Monday, December 28, 2009

Madisyn O'Brien - Dec. 28

Hi all!

After two long weeks of late nights and early mornings camped out in libraries and study rooms, I can finally say that I have completed my first semester of college finals! The stress and lack of sleep is quickly being replaced with excitement and shopping for the holidays. Break is only a few days away and I can’t wait to go home to a home cooked meal, free laundry, and my new puppy!

Over break, the freshmen are living with upper classmen since the dorms close for the holiday. Even though I won’t have my own room, I’m excited to live off campus and bond with everyone. We’ve already planned to have weekly pot-lucks with different themed cuisines. Between that and all the other activities the team has planned (ie. Holiday party, secret Santa, and an Iron Chef competition to name a few), this break is bound to be exciting and filled with fun.

With season just around the corner, December brings more than just the holidays. Despite the hectic finals schedule, the team has found time to squeeze in some last practices before our intrasquad. Routines are coming along quickly and the team cant wait for the hard work in preseason to pay off with a great, competitive year.

Our first meet is January 17th and we’d love to see all the CAL fans out there supporting the team. Until then, Happy Holidays and, of course, GO BEARS!

*Maddy *

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avery Gee - Dec. 19

Hey Everyone,
I've decided to put together a question and answer blog post for this week's Lifestyle of a Cal Gymnast. Enjoy!
Q: So, you've had the last week off from practice. What have you been doing with all your free time?
A:  The first thing I did when I got home was hang out with my little brother (who unfortunately is now my big brother!). Arla, Carol, and I also went back to our home gym to visit our old teammates. They recently moved into a new gym, which is gorgeous. However, I still miss old Airborne with the crazy low ceilings and vaulting achievements on the wall. I went to my aunt and uncle's for Thanksgiving and had dinner with my whole family. But the best part of Thanksgiving break was going Black Friday shopping with my mom.
Q: Black Friday shopping? Are you one of those crazy people that camps outside Best Buy to be the first in line?
 A: Not quite! But we do refer to ourselves as shopping warriors and rise at the crack of dawn. 
Q: That's some dedication. Did it result in any good finds?
A: I got a guitar! It's gorgeous and I'm in love with it. I would play it all day, but I promised my mom I would still study if she let me take it back to Berkeley (it's supposed to be my Christmas present). 
Q: So I assume you're quite the accomplished guitar player then.
A: Not yet, it's actually a new interest. I also enjoy photography and Photoshop. I'm going to pick up sewing and I'm planning on learning Java. I'll probably have to put most of my projects on hold till after season though.
Q: Speaking of season, how is the team doing?
A: Well, I think that since I've been on the team, this is our most promising year yet. Don is an excellent coach- a good addition to the team. The freshman are also looking great in the gym (I haven't seen Stina miss a jaeger yet), and the people who had surgery in the summer are coming back.
Q: With finals approaching, how are you feeling about the next few weeks?
A: I know the next few weeks are going to be stressful, but I can't help feeling excited for winter break and season. Winter break is fun because there's no school and we just go to practice and hang out. We also do all sorts of fun things like team movie nights and Iron Chef contests. I'm also excited about season because I feel like this could be the year we really have everything fall into place. We are all competitive and are eager to prove that we and our program are excelling.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Erica Varon - Dec. 14

Hey Everyone!
      This week has been pretty hectic. School has been jam-packed with work as finals are coming up in a couple of weeks and gym is getting more intense every day. We’ve been starting pressure sets and it’s been getting everyone into the team atmosphere with everyone cheering like it’s a meet. Everyone is starting to look great as the routines are coming together and we’re refining every little detail. The weekend was extremely exciting.
      It was also Big Game weekend and the whole school was ready to beat Stanford yet again. A couple of us were lucky enough to get tickets to the game so we decided to make a day of it and go to Stanford bright and early.  We first went to watch the Big Splash, the water polo match also against Stanford.  It was a really close game and there were so many fans, but unfortunately we ended up losing.  We were just hoping for a big win in football to make up for it. A lot of people were starting to doubt that we would win after Stanford had just beaten USC last weekend. I knew we could win. But I also started to have my doubts in the beginning of the game when we were down 14-0.   Then, we started to make an amazing comeback.  The game was close the entire time and finally we had the lead.  When there were only about 2 minutes left Stanford was extremely c! lose to a touchdown (and winning the game) and everyone was so nervous but we got an interception and everyone went crazy!!! We all started running downstairs and rushed the field when the game was over. It was THE best Big Game I have seen (apart from the 1982 game). 
      On Sunday, a couple of us decided to have The Best Thanksgiving Dinner That’s Not on Thanksgiving.  We all made something to bring and it turned out amazing.  The turkey was delicious and the desserts were amazing. My roommate (Leah) and I made scalloped potatoes and pumpkin cream cheese brownies and they turned out great.  The potatoes started to overflow a little in the oven and every single smoke detector in our apartment went off but they still turned out great.
      This week will be more relaxed once we get to go home for Thanksgiving and see our families (and enjoy the 80 degree weather at the beach)!  

Friday, December 4, 2009

Stina Olivere - Dec. 4

Hey everyone!

These past couple weeks have been a roller coaster. My first day on campus I went to the doctor's office expecting to be cleared and ready to train. However, they told me I needed surgery. I let a few tears out, but then moved on and looked at the situation in a positive way: I was going to take it as an opportunity to get stronger than I was before, and focus on conditioning and come back with a renewed enthusiasm. Each day went by fast and before I knew it I was stitches free, off crutches, out of the boot, and running again (which I love to do). I am proud to say that I am currently running on the Alter G during my rehabilitation at 80% of my body weight! It just goes to show you there is absolutely no need to freak out when you get injured and focus on the negative, because you can and should come back even better than you were before. All it takes is a little patience and focus. Injuries don't build character, they reveal it. I couldn't get through any of it without my teammates so don't be ashamed of letting them help you out. And most importantly don't forget to LAUGH! A day without laughter is pointless, so don't let being injured stay in the way of your ability to laugh at yourself!

This weekend was hectic! I hosted a recruit on Gameday and I am so happy that she got to see an exciting game and of course a win! Before, a couple of the girls and I worked in "Fun Zone" where we painted kid's faces, and oddly enough some adults. I always enjoy it, but I cannot say that my Oski Bear comes out looking like the right animal. The score was so close throughout the entire game, and I don't know about everyone else, but my voice was out the next day from screaming at the top of my lungs, "ROLL ON YOU BEARS!" The game ended with the Golden Bears beating the Wildcats 24-16, and we all rushed the field for the first time. Most of the Cal gymnasts sit in the stands together in during the game, and we definitely have fun goofing around and cheering on our fellow athletes.

In the gym we are working very hard. We are getting down to business with routines, building up endurance, and perfecting details. In the weight room we are upping weights, and our routines on floor are getting easier and easier as our cardio is building up our endurance. I see some amazing things going on, and I really feel we are going to surprise everyone this season with our immense amount of talent. Hey it's not bragging when we back it up right?!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mariesah Pierce - Nov. 30

Hello everyone,
Wow, freshman year has definitely been a new experience. Living away from home, a new team, and a new environment can certainly be overwhelming but the Cal gymnastics team has made my transition into Berkeley much easier.
The girls on the team are very energetic and caring which makes gym not only fun but also a great motivator to work hard. With being on the gymnastics team here at Cal it has taught me many aspects that can be used in everyday life. What I noticed most about being here is that I have become better at managing time. Balancing gym and academics can be challenging, especially during midterms, but I guess that’s all part of being a student athlete. All the resources, like tutoring and academic advisers, at Cal have helped me a lot on staying on top of my academics and athletics.
I also had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Bridge Program which had a huge impact on my transition into Cal. It helped prepare me for the following years ahead. Throughout the summer and the semester I have made so many friends. This is great because not only is it nice to just hangout with them, but also to study with. Many of my friends are taking the same classes, so getting study groups together are very helpful.
Being here at Cal has been a blast. My team has made my experience here is so much fun. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to be part of this team and school.  
Mariesah Pierce

Friday, November 13, 2009

Carol Chang- Nov. 13

Hi All!
I can’t believe it’s already November! It’s been a couple of months into the school year, and me along with all of the freshmen have been transitioning pretty well. I think it’s safe to say that Berkeley finally feels like home!
Last weekend was Halloween and we had game day at the gym! We split into three groups and had contests such as wearing the football uniform the fastest, making mummies out of toilet paper, and a scavenger hunt. After practice, the team decided to make caramel apples together for a little fun and a tasty treat. Each person brought a different item, either apples, caramel, or some type of topping. It was really fun with everyone working together. Some of the girls were melting caramel, some crushing toppings, and some piercing the apples. Everyone got to make their own caramel apple, and it was funny to see the different looks and combinations people came up with. Despite the unappealing looks of some of the apples, they were delicious!
In the gym we’ve started to do half and full routines on a few of the events. Everyone seems to be handling the assignments well and have been working extremely hard to make each turn count. Although pre-season is just starting out, everyone already looks confident in the skills they are doing.
We recently added TiVo into our workouts with multiple video cameras and TV’s throughout the gym. It is great to be able to watch yourself after a turn to see what you’ve done better that turn and also how you can improve. With the help of our coaches and the support of our teammates we’ll all continue to work hard in the gym to have a successful season! Go bears!

Leah Redon - Nov. 6

Hi Everyone!
So we’re getting further into the pre-season every day and there has been a lot going on. The sophomore class on our team as well as other second-year athletes recently attended an event sponsored by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee instructing us on proper etiquette in formal business situations. We learned the basics of proper etiquette in both business and social situations. The dinner included a four-course meal in which we learned about the correct placement and use of utensils. We also learned the differences between U.S. and continental behavior.
In the gym we started half and full routines on beam and bars. We have also increased the difficulty of our circuit in weight training. This is the point in the season where we are starting to step it up. We are trying to maintain our health so that we can continue to progress until season starts. Our team is looking really good right now, and I am excited to see where our hard work will take us this season.
Go Bears!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shana Johnson - Oct. 22

Hi Everyone!!
The past few weeks have been extremely stressful and hectic. With the combination of gymnastics and midterms and other schoolwork it seems as though you always have some type of work to do. So when the weekend comes there is always a load of stress taken off your back. There is never a dull moment when living in Berkeley. Whether there is a street fair to attend on Telegraph, a cultural event put on by a club, or just hanging out with friends there will always be something to do. Although, having something to do is fun and exciting it’s always nice to change up your atmosphere from time to time.
So this past weekend I went home to spend some quality time with my family. Even though I don’t live that far from Berkeley it felt like a whole different world. It had been a long time since I’ve been able to go home. I had a great time simply relaxing and essentially doing nothing but talking and laughing with my family and doing other family activities. I got to watch the football team beat UCLA. Go Bears!! And also catch up on some of my favorite shows that I hadn’t had time to watch. It feels so good going back to a familiar place when you haven’t been there in awhile and it being the same as if you had never left. It was great while it lasted, but now its time to get back into my usual busy schedule. This weekend has helped me learn that goin! g home every once in awhile is good for your mind, body and spirit. I feel rejuvenated and ready for what the upcoming week has in store for me. Goodbye until next time!
Oh and of course …Go BEARS!!!
~ Shana J.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sophia Hocini- Oct. 21

Hey Everyone!
So I’m glad to say I think I’m finally back in the swing of things here in Berkeley, and so is the rest of the Cal gymnastics team.  The first few weeks of school are always a transition for everyone on the team, and with eight freshmen this year we have a lot of fresh faces around the gym.  All of the freshmen have done a great job blending in with the rest of the team, and its been great to see all the new talent and depth they are contributing.  A few weeks ago we had our team retreat where we participated in team activities and set out our goals for the upcoming season.  It was a great opportunity for everyone to bond and get to know! each other better so that we can unify the team as we embark on our goals. 
Since the beginning of school, our team has been busy with multiple community service activities outside the gym.  Aside from face painting before every home football game, we recently partook in an outreach day known as College Sports Day, where our team, along with a number of other Cal athletic teams, assisted in teaching about 300 elementary school kids what our sports are all about.  We taught the kids basic gymnastics skills like handstands, cartwheels, rolls, and somersaults.  It was awesome seeing how much the kids enjoyed doing gymnastics; it definitely brought me back to my younger days when I was first starting out. 
 In the gym we’ve been continuing to practice hard and condition hard because time is ticking along and season is already starting to creep up!  Though we’re still in the early part of pre-season, we know there is a lot of work to be done in order to achieve our goals this season and to represent our school as best as we can.  So on that note, and as always, GO BEARS!