Player Diary: Courtney Thompson

Aug. 24, 2005

Junior setter and tri-captain Courtney Thompson will be keeping a player diary throughout the 2005 volleyball season and will provide an inside look into the ins and outs of Husky Volleyball. Courtney's second installment is about the season opening on Friday, a trip to a Seattle Storm WNBA game and a canoeing trip on Lake Washington.

I guess time flies when you're having fun. I can't believe we have our first game on Friday. It will be nice to finally all be on the same side of the net and compete against another team. The competition in practice has been fun, intense, and challenging (mentally, physically, and emotionally), but it's tough beating each other up every day and it is getting harder. The more you play against someone, the more aware you are of their tendencies and it becomes a lot harder to win a drill when you know each others strengths and weaknesses. The thing I have enjoyed and appreciated about this camp most is that the type of anxiety and urgency that I previously felt only in games I have felt in every single practice this season. It's awesome. There is a pressure (in a good way) to perform and you either do or you lose. It has been a good week of practice and everyone is excited to transfer what we have been working on to gameday and that is what it's all about.

Last Thursday we were introduced at the Seattle Storm WNBA game, which was very cool. We had a team dinner at the Cheesecake Factory prior to the game, which is always a guaranteed good time. After dinner we mobbed to Key Arena, which should probably take about 5 minutes if you know where you are going...however, one-way streets can really have you driving around in circles despite the fact that you might be able to see your destination quite clearly. Despite our misdirection, we all ended up at the game on time and just had a blast. They introduced us at one of the time outs and put us on the jumbo-tron. We weren't sure if we should stay seated or stand up and wave, so we played it cool at first and just sat there. Then the whole crowd gave us a standing ovation, which was really pretty cool, so as a proper 'thank you' we stood up and waved. It was a good game to watch, and even though a few of us played in high school, we agreed that we couldn't beat the Seattle Storm in a hoops game. BUT, we all agreed that Danka could have danced with the hip-hop squad that came out during timeouts. Danka is a very talented young woman when it comes to dance moves- really, it's quite impressive. In the second half, Carolyn, Christal and I got to go down to the floor and do 'the train'. We were by far the oldest kids on the floor, and I'm sure we looked rather odd in our matching purple warm-ups, but we had a darn good time.

Friday was a day off from volleyball, but the competition was still just as strong. We had the first annual Pac-10 Canoeing Challenge right here on Lake Washington. There were three people to a canoe (randomly selected) and the challenge was a scavenger hunt created by Margaret McLaughlin (Jim's very talented wife). It was probably good that we didn't have a rowing race as the challenge because no one could keep their canoe going straight. Especially Tui's boat, consisting of Ashley and Dani- they had the hardest time keeping their canoe going in one direction. You have to give it to them though, because they were still competitive and gave us a real fight for the trophy. I was in a boat with Carolyn and Tom Tom (Tamari) and I just had a good feeling from the beginning. My real goal of the day was to just beat Danka, and since there were no second place trophies, it was all or nothing. We worked hard and paddled our hearts out - and with the creative wits of Carolyn, the pure talent of Tom Tom, and my deep desire to beat Danka, we came out victorious. And we haven't let the team forget it.

Our next competition off the court was a jeopardy game with a NCAA rules theme. It was a fun way to help us understand what is okay to do as a student-athlete and what is illegal. The team was pretty tired after a long practice and an hour of weights, but we rallied and gave it our all. Lucky for me, I was on Danka's team this time but we were beaten by the 'Mighty Hitters' (Sanja, Jessica Veris, Brie, and Carolyn). 'The Headbands' came in a close second (that was me, Danka, and Christal), while 'The Lee's' (Candace, Darla, and Ashley) came in a distant third. 'The Lee's' and 'The Headbands' even joined together at the end but not even the six of us could overtake the 'Mighty Hitters'. If it were up to me, I would give the MVP award to Brie Hagerty. She really stepped up when her team needed her and even when they questioned her knowledge of the NCAA rules, she stuck to her instinct and always came out to be right. Way to go Brie, way to go.

It was another great week as a Husky. I think we are all enjoying being a part of something bigger than ourselves. There is an opportunity for us (the team, coaches, staff, school, community) to do something very special and very unique. Our team feels that, and is doing everything in our power to be the best that we can be- to become something a whole lot bigger than anyone thought we could be.

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