Vener's Views VII

Aug. 6, 2009

Hello everyone. I am finally finished with summer school with the conclusion of the long perilous adventure on Friday. We took our final on that day and then parted ways. I think I learned a decent amount of Romanian, as well as some historical facts, and will miss it to some degree. 'Pa! Pa! la Romania'

Today I found out I received an A in the class. That means all the five hour days every day for six weeks paid off. I am done with my foreign language requirement now and have just nine more classes until I have earned my BA from UCLA.

Also on Friday, we had our final off-season workout. We tested our lower body strength and it was a sweet moment to know we have finally concluded the off-season training and are approaching the season with the opening of camp. So, this week has the players' down week before camp to get our legs back and to have some time to ourselves.

But for most, there is no time for rest and pleasure quite yet. I still put in major hours to perfect my craft and study myself going into camp. I have worked out every day from Saturday through today from various surfaces, drills and occasions to simulate game play. I now have three days to rest up. I think I have improved so much fundamentally that I am excited to see how it transfers during camp. Aaron Hester has been working with me and trying to gain the knowledge necessary to be successful in his first year. He has been asking questions and just learning the position, so I am definitely excited to see him in action again!

As for personal matters, I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend Sina'e this past week - more than I usually get a chance to. First, we went to see the movie 'Orphan,' which was a fairly good movie, with a shocking twist at the end. I was not expecting it, but you have to go see it for yourselves.

On Tuesday night, I went to see her at her house for some chill time. We played pool and some dominoes. I also played her younger brother in pool. We were pretty even, but I lost to Sina'e in pool. She just became a pro at the end and I couldn't touch her. But the dominoes, you already know what's up. Lol.

Thursday was a long day with us. We went to the beach for a few hours and got to play 1-on-1 beach volleyball in very hot sand and also try weggie boarding. I don't know if I spelled that right, but it sounds like it. I kept falling off the board and not moving, but she just glided through the water like an angelic presence! It was pretty to see - at least the times my face wasn't tipped over in the water and I was fighting for survival. But the beach was very fun. Sina'e saw me work out, which was interesting for her, and then we finished off the day just chilling at my apartment. So it was good time, especially since we will barely see each other during camp.

Also Wednesday, I ran into my friend Mark Awanyai and his family. I helped him pick out some clothes for a job he earned to get some pharmacy experience and we talked about our lives and what direction we are trying to go. The surprise of that visit was seeing a long-time coach and friend, Mr. Derrick Bass. For this past couple of years, he has lived right next door to my good friend and I didn't know. Coach Bass is a Long Beach poly track coach, but was Terrence Austin's coach growing up for high jump and other events in track. This is when Terrence and I were around 11 years old and did an event called the multi-events (pentathlon) which consisted of 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 1500 meters, and long jump. Coach Bass used to help me out of the goodness of his heart, even though he wasn't my coach. He is actually a former UCLA track athlete and is a very big fan of all UCLA sports! So we reminisced about the old times when Terrence and I were competing and trying to outduel each other. Terrence was in a league of his own, but that competition helped mold me into the competitor I am today. So it was a great treat to see and talk to Coach Bass.

The rest of my time this week was dedicated to my family. It was very little time, and I feel bad about that. We have talked about the season and other things rapidly approaching. But, I still have three more days to make it up to them!

Other than that, I am doing ok and just extremely excited to get my helmet back on to start thumping again! Only three more days until I finally strap it up for the last time ever as a UCLA Bruin in a Fall Camp! It is exciting and so surreal at the same time. My four years have flown by so fast, but before the journey's end, I would like to leave a legacy.

That journey will take another step forward on Aug.10th! Stay tuned!

Now on Pac-12 Network
7:30 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder