Between The Bars

Aug. 27, 2007

Wow - it's been a whirlwind few months. ALL good. After NCAA's, I went to SeaWorld again for the month of May to work on two shows. It's always such an awesome experience working down there. I start each day rehearsing the day show, Cirque de la Mer, at the lagoon. Every morning I walk out to the lagoon, in beautiful San Diego, and it hits me - 'I get to work at UCLA and in this beautiful place, with people I enjoy, at a craft that makes my soul sing. Pretty darn cool.' After six hours of that rehearsal, I head to the night show, Riptide, and rehearse there for another six hours with the most amazing dance, gymnastics, and musical talent. Not to mention, we have the best lighting designer on the planet. I was just informed that Riptide had mostly 100% approval ratings by the audiences and has been submitted for an IAAPA award.

Also since NCAA's, a few of our student-athletes have had surgeries, and all seem to be progressing beautifully. Melissa Chan had major ankle surgery, is feeling great, and is over a month ahead of schedule. Kristina Comforte's shoulder scope and ankle surgery are doing well. She's feeling really good and training again ... yeah! Brittani McCullough is back and is amazing. Janelle Dantzscher had her shoulder scoped but should be fine for season. And Ariana Berlin is actually a few months ahead of her recovery schedule. That girl has got bionic bones. She had the rod removed from her right leg in May. What should have been an one-and-a-half hour surgery ended up taking five hours, and the density of her bone ruined three surgical instruments in the process. She was cleared this last week to train per pain tolerance.

The rest of the team is doing well, and our freshmen are healthy and going crazy waiting for September 6th to roll around so they can finally report as true Bruins. It's been fun having Jim Foody back. He's every bit as passionate about UCLA and our team as Chris and I are. Plus, Marshall will be remaining with us as our volunteer coach until a long-term gig takes him out of L.A. Our hope is that he'll land a 'long-term gig' that keeps him in L.A. as he brings so much to our program.

I just got back from about five weeks on the road recruiting. It was long but rewarding. Get this: I finished my travels in San Jose at the USA Championships. I checked into my hotel room at the Fairmont, and as I was setting my laptop on the desk, I looked up and saw one of my dad's lithographs on the wall. It was a bit surreal. I felt like I had been beamed back home for an instant, as we have the same piece of artwork in our house. I guess the Fairmont bought 400 of his lithos a while back. (That was a fun little experience to have on a recruiting trip.)

All in all, things are going really well for us. Our team is on the mend and beyond excited to see what they can accomplish with all of them healthy. Recruiting is going strong, our coaching staff is pumped up for pre-season to start, Chris' gym is doing really well, and our Southern California weather is absolutely gorgeous. La vie est belle!

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