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Kristina Baum's Player Diary From Arizona Volleyball's Washington Road Trip
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 05, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Junior middle blocker Kristina Baum kept a player diary during Arizona volleyball’s road trip to Washington State and Washington.



As I sit here on on a plane at the Tucson airport, I think about the weekend ahead and the week we have left behind. The week started off rough with the death of one of our very own, Shawntinice Polk, a.k.a. Polkey. She was one of our women’s basketball players who will never be replaced or forgotten. Personally, I didn’t know her well, but I know some of my teammates did. It’s a tragedy at any age when death comes unexpectedly. For me, I just don’t understand why this all happened. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. I just keep reminding myself that God has a plan for everyone and everything happens for a reason. We might not know that reason, but, in due time, we will know. However well my teammates knew her, we were all affected. All of the student-athletes were impacted by her death in some way, shape, or form. Polkey was a part of our family and she will always be remembered. You just never know what will happen. If that has taught anyone anything, it should be that your time here is precious, so don’t take it for granted.


With the passing of Polkey, it has been hard to focus on volleyball and our practices were not very good this week. The energy level was down and I know Dave [Coach Rubio] was frustrated. Okay, timeout. Why does the flight attendant have to hit everyone as she walks past us as she checks the overhead bins? Excuse me, but I think you should close your jacket flaps so I can write in peace. Thank you. Back to what I was previously writing about ... Dave. (By the way, we have switched planes and are waiting to take off. They have moved luggage around the plane to balance the plane out. Does one piece of luggage really determine whether we fly tilting to one side or not? I don’t know. At least I am not being hit in the arm by the flight attendant.)


Where was I? Okay, D-Ru. I just had a brief conversation with the man himself about stats. Stats are taken daily at practice so we know when we are getting better. We have stats for kills, kill to error ratio, our percentage of kills, our percentage of errors, passing stats, serving stats, ace to error ratio, serving area stats, etc. Point taken. Personally, I think we should have walking stats. Walking stats should consist of how many steps we take, where we are going, whether we are wearing heels or sandals, the distance of our stride when we walk, the ratio of short steps to long steps, percentage of wearing heels to sandals, and, of course, how many times we trip. This would determine how tired we are by the time we get to our weekend matches by the total number of steps we took. Then, we can see how efficient we are being when we walk.

So in my conversation with Dave I am going to quote him as saying, “There are really only two stats that matter... if we win or lose.” Technically, one, those are not stats. A win is a win. A loss is a loss. A stat would be, for example, the percentage of wins to losses, but that is not what he said. Two, that is not two of anything. A win and a loss amount to two. A win or a loss amounts to one. Time out. I’ve decided we need a bigger plane. They just announced that the carts for drinks are wide and the aisles are too narrow. First, our luggage doesn’t fit. Then, our aisles are too small, not to mention that the average height of our team is six feet tall and we ducked to get in the plane to start. Another reason for a bigger plane. Oh, that and I’m sitting next to Dave. Just kidding, D-Ru.




So I have like two hours before we make the drive down to Pullman. I’m excited about tonight. We play Washington State first. Washington State has a good volleyball gym with all the fans right up on you so close to the court. They have some crazy fans that like to mess with your head. Most of the fans probably know your life story before you even step on the court. Our freshmen will be very amused.



We won! We won! Woo woo! Not a very pretty match, but whatever it takes to win. Game 1 went 37-35. Of course, all I will remember from Game 1 is shanking a pass to give them one of their game points. Bad form. On the up side, it was nice to play a close game with a crowd like WSU’s. Lots of pressure and a tight game. My favorite. Off to bed. Dogs tomorrow.


Kim Glass catches some z's.

 I have found that the time to write is in the airport. Right now it’s like 5 a.m. Too early. We lost to Washington last night. We were simply outplayed. Period. One thing we lack is consistency, right now. Once we become more consistent in our play, everybody better watch out. That will be some amazing volleyball. It’s exciting to know that we have so much room to get better and we know where our weaknesses are. That’s what Washington did -- exposed our weaknesses. There was never a time in the game where I felt like we gave up or ever thought we were going to lose. Each game teaches you something new and you learn to build on that. For me, I didn’t think I played particularly well this whole weekend. My stats may show otherwise, but I’m not satisfied. And I won’t be until we’re all playing smart, consistent Arizona volleyball. We’ll get there. We’re just a flower in a field waiting to blossom.


We are on the plane now heading home. I’m just waiting for someone to start drooling so I can take their picture. I like action shots, like a drooling teammate. That just reminds me of Kim yesterday minus the drool. While we were waiting in the airport in Spokane, Kim had on her eye mask, hood up, neck pillow in place.


End of another road trip... Back to practice to get better.

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