On the East Coast Tourney

Shan and I had fun over the holiday weekend working for the PSU Women's Volleyball Booster Club at the East Coast Championship tournament. We personally sold more than $1400 worth of PSU vball gear, and the rumor is that the Club brought in ~$20k. That money goes, for example, to an endowed scholarship for the team and to support their travel to international tournaments. Being in the booster club is fun (thanks, Frank!), and it looks like we're headed for expanded roles, since we've been among the dozen or so most active volunteers out of the ~300 total members.

There were definitely some interesting moments. We heard some gossip about impending changes to the team's coaching staff (here is the official press release about the sad news that Mike Schall is leaving us). Shan and I are both sad to see Mike go, but I'm hoping that some of the rumors about other changes turn out to be true. Let's just say one of my volleyball role models may wind up back at Penn State.

Talked to one of the coaches from Lion's Pride and heard some interesting tidbits about local volleyball politics. Actually, though, the point of that conversation that sticks with me the most was our discussion of the PSU Men's team. Scott tells me that Matt Proper can touch 11'11" when he jumps. Mike always points out to me that I tend to talk too much about my vertical, but the only reason it comes up in conversation is because it is the only thing that allows me to play volleyball at a reasonably competitive level. When you're 5'6", you're not usually the first one picked when we are dividing up for teams in a game that requires height. Well, I was pretty happy when we measured verticals at the YMCA one night and I found I could touch 9'6". That means if I ever found myself on the opposite side of the net from Proper, he'd only have a 2'5" advantage when trying to hit over my block. :)

(For those of you of European descent, or who have been astronomers so long that you don't remember English units, the values from the previous paragraph are 3.63, 1.68, 2.90, and 0.74 meters, respectively).

It was great fun talking to the players (mostly in the age range 12-18, I think), the parents, and the siblings who came to PSU from Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Toronto, Virginia, Maryland, and all over PA. With some luck, most of them will wind up playing their way into a scholarship so they won't be saddled with $34k of student loan debt like I was.

Lastly, I'm going to chicken out a bit. There was one incident that really annoyed me this weekend. I don't want to get dooced, so I will heed her advice and won't give too many details. Given that advice, all I will say is that complaints were lodged about the Booster Club for selling t-shirts to support one of the university's athletics teams. The complaint came from someone who should know better than to complain about volunteers giving 10 hours of their time on a holiday weekend to raise money for his "corporation".


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