Freshman guard Kyla Evans has written a weekly blog, talking about her first year as an NCAA Division I basketball player and as a college student. Here are each of Kyla's Blogs for the 2007-08 season in their entirety in reverse chronological order.
March 11, 2008
So this is it: the last one, the grand finale, the final hoorah.
It is basically crazy because I still remember writing about how I thought I would not make it through fall conditioning, and here I am in the spring breathing and fully functional. The crazy part about all of it is that I don't even feel like the same person that I was then. These past seven months have been the absolute craziest and hardest months of my life. Our season was so difficult at times with the losing and just the overall turbulence of it all. There were times when I just cried because all I wanted to do was go home. There were times when I wanted to take my crutches and just beat someone. But here I am now, better and stronger because of all of it. I have gotten my heart broken and my foot almost broken. I have had strep throat and two sinus infections. I have failed a conditioning test and gotten myself kicked out of practice. But once again, here I am. That is the oddly wonderful thing about struggle. People, including myself, are always trying to figure out ways to avoid struggle, to dodge the hard things in life. But really struggle is what gives you the power to grow and the power to change for the better. Someone once told me that every day you change. It is up to you to decide if you are going to change for the better or for the worse. This season I feel like I have taken steps forward. I feel like I have changed so much, and that it has been for the better.
My freshman season is over, and already I am in such anticipation for next season. Although losing sucks, I have found it to be a great motivator. It reminds you of the place you don't want to be and of the feelings you don't want to have. At times, this season broke my spirits. Actually, at times it drowned them in a bucket of murky water with no chance of even coming close to the surface. But I have found that like your liver or a lizard's tail, spirits grow back. Mine have and I believe in next year. I believe in my team and in myself. That wasn't always the case, but like I said, I am just not the same person I was seven months ago.
March 3, 2008
Well, well, well ... I am back in more than one way. I have been out of the blog scene for awhile and I am starting to get back in the flow. However that isn't the only place where I am trying to get my game back. That's right, I am back in action on the court, and it feels sooo good. In the last blog, I wrote how you can only begin to truly appreciate something when you have gone without it. That could not be more true for me and my recent problematic foot situation. On the court I feel like I have a new sense of focus and motivation. I feel like I just want to be out there all the time, running around and going crazy. Unfortunately, sitting out for seven weeks tends to take a toll on one's conditioning status. The positive is that I did do some alternative conditioning while I was out, but I have still found that nothing can replace being out on the court playing. So I am back to the huffing and the puffing that I went through at the beginning of the season. It is just different this time though. I just get through it, because this time I have no doubt that I can.
Life in the classroom is cake. I am going to make a prediction that this is the easiest quarter I will ever have in my college career. My teachers rock though. Hmmm, maybe that is because they are easy. Who knows? Like for example, today I learned how to correctly put a condom on and all about chivalry in the middle ages. Safe sex and honorability: it may be easy, but at least I am learning some solid life lessons.
We have less than a week left of the season. In all honesty, I cannot believe it. There were times during the year that I thought we would never reach this point. Some of those times were because I thought I was going to physically keel over and die, while other times I just didn't know if it would end because the end always seemed so far away. Either way, I have almost made it. It seems so weird. In five days, 25 percent of my college basketball playing career will be over, but ... 75 percent is still left. Ballin!!
February 11, 2008
Emily Dickinson once said in a poem that, "Water is taught by thirst." Basically she was trying to make the point that a person cannot truly appreciate the value and importance of water unless they have been thirsty. This poem was written in the 1800s, but I see a direct connection to my life now. See, prior to this past Saturday it had been awhile since our team had last tasted victory - seven weeks if you want to get technical but the details are not the important thing here. The important thing is that on Saturday Feb. 9, 2008, the Eastern Eagles came away victorious in a heated contest with the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. We won! Now, one victory might seem miniscule in the eyes of other teams or people, but for us it was big. One single solitary win has never felt so good. The win was like water, and it felt so good because we were so freaking thirsty!
It is amazing what a win will do for the team morale. Everyone was smiling and, for the rest of the weekend, no one had to be depressed. It was quite the deal. We may not have the best record in America, but we don't have the worst one, and on that day we won. So basically, it was great.
As if the win wasn't enough, today at practice I got to do something I haven't done in forever again! I got to run. Yep, two legs, moving rapidly, run! Well, I wasn't really moving rapidly. It was more of a jog, but at this point in the game I will take what I can get. I figure that you have to smile before you can laugh right? Not exactly the words of Ms. Dickinson, but hey, I am working on it.
January 28, 2008
Okay, just in case you haven't noticed I would like to point out that there is a lot of snow outside. I just want to warn you because it would be a big shocker if you went outside and had not been pre-warned of this great snow extravaganza. The ample amount of snow brings out some tragedies while highlighting some exciting occasions as well. The delightful things are somewhat obvious. They include heavenly snow angels, turbulent sled rides, and all-around cold white funness. Now in the spirit of not having an all-out pity party, I am just going to throw this out there. I am personally having a hard time getting into the winter wonderland spirit. You see, I am on crutches, my friends, and that tends to put a slight damper on the whole outdoor activity scene. I actually ate it for the first time today, but seeing that there is like one billion millimeters of snow outside, it made for a fluffy and soft landing. There we go, a positive!
The snow also presented my team with a slight hurdle to overcome this weekend. You see, on Friday mid-morning we thought we would be going on a typical trip down to Portland for our game the next day, and then making a brisk return Saturday evening. Well, things did not exactly go down that way. We left PSU after our game and departed the campus at approximately 4:20 p.m. Our final destination for that night due to closed roads was Umatilla, Ore., which is supposed to take about three hours and two minutes to travel. It took us a solid six. So then the next morning we left the hotel at around 10:45 headed to Cheney. That drive is supposed to take two-and-a-half hours. We rolled into Cheney at about 4:45. So there is the mathematical breakdown of our weekend excursion. It included busting some chains, an attempt at watching "I Love Lucy" on the bus TVs, getting our bus stuck in the Perkins parking lot and using up my entire iPod battery. Good times. The thing about it was, in a weird way it was sorta fun, like an adventure or something. When we first got to the inn in Umatilla, Coach Webb offered up his trail mix, because that is all there was to eat. I felt like we were trying to survive out in the woods or something, even though we did sleep at the inn. So in ways, it kind of was the trip from hell, but to be positive it was a good little bonding experience I suppose. So we can thank the snow for our team being that much closer. The funniest thing about all of this though is that more snow is supposed to come and we have an even longer trip to Montana to leave for on Wednesday. Round two, here we come!
January 21, 2008
Traditionally, being a basketball player I look up to people like D-Wade, Steve Nash and Manu Ginobli. Guys like that have crazy skills and so it only would seem natural for a fellow baller like me to look up to them. Well, these days things have changed a bit. For the next 4-6 weeks it is the skills of people like Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis (minus the performance-enhancing drugs) on the bike, and Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe in the pool that I will be trying to imitate. You may be wondering why it is that I would want to have the skills of accomplished swimmers and bicyclists. Well, the answer is that I have a stress reaction, and so for the next while I am the master of alternative workouts. No, I am not breaking out in hives because I am stressing out excessively like the title stress reaction may imply. A stress reaction is like the start of a stress fracture basically. They said I have a weak spot in the second metatarsal in my left foot and continued "stress" would cause it to actually fracture. In simple terms: bone=weak=Kyla=can't play=sucks!!! So I am sidelined.
It is rough. I am really finding out that I pretty much take every single thing in my life for granted. I have been on crutches for a little over a week now, and it is no good. Before I would dance jovially, skip through the streets of Cheney with no thoughts of what it would be like to be handicapped. Thank goodness it isn't a permanent situation. There are a few positives though. I have had the opportunity to step, ok crutch, back and watch my team. I have found that you just don't pick up on a lot of things when you are out there playing. So when I get back this season, and I am getting back this season, I feel like I will be better and smarter.
Another positive would have to be that I can ride the motorized scooters at Wal-Mart because I do actually have a legitimate injury. It's not like I go to Wal-Mart every day, but I must admit I am getting pretty awesome at maneuvering those bad boys through the aisle of random merchandise. I am flipping U-turns like nobody's business and reversing around corners until the cows come home. I don't exactly feel like the queen of cool but it sure beats crutching through the store. It is Super Wal-Mart - those things have got some serious square footage. Ok, so I am realizing that the last one-third of my blog has been about Wal-Mart and that is tragically lame, so I am going to spare you all and quit typing. Next week, maybe I will give you the low-down on Target or maybe even Best Buy? I bet you cannot wait!
January 7, 2008
Sometimes life is tough. Things do not always go according to plan and it sucks. So in light of this unfortunate fact about life I am going to dedicate this blog to everyone out there who is having a bad year, a bad few months, a bad season, a bad week or even just a bad day. This is for you, courtesy of www.coolfunnyjokes.com. Sit back, smile and enjoy. J
5 Completely Random, Funny Jokes:
- Two golden-agers were discussing their husbands over tea.
"I do wish that my Elmer would stop biting his nails. He makes me terribly nervous."
"My Billy used to do the same thing," the older woman replied. "But I broke him of the habit."
"I hid his teeth."
- A passenger in a taxi tapped the driver on the shoulder to ask him something. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large plate glass window. For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, then the driver said, "Please, don't ever do that again. You scared the daylights out of me."
The passenger, who was also frightened, apologized and said he didn't realize that a tap on the shoulder could frighten him so much, to which the driver replied, "I'm sorry, it's really not your fault at all. Today is my first day driving a cab, I have been driving a hearse for the last 25 years."
- There once was this blonde riding a horse. After a while it began to speed up. She was hanging on by the tail and cut her forehead open. After a long struggle, she was able to climb back onto the horse. She then fell off the side and got her foot caught. The horse was now dragging her. She finally got back on the horse with a broken ankle, bruises all over, and she was bleeding from three different spots. Finally, the horse came to a complete stop. Thank goodness that the manager of the Kmart came out and shut the machine off.
- How does Michael Jackson pick his nose?
From a catalogue.
- On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students, pointing out some of the rules: "The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time."
He continued, "Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will cost you a fine of $180. Are there any questions?"
At this point, a male student in the crowd inquired: "How much for a season pass?"
Jan. 1, 2008
So it has been awhile since I have taken a swing at the whole blog thing. I had a nice little Christmas Vay-cay from it you might say. Well, I am back and ready to go.
Christmas break was a little odd this year. Odd in a good way though. First of all, I took the clan of Serbs home with me primarily because they are super cool but also because I believe that it is essentially a crime against humanity to knowingly leave people alone for the holiday season! So they rolled with me, and it turned out to be pretty dang great.
For one, not only did my parents love them but so did the rest of the Brewster community. I half expected a statue to be erected in their honor. We snowmobiled, played Rock Band for like six hours and just hung out with my family and all of my friends.
Okay so I have a really funny story! A few hours after we got to my house we were all just chillin in the kitchen/living room having a grand ole time. Petar went over to the sink to wash his hands or something and glanced to his right and spotted a small basket that had two baggies of oregano in it. Now if you have ever seen oregano then you might know that it looks very similar to marijuana. So he walked up to me and says, "Oh my gosh, is that weed over there?" Now I knew my parents had been living it up since their second and final kid left the house, but I had no idea that they had taken up recreational drug use! So I went over to the basket to check it out for myself and I realized that it was only herbs, not weed. I assured the Serbs that we would not be spending our vacation smoking up some Christmas weed. And then, the whole family laughed for about 10 minutes about the whole situation. It was so funny.
As you can see, my Christmas was pretty crazy, but so much fun. It was really cool because I felt like I had it all for Christmas. I got to be with my best friends from college, my best friends from home and my family all at the same time. It was really incredible. So incredible that I cried like a baby on the evening of the 26th because it was over. But then I got over it and now I am back in the swing of things here in Cheney!
December 10, 2007
The holiday season is here folks, and Kyla is stoked! This Christmas is going to be different in so many ways. First of all, I am only going to be home for a few days. When I first realized that being a college basketball player meant that my holiday break was only going to mean being able to be home for a couple days I was bummed. I felt like I was going to be missing out on all of the fun things going on at home with my old friends. Now though, I am totally fine with it being so short. Cheney is pretty much my new home now, and I know that I would miss it a lot if I were at my real home for a long time.
One of the main things that I knew I was going to miss a ton when I go home for Christmas is my Serbian family (Tatjana Sparavalo, Milan Stanojevic and Petar Milasinovic). They are my best friends. Sooo ... I decided to invite them to come home with me this holiday season. Now the more I think about it the more excited I get! It is going to be awesome. My parents are totally pumped about it too. I talked to my mom today on the phone and she already has stockings for the three of them.
Becoming so close with the three of them has been one of the greatest things for me. They are my family here. We pretty much do everything together. We eat our meals together, go shopping together and hang out every single night in the dorms together. It never gets old though. We always have things to laugh and joke about. If for some reason nothing is funny on a particular night, then we talk about all the dumb and funny things that happened the night before. It is the greatest. When I think about college, I think about them. Today Coach Webb asked me what I did without them for the first 18 years of my life, and I honestly don't know how I made it. Okay, maybe it is not that extreme, but they do seriously rock.
December 2, 2007
In all honesty this is probably the hardest blog to write thus far. I feel like I have so much to say, but at the same time nothing seems to come into my head to write. I am so down right now. The team is on a six-game losing streak and it is rough. It kills me because I know that we aren't losers. We aren't people who back down and accept losing. Yet, here we are 1-6 on the season. But instead of being a total Debbie Downer and talking about how much my life sucks right now, I am going to pull a 180 on you all. I am going to write about something totally different, because everyone knows that over focusing on bad things only makes them super bad (a hilarious movie by the way). I am going to talk about the perks of being a college athlete. So here it goes.
Top Four Off-the-Court Reasons Why Being a College Athlete Rocks My Socks Off:
4. I have two words: Rosa's Pizza Baby! Okay that was three, but the baby at the end is a must. After every home game there are six boxes of out-of-this-world scrumptious, greasy, totally unhealthy pizza waiting to be munched by the team. It is pretty much amazing.
3. Okay people, can I get an Amen to the fact that laundry is one of the worst chores ever??!! So when I came here I was not looking forward to having to wash all of my clothes. I knew there was going to be a ton because we would be working out so much. Then I found out that our practice and game clothes are washed for us. To me, that is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
2. I obviously knew coming into this whole deal that I was going to get hooked up with some pretty nice gear. Honestly though, I didn't realize that it was going to be so much. We are talking multiple pairs of shoes, sweats, jackets, basically the works. It is sweet. I feel like I have definitely reached baller status when I am rolling around campus in my new digs. You may not always have a great game, but in the end the gear will at least make you look like good.
1. The top off-the-court reason why being a college athlete is so awesome is that I have a family here. I know that sounds corny, but it is the truth. My teammates are my family over here, and I could not ask for more. I struggled with a lot of things this fall but I never doubted that my team would be there to back me up and give me a hand when I needed one. This team is tight. We get along so well, and it is so much fun. I feel so lucky to be a part of something like this because I know it isn't like this at every school.
November 26, 2007
I always knew the first road trip of my college basketball career would be something that I wouldn't and probably couldn't ever forget. Well, I was right. It was unforgettable. For starters, the trip was to Hawaii (actually pronounced Huh-Vie-EE in the native tongue) which is an unforgettable place on its own. We went down there to play two games as a part of the Oahu Classic, but actually came back having had an incredible experience that was about a lot more than basketball.
We lost both of our games down there which tended to put a damper on the whole "fun" aspect of our island excursion. The team was resilient though and allowed the tropical sunshine to brighten our spirits. Okay, so maybe it was the sunshine, beautiful, robust, sun-tanned natives and the presence of the Cheesecake Factory a block and a half away. That is neither here nor there though. I know that last sentence was completely unnecessary, but I have wanted to say neither here nor there in one of my blogs for awhile now. Anyways, while we were down there we managed to do quite a lot of activities besides play games and practice. We snorkeled, visited the Polynesian Cultural Center, went to a luau, went to Pearl Harbor and went shopping of course.
There is one particular incident though that I want to tell you about because I promised my teammates I would. It was a randomly ludicrous situation, but also very funny in some ways, not that funny in others. It was Sunday morning and we had just visited Pearl Harbor. We got back on our bus and began listening to our "cousin" (bus driver/tour guide) chat away like there was no tomorrow. FYI - apparently Hawaiians commonly refer to one another as cousin, brother, sister, family, etc. We figured he was just going to take us straight back to our hotel and from there we could hit the beach. Boy, were we in for a treat. It actually ended up being a two-hour tour of bloody Honolulu. It was not literally bloody, I just used that word for emphasis. In some ways it could have been informative, but unfortunately our cousin spoke with such a heavy accent you could honestly only make out every fourth word that he said. It was charmingly annoying. At first I was like, ok he is just going to take us a few places and then this will all be over. Well one cemetery, 1500 houses, 12 motels and one Wal-Mart later we only had one more hour to go! He talked about everything including: fully loaded Honda Accords, Spam and rice and plasma TVs. Finally Jess, Baker, Syd and I decided to control our natural tendencies to get really pissed off and instead laugh and make it a grand ole time in the back of the Polynesian Tour Bus. In the end, I had a sore stomach from laughing and a camera full of hilarious pictures, including one of a pleasantly plump Hawaiian lad with no teeth. It was awesome.
Obviously, the trip would have been better if we would have won our games. But in ways I felt like we got better. It is hard to be positive when you lose but ultimately that is just what you have to do. You have to learn from it and then forget it. Of course, Hawaii always tends to lend a giant helping hand to that cause.
November 12, 2007
Question: What does winning, strep throat and a fire extinguisher have in common?
Answer: My week.
So yea, basically the last seven days of my life have been total insanity. Wednesday we had our last exhibition game before the season starts. We managed to beat Central in the one of the ugliest most turnover ridden games in history. Maybe not in history, but it was not pretty people. Then that night my throat decided to become infected with strepness. I woke up on Thursday and pretty much couldn't swallow. It sucked. So I had to go to the Cheney Medical Center to get some meds and sit out of practice. Sitting out of practice could quite possibly be one of my least favorite things ever! You just have to sit there. I felt like I had Attention Deficit Disorder or some other serious tropical disease. It was Lame, with a capital L.
By the time Friday rolled along, I was still feeling like a train wreck. So I figured I would hop in bed early, ya know, catch some extra z's. Well that would have been possible if it hadn't have been for a few hell-raising individuals in Pearce Hall. They decided it would be a real knee slapper of an idea to enter in the women's bathroom on my floor and douse the thing with the bloody fire extinguisher. Real smooth gentlemen, real smooth. It also just so happens that my teammate, Tatjana Sparavalo, was in the shower at the time. This made her a key witness to the crime. So that whole ordeal triggered a fire alarm. The police came, and T (Tatjana) had to give them a statement about what she heard and the whole bit. Like I said, so much for the early, relaxing night.
And then there was Sunday: The day of my dreams. It was my first real college basketball game. I just wanted to run out on the streets of Cheney and exclaim my excitedness. Well, not literally, but it was a super thrilling moment. I mean, first real college game. I am going to remember that for the rest of my life. We ended up winning and it was pretty super. We didn't play to our full potential, but we had our moments of brilliance I like to say. I couldn't stop smiling the rest of the day. It was just awesome.
November 4, 2007
Right now I am listening to the Backstreet Boys on my iTunes (I am a big fan of 90's pop music), wondering how it is that I go from having nothing to write about one week to thinking that I will never be able to fit everything in this week. So here it goes. Okay to start things off, I want to say that I learned a very valuable lesson this week. Sometimes in life when something happens to you and it seems negative, it usually is. No, just kidding. On Wednesday, to put it in simple and nice terms, I was asked to make an early exit from the practice arena. This was because I did not channel the frustration I was feeling into a constructive outlet. Instead I yelled and chucked my water bottle. When this first happened to me, I thought it was the worst thing in history. I couldn't believe that I got kicked out of practice. Coaches always loved me before. What was happening? Luckily, there was a positive twist. If I would not have been given the boot on that Wednesday afternoon I would not have changed my behavior, and I would still be letting my frustration get the best of me.
You see, I have a hard time letting go of mistakes that I make, and I make a lot of them. So if you take the frustration of every mistake made in a three-hour practice and you stack them up like a sandwich, that sandwich becomes very big - so big that you can't eat it. That was like me. I didn't literally have a sandwich, but I'm trying to make a comparison. The too-big-to-handle sandwich is like my frustration. It was so great that I couldn't deal with it, and thus I threw my water bottle. So the coaches taught me a four-step program to channel my frustration. When I make a mistake, I first need to recognize the mistake. Then admit I made the mistake. Third, I must learn from the mistake, and lastly I must forget it. Using this process has allowed me to not have the frustration build up and in turn have happier practices.
So after the practice drama was resolved, I had to focus on our first game. Can I just say that when I burst through that giant blow up tunnel and dashed around the court in warm-ups I felt really cool. I know it's Reese Court, not the Staples Center, and it was only an exhibition game, but I didn't care. I was living a dream and it was chill producing. In the end the game kind of sucked because we lost and didn't play to our full potential, but it was still just so amazing. Not the loss of course, but the fact that I just played my first college basketball game. I have been dreaming about playing college basketball since like the third grade, and I realized that dream Friday night. It was honestly amazing.
So then Sunday rolled around and it was my birthday! I am officially nineteen, which really is an insignificant age if you are in America but oh well. I went to practice and then just ate dinner with my teammates and friends and hung out. It was a good day. I got this nifty hook up for my iPod that goes in your shoe for when you are running. I don't really like running that much (see blogs three and four for details), but I definitely will be going on some brisk jogs in the coming months so I can utilize my new gadget.
So pretty much it was an insane week. So much happened - I feel like I got older (I actually did), got smarter and began accomplishing a lifelong dream. Pretty good week, I'd say.
October 29, 2007
A is for ambidextrous, because I am realizing that it would be much easier to be a guard if I were.
B is for Baldy's, the place I eat nearly every meal. (Teriyaki chicken and rice is money)
C is for conditioning. Somehow I have managed to not keel over and die.....yet.
D is for dorms; small but social!!
E is for eagle, our mascot AND national bird!
F is for faith, because I have found that you just have to have that in yourself.
G is for grace; a quality that I frequently possess on the basketball court ... not.
H is for homework. Let me tell you it cramps the social scene big time.
I is for independence. WOO-HOO!
J is for jammin'. Crank Dat Kyla has never looked better.
K is for killin', a new vocabulary word of mine. Contrary to one's obvious notion it actually means you did well.
L is for legs, because after the end of almost every day, I officially can't move mine.
M is for muscle, that which we are trying to build every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the weight room.
N is for new. Because, well everything is new!
O is for out of my comfort zone, which is basically where I am 24/7.
P is for Pearce Hall. Representin' the best of the twin towers!
Q is for quail. Random, I know, but I am a quail activist. They mate for life, so please brake for them!
R is for Rosa's Pizza. Tuesdays they have a special on cheese bread. Be there or be square people.
S is for Serbians - my three new best friends.
T is for teammates. Mine are the coolest ones in the history of cool teammates!!
U is for underwear. Unfortunately, the lack of it is the primary reason why I ever have to do laundry.
V is for victory. Victory=winning. Winning=happy!
W is for weight. The battle versus the freshman 15 is on!
X is for x-tremely x-cited. Incorrectly spelled, but my feelings x-actly about Friday's game!
Y is for Yahtzee; a nightly ritual in the dorms.
Z is for Zoo-Phonics, because I believe that my reading assignments would be very tricky without this fundamental academic tool.
October 21, 2007
I'm not gonna lie, I don't have a whole heck of a lot to write about this week. You know, it came and it went. I had class and that was, well, class. I basically fight to stay awake and then do my homework so that I can hopefully get out of study hall! (Freshmen have to do study hall for four hours a week until we can prove our skills in the classroom) We had practice and that was super. Super as in long, tiring and stressful. I got chewed out here and there, but I know I got better so it's alright with me. We lifted and once again that was super (please apply previously stated definition of super). Then at night, after doing my studies of course, I make my best attempt at having a social life. I could easily go to bed at eight o'clock every night due to the severity of my work-out related exhaustion but I am choosing to not do that. Instead I play Yahtzee with the Serbians and waste my life away on various networking websites (MySpace/Facebook).
Okay, so that was my typical day basically. I do eat and go to the bathroom but I figured I would leave those parts out. Anyways, in this edition of Kyla's Blog I am going to write about something that has dawned on me since I have been at college. The other night I was going to dinner with the coaches and a recruit when Coach Webb asked me what my favorite part of college is so far. I took a second to answer, but ultimately I decided on the answer of, the people. As an athlete when you are trying to decide on a college, there are so many factors that have a say in your decision. The location, the niceness (don't know if that's a word) of the campus and I could go on and on and on and on, but you get the point. In all honestly, I have never regarded Eastern as a "cool" college. Cheney is not a booming metropolis with a plethora of white sandy beaches. Rather it's an ordinary college town which may not always be what an 18-year-old would regard as cool. But what I have found is that it doesn't even matter. What really matters is the basketball coach that is like your second mom and your teammates that love watching Ellen stand-up comedy as much as you do. That is what matters. No, I am not writing a promotional ad for Eagle women's basketball, but I am telling you how it really is for me. I could not ask for anything more than I am getting here at Eastern. (Get your tissues out for this next line people) I feel like the luckiest person ever because my coaches and my teammates are the cooler than cool. If cool was a cheese pizza, they would have extra cheese. I know that's really cheesy (in more ways than one) but it is in all honestly the truth.
October 14, 2007
In one of my classes this quarter I have to write a paper on boundaries. In that paper, I have to analyze the boundaries surpassed in specific texts, but that's not the point. The point is that it fits perfect with my life right now. This last week has been incredible. It has been all about me surpassing boundaries. It has been about me doing things that I never thought I could do. It has been about meeting new people, doing new things and finally finding a sense of true happiness in my new home.
This is going to sound completely random, but for the rest of my life I honestly think that every time I hear the words, "Camp Reed," I will shudder in complete and total fear. For one, you are probably thinking, what in the world is Camp Reed? And two, you are probably thinking that I am an idiot because it's not like you actually see people walking down the street chanting, "Camp Reed, Camp Reed." But if for some reason they did, it would scare me. The reason is that on Tuesday we had to do a ropes course. If you don't know what a ropes course is then Google it. Anyways, I am very afraid of heights, so the ropes course was no walk in the park to be totally cliché. We had to climb up this tree, walk across this log, climb up another tree a little more, strap ourselves on to a cable, scoot off this platform and whiz through the air attached to a cable. It was insane. We were like 200 feet in the air, traveling at a good 70 miles an hour. Okay, so we were only up like 45 feet in the air and not traveling nearly that fast, but it was still insane! I'm going to admit something right now. It's kind of embarrassing, but if you are a regular reader then you know that the embarrassment factor rarely holds me back. I was bawling the entire time. We are talking like 10 minutes before I even started climbing. It sounds pathetic, but like I said earlier it was a huge mental boundary that I had to literally climb over. When I got done I had this crazy mix of emotions. For one, I was pissed at my coaches for jeopardizing my life and on top of that deciding to take pictures of every step of my mid-air emotional episode. No, I wasn't really that pissed, because I didn't die and the pictures are actually really funny. I mean really, really funny. Mostly though, I felt like I had just achieved something; like I was strong. It was so cool.
By the time Friday rolled around I had recovered from my recent trauma at Camp Reed and was ready for the start of practice. I was, of course, unbelievably nervous. It wasn't too bad though. There were times where I was definitely a spaz, but that's not unusual for me. Some of the drills were a little confusing, and of course there are approximately 2.5 million things that I need to get better at. But that's okay. You see, I am trying this new thing, where I am really trying to be positive with myself. Sounds crazy, but it is not always easy to do. It is super easy to think about the crappy closeout(s) you made, or the time(s) you were not low enough on defense, or how you are the slowest person in Eastern Washington women's basketball history when doing the drill walk the line. The hard thing to do is to remember that one time you were in the right spot on defense, or when you finally drove the ball baseline and scored. I am really trying to remember all the things I need to improve on, but also give myself props sometimes so that I don't hit rock stinkin' bottom in the self esteem department.
Alright, so if you have read my blogs you might think that you know a little something about me. Well I bet you didn't know that I know a few Serbian dance moves. Yep, that's right folks, Kyla Evans can bust a few moves-Serbian style. Last night in the dorms, Petar, Milan (both from the guys' basketball team),Tatjana and I were absolutely rocking out to some sweet Serbian jams. It was seriously the most fun I have had in a long, long time. It's amazing what happens when you open up and put yourself out there a little bit. You end up climbing trees one day, and getting your groove thing on with three Europeans the next!
October 7, 2007
Last week sucked. I don't know if I am supposed to use that word, but it did. Everyone kept telling me that it would get better and that things would be okay. I didn't really believe them because in my mind I just didn't see how it would. Well I was wrong. By the end of the week my life had basically made a 180 degree turn around.
I'm not going to lie though. At the beginning of the week I had a bit of an emotional meltdown. I thought that maybe college just wasn't for me. I'm not tough enough. I just want to go home- that sort of thing. If you have ever been to college, then you probably know the drill. My mother proceeded to tell me that I was college material, I was tough enough, and that quitting and coming home was not exactly a feasible option for me. I knew all along that it wasn't an option and that I really didn't want to go home. I guess I was just having a moment of weakness. Okay, maybe it was a half an hour long moment. That's trivial though. Moving on ... after my mom injected me (not literally) with a little confidence, I decided I needed a serious attitude adjustment. So I had a tough week. I didn't pass the basketball mile, and a few other things went not according to plan, at least not according to my plan. But in thinking about it, I realized that it could be so much worse. I mean I could have been attacked by a great white shark, hit by a rapid moving bicycle or have choked on my teriyaki chicken from the PUB, among other things. I realized that I needed to suck it up, step it up and pass that dang test.
On Tuesday afternoon I passed! It is hard to describe the sense of relief that I felt when I finished. My teammates helped me out so much by encouraging me and it was just an awesome experience. It sounds corny to call it an experience, but for me it really was. I had to overcome so much mental struggle, and I did. Everyone knew that I could do it. And I felt like I went out there and finally proved to myself that I really could.
From there the week rolled on as smooth as smooth could be. I decided to go home over the weekend, because it was our last one off until Christmas. I had a great time with my family. I went to my nephew's soccer games, and that was so fun. One of my nephews, Colt, who is only 6, made a diving save as goalie and I think I was screaming louder than anyone at the game. It was great. My mom and I got facials and pedicures, and sleeping in my own bed was unbelievably terrific. Overall it was just an incredible and relaxing weekend.
I was telling my parents that writing this blog is like being on a reality TV show. (Except on a way smaller scale) I feel like every week I am in the diary or confession room telling you about my latest drama. I just so happen to love reality TV though, so this whole thing is kind of fun. Well folks, the conditioning test saga is over, but tune in next week because we have our first practice of the season! J
September 30, 2007
On Wednesday night one of my teammates text messaged me a quote. I don't know who it was by, but this is what it said, "To me it's the bad moments that make a person. You're going to fall. It's how you get up that defines you." On Wednesday afternoon at about 4:30, I fell. That particular afternoon was when our conditioning test took place. Everyone on the team had a choice. We could either do the running test or the stair stepper test. Half chose the running and half chose the stairs. I chose to do what is called the Basketball Mile - the running one. I actually calculated it out and really it is about 1.7 miles in all, but that's beside the point. The real point is that I did not pass the Basketball Mile test. In fact I was the only person on the team to not pass either the running or the stair test.
Some people might just be able to shrug it off. Say no big deal, and move on with things. I mean, if we don't pass we get another chance. But for me, that didn't matter. What mattered was that I had a challenge set before me, and I failed. For about the first 24 hours after the test, I was unable to see anything but my failure. I worried about every aspect of it. I had let down my teammates, my coaches and myself. Then I started to think about the situation. I started to realize that I was the only one that hadn't gotten over it. Actually I was the only one who ever had anything to get over in the first place.
Throughout the whole test I had everyone behind me. All of my teammates and coaches were right there pulling for me. And even though I didn't succeed, that didn't matter. They weren't going anywhere. They knew I had given everything that I could. I came up short, but they still didn't lose faith in me. I was the only person that had lost faith in me. I think almost every girl on the team came up to me after the test and told me that it was okay, I would get it next time. Both of my coaches texted me that night, and the next day when I went to meet with them, they greeted me with a smile and nothing but encouraging words.
This week I learned the true meaning of a team. When it comes down to it, it really has little to do with basketball. It has to do with people, and people fall. Everyone is going to fail at some point. This week it was my turn. I failed. But because of the support of my teammates and coaches I was able to get up and define myself in a more positive way. That's not something you find everywhere you go. It is something, though, that I have found here. Thanks guys.
September 23, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, Kyla Evans has completed her first week of conditioning and workouts with the coaches. At times I thought that due to sheer exhaustion my young life was coming to a tragic close. Well, maybe it wasn't that extreme, but let me tell you, it was tough.
Monday was one for the record books, folks. Prior to this tumultuous day, the coaches hadn't been able to watch us work out or do anything really. So when they were finally there to watch us, let's just say that I was a bit of a train wreck in the nerves department. Things started off with a half hour skill work session where I quickly learned that dribbling with two balls is, not surprisingly, way harder than dribbling with one. Despite my initial discouragement, I was able to get through it with a positive attitude. Then came conditioning. There are really no words that are equipped to describe this hour long rendezvous through the dark valleys of hell. It was just very, very tiring.
It was a lovely Wednesday afternoon, 70 degrees, slight breeze. This is the day that I realized that Coach Schuller does have a heart. (I'm just kidding. I knew she had a heart all along. For one, she's alive and I'm pretty sure that you have to have a heart to live, and for two she's a really caring coach.) The reason for that really bad joke was that she let us out of conditioning early so the other freshmen and I could move into the dorms! It was so great to get my stuff moved in and finally settle into my own space. I love decorating and all that jazz, so I was in heaven organizing and setting up all of my knickknacks and gadgetry.
Friday night my parents came over to Cheney to drop off a few more things for my room. It was great, because on Saturday morning they got to watch the first scrimmage that I was able to participate in since I have been over here. My wrist has been absolutely killing me since then, but it was nice to finally be able to play! I miss my family a lot, so it was a relief to be able to spend some time with my parents.
I am kind of catching on to a concept I think. Basically everything that I do for the first time in regards to college is going to be hard. From the first day of conditioning to trying to figure out where to put my dang T.V. in my dorm room. Soon enough though, things do get easier. You realize that the conditioning really isn't going to send you six feet under and that your T.V unexpectedly looks great in the corner by your bulletin board.
September 16, 2007
It's Sunday night, and I have officially been through my first week as an Eastern Eagle. It has been tough, tiring, fun and exciting. I have experienced one crazy range of highs and lows. There were times when I was biting my lip trying not to cry and other times when I was laughing so hard that it hurt.
The first few days were really hard for me. I was really sad after leaving my family and boyfriend, but I had to refocus myself and get through my daily regimen of workouts (because of NCAA regulations the coaching staff cannot work with us, so the team gets together on its own to work out). They were so hard. I thought I was in pretty good shape coming in, but after the first couple workouts I really began to doubt myself. At the start of school our whole team has to pass three individual fitness tests that are a real challenge. I started to wonder how I was ever going to be able to pass them. I quickly learned, though, that doubting myself was a big mistake. I talked to my mom and dad and my boyfriend, Chase, a lot about my struggles and lack of confidence. They all told me that I had to maintain a positive attitude and believe that I could do anything that I set my mind to. So I began to redirect my doubts and anxiety about the upcoming tests. Now I am putting all of my energy into preparing for these tests, because I know that proper preparation and a positive outlook will get me where I want to go. This whole situation also helped me to understand just how vital my family and friends are to me. Without their encouragement and positive reinforcement, who knows what kind of mindset I would have. I was really down and they all helped to pick me back up.
This entire week the team has been all about getting ready for those fitness tests, so once the weekend rolled around we all definitely wanted to relax a little bit. On Friday night a few of us went over to (Katy) Baker's apartment to hang out and play some games. On game nights, Catch Phrase is a MUST! So we played that along with a few other games and really just had a great time. It felt so good to be able to relax! Having such a good time with my teammates made me feel like I was actually beginning to settle in to my new life. I am beginning to figure out though, that you can never relax for too long. Way too soon, it was time to get up for our 9:30 a.m. conditioning. It wasn't too tough, but still felt like another step in the right direction in order to get ready for the start of the season.
September 10, 2007
I open my eyes knowing that today is a big day in the life of Kyla Evans. So I figure I better get started. I'm scrambling around trying to get everything ready, because I do not want to forget anything. As I am finishing up getting ready, the inevitable is beginning to happen. I hear my dad say, "Hey Kyla, I think your Mom and I are going to go to work." Tears are coming to my eyes and I don't really know what to do. I'm giving my parents hugs and I'm finding that I really don't want to let go. I hear the door shut and their cars pull out of the driveway and I am just thinking about how hard this day already is. Just as my parents are leaving, Chase pulls up to say goodbye. I am already crying because my parents left and I just know that another emotional breakdown is in the works. He is helping me load my car up and the time seems to be going by way too fast. This good-bye is really tough because Chase plays football at Western, so we don't really know when we are going to see each other again. Once again as I am hugging him I am just not wanting to let go.
He is driving away, and I am driving away and once again I have so many mixed feelings. Excited to be heading to Cheney, but so sad to be leaving Brewster.
The drive over is a typical one. I am rocking out to a little Avril Lavigne and am making my best attempt to enjoy the boring scenery. As I pull into the parking lot, I get a little nervous for the conditioning I'm about to do. I have been running so I don't think it will be too tough, at least I hope not.
Well, my legs are dead and I am panting like a camel in the desert, but it wasn't too hard. Now I'm driving over to Jessica (Huntington), Nicole (Scott) and Amy's (Bratvold) house to unload my stuff. The freshmen are staying with them until the dorms open up. We are just hanging out at the house waiting for two o'clock to roll around so we can head down to the campus for our lift. We pull in and I immediately go to talk to coach Robinson about the fact that I can't lift right now. I just had surgery on my wrist, and it is still too sore for a strenuous activity like lifting. I am really excited because he is giving me an alternative workout so I don't have to completely sit out. As that gets over we start to head into the gym to scrimmage. I can't do this either, so basically I am kind of just chilling in agony on the sideline. I absolutely hate sitting out, so I cannot wait until my wrist heals up.
So the workouts are over for the day and now Pipes, Jess and I are just sitting around in the living room watching a little Monday Night Football. But I am really hungry so I think I'm going to go make dinner. I am not even close to being a pro style chef or anything but I think I am going to whip up a nice little chicken and rice dish. Now that dinner is over, Jess and I are heading over to (Katy) Baker's apartment to hang out and watch the latest episode of The Hills. I am having a great time hanging out with my teammates, but I am so exhausted so I head home.
I just got done talking to Chase and am laying on the couch (my bed) thinking about the day. It has been so busy and tiring, but exciting at the same time. Sometimes I still can't believe that I have moved away from home and am living on my own. It is hard to be away from my family but I feel like I am kind of creating a new family with my new teammates and coaches.
September 9, 2007
Hey Everybody! My name is Kyla Evans and I am from Brewster, Washington. It's a really small town that most people have never heard of but it is where I call home. I will be a freshmen this year on the Eastern women's basketball team.
It is really strange waking up one day and realizing that in about 24 hours your life as you have known it for the last 18 years will completely change. Right now I am having that realization. The feelings it is causing are so strange. They are ones that I have definitely never felt before. On one hand I am so excited to get over there, start playing hoops, spending time with my teammates, meeting new people and really just starting this next chapter of my life. At the same time though, I am nervous and scared and sad. Nervous and scared because on the court I will be competing at a level that I have never competed at before, and at the same time trying to figure out life on my own. The sadness comes from having to leave the people that I love and the comfort of home. My family is one of the most important things to me in the world, so I know that having to say goodbye to them is going to be so hard.
So because it is my last day, I want to have some fun. First though, I have to finish packing. (A.K.A. Not Any Fun) We're talking laundry, organizing, cleaning, folding - the whole nine yards. I have about a million storage tubs of various items that I swear I "just can't live without." So I'm kind of also realizing that I have way too much stuff and that my roommate, Julie (Pipes), is probably going to get extremely annoyed by the constant overflow of my belongings in our 17-by-9 foot room. Basically I'm bringing everything anyway and just hoping that she will understand.
Finally, I am finished packing and my brother, Tyler, his fiancé, Raye, and her two sons, Cash and Colt, are just getting here to kick off another fabulously exciting Evans Family Barbeque (E.F.B.). Now we are all gonna head out to the pool to do some swimming and soak up the last few days of summer sun. The two little boys and I are floating around on an inner tube while the "adults" are preparing the food. Seeing that I love food, I am really excited that this little event is taking place. Food though, is not the best reason for the E.F.B. I'm so glad that my whole family can be together and enjoy the last day I have left in Brewster.
So the scrumptious dinner party is winding down and my boyfriend, Chase, is headed over to pick me up so we can head into town and hang out with some friends. We decide to go to another barbeque and dance at one of our friend's houses. It is so much fun! There is a D.J., and Chase and I are dancing and eating and playing card games and honestly just enjoying the best night that I could ask for.
The night is coming to a close and I have 100 different thoughts going through my head. But instead of trying to analyze every changing facet of my life right this second, I decide to instead just go to sleep. So I'm rolling over, cuddling up to my little Pomeranian dog, P.J., and trying to enjoy the last night I have in my big comfy bed in my house in the place that I know and love.