on to a video presentation thatincluded highlights of all the teams. I thought that was really exciting!Especially when they told everyone how our defense is second in the nation.Yeah, props to defense! The clips were awesome. That was the final thing onthe agenda, and we headed back to the hotel.
When we got back, we actually had to do an hour of study hall, which wasgood because we have missed quite a bit of school this past week. I thinkthat we need to all make sure that we stay on top of our studies.
Well, I would like to say one more thing before I go to bed. Everyone is soexcited for tomorrow. No one is satisfied with us just getting to the FinalFour - we want to go all the way! When you come this far you have to be init to win it. I know tonight I will have sweet dreams, because tomorrow'sgame will be all I'll be thinking about.