January 13, 2004
Happy New Year Everyone:
Well here we are starting out a new season in 2004. We opened the season Jan. 2 at the Cancun Invitational with Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas Women's University.
We met at the bus to head out to the airport at 5:50 am. Before we left Frank calls and said he was in line to get on the ferry and realized that he had forgotten his passport, and went back to get it so he would meet us at the airport. We were at the gate, and just before we boarded Frank shows up just in time.
We flew to Houston and transferred to a flight to Cancun. When we arrived in Cancun it was about 6:30 p.m. and about 80 degrees. What a change, when we were leaving Seattle we were delayed because they had to de-ice the plane, and here we are in t-shirt weather. We got our bags and headed for customs. It was funny because you picked up your bags you got in a line that went by this thing that looked like a traffic light. One by one we would walk up to the light and push this button much like you would to cross the street here in the U.S. The light would turn green and the agent would say go on through. If the light turned red you had to have your bags checked by the customs agents. I felt sort of anxious as I was about to push the button. It was green - whew!
We got to the hotel and checked in. It was very plush, right on the beach with a huge number of pools, and areas to sun. You could exchange your dollars for pesos at the front desk. You received 11 pesos for each dollar. The next day Frank, team physician John O'Kane and I went golfing at 8 a.m. - we do have our priorities.
It was awesome. The sun, the beach, the warm weather. The ocean was the color that you see in the advertisements on television, a light bluish green, and very warm with very white soft sand.
We had the banquet that evening for all the gymnasts, coaches, parents, etc. They had this Mariachi band that came in and entertained. I thought it was cool, but I'm sure that the teams would have rather had Snoop Dog or something like that. At the end of the banquet they had a table up front with four sombreros sitting on it. Under each sombrero was a piece of paper with vault, bars, beam , or floor written on each one. Each team had a representative go up and look under a hat to see where they would start the competition. Oklahoma went first - vault, next was Iowa - bars, then Washington went next. Emily went up to choose a sombrero. Under her sombrero was beam. I was glad because I did not want to start the competition on floor and end on beam. Way to go Emily.
The next day we met in my room for a team meeting before we went down to the competition, which was actually held in the hotel. Warm-ups were interesting and we made some last minute changes in the line-ups and prepared for our first competition of 2004.
The women attacked the beam, and looked as though they were in "the zone". Tacia LaBatte started us out with a strong 9.825. Emily Pritchard, and Molly Seaman anchored the event with solid 9.85's. We started out with a 49.100 and we had gone seven for seven. What a start, we had beam done and had not had a fall.
We then went to floor which has always been one of our strong events. Molly Seaman was first up on floor and scored an impressive 9.85 followed by Freshman Chelsea Bakken who in her first collegiate routine scored an event high 9.900. We finished floor with a team score of 49.300. The floor judges after the competition said that our floor choreography was the best that they have seen in years - yea Heidi. Then to vault.
This event seemed to be an adventure for all the teams. We scored a 48.725, but that will be going up as we had three gymnast that had starting values of 9.800. We should soon have all 10.00 start values. Then to bars. We were cruising!!
Bars was our highest scoring event with a team score of 49.350. The five scores that we counted were 9.800 and higher. The two highlights were Kim Lewis scoring a 9.900, and Emily Pritchard scoring a near perfect 9.975. We won the competition with a record opening away score of 196.450. I felt pretty darn good. Great job Huskies. Mike Lorenzen the head coach from Iowa came up to me after the competition and said that we were the best prepared team he has ever seen open a season so strong.
After the competition there was a coaches party in the Galileo Lounge. They wanted the coaches to do Karaoke so I was elected to go first. I have never done Karaoke in my life, and probably never will again. I got up and did the Eagles "Hotel California". I got a big ovation and went to the table and gave Frank the microphone. Frank made it into a community sing along, and no one else got up and sang. I was ripped off.
The next day John and I went golfing by ourselves. We saw "Poncho" on the golf course. Poncho is a 12 foot alligator that was sunning himself on the fairway. We just gave him a lot of room and played through. That night we went took the local bus (6 pesos) to Planet Hollywood for a team dinner. We saw Shrek, Michael Jackson, and a host of stars. It was fun.
The next day the team, Frank, and John left for Seattle, but Heidi, Kathy, and I had to stay for another day, as we could not get flights back that day. I just sat around packed my bag, and watched the NFL playoffs on TV. It was strange watching the Seahawks play with Spanish commentary. I left Monday the 5th at 5 am and I was so happy to be home. I really was missing my wife, and our family (two dogs - Brandy & Miller).
We are off this weekend, and have our home opener January 16th in the Bank of America Arena.