The Write Stuff: Kala Bowers
In a new TexasSports.com feature this season, the six Longhorns seniors (Jody Bell, Kala Bowers, Jamie Carey, Annissa Hastings, Heather Schreiber and Mercedes Williams) will take turns writing a weekly diary entry, from their own perspectives on topics galore!
This week, 6-2 forward Kala Bowers writes about Texas' road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico to face the previously undefeated New Mexico Lobos, and tells the world exactly what it is like to take a basketball road trip with the Longhorns.
Up next on The Write Stuff (week of Dec. 6-Dec. 13): the "Senior Slant" from Mercedes Williams.
Right now, I'm on the charter airplane flying back from New Mexico Saturday night. We played New Mexico and we won by 17 (73-56). Everyone was really excited to play in "The Pit", which is the nickname of New Mexico's arena built deep into the ground. It is a great environment, and we know how hard it is to hear in there we lost here two years ago.
Today, we had a lot of good communication on the court. After we got the win, we couldn't stop our excitement in the locker room First, because we won for the first time on the road this year, and secondly, we knew that if we won, Coach Conradt would probably give us a day off on Sunday and she did!
Personally, as far as getting back and really contributing, it is exciting for me right now. Each game I am making improvement and feeling like my old self more and more. I have to gain back some weight and gain back strength, and I am getting there.
[Ooops, here an's interruption from Jamie Carey, who is watching me do this
Jamie writes: "Wait, let's not forgot about the play of the game today it was by KALA! New Mexico had the momentum and cut the lead to eight with about 10 minutes to go, and Kala stole the ball and we went on a big run because of her great play which shifted the momentum back to us!"]
OK, Jamie is gone now. Thanks for saying that!
I'm taking time out from studying for finals to write this. Right now I am studying for my American history exam. On our flights, you'll find people studying, or sleeping, or listening to music. Since finals start next week, most of us are studying right now.
Since we've been on the road so much this season, I wanted to tell y'all what a road trip is like as a Texas Longhorn. I don't think anyone has ever given details of our road trips, so here they are!
Our trip to New Mexico was a short one. We left on Friday evening and are coming back tonight (Saturday). Here's what we do:
Friday afternoon, we had practice for two hours in Austin where we did lots of walking through situations and shooting and watched film of New Mexico to get ready for the game. We got a catered meal from Outback Restaurant - which is a big-time pre-flight meal for us, since we usually don't get catered food from Outback!! It was a great meal which we ate at Cooley Pavilion chicken and steak, mashed potatoes, salad and bread.
Then, we all drove to the charter flight terminal in the Friday night traffic. We then loaded our luggage on the charter and had a snack of pretzels and water on the way to Albuquerque. This charter plane is a 37-seater, and we can spread out. Oh, and Victor from Indianapolis is our flight attendant and he is awesome! He is really on top of things especially with the pretzels and Gatorade.
Then, we land in Albuquerque and go straight to "The Pit" on the bus (we have are practice clothes on already). When we fly charter, the bus picks us up right on the tarmac, a few yards away from the plane, which is really nice! Once at "The Pit" we griped about having to walk up and down the steep ramp to get to the floor. This ramp is soooo long which leads to the floor We do a light shoot-around practice in our windpants. Then, in the middle of practice, the building alarm went off, and got louder and louder, so we left ! (Well, actually, we were finished after an hour, and the New Mexico manager told us that is often goes off, so not to worry) We got back on the bus and went to the hotel, checking into a nice Marriott where a SNACK was waiting for us!
We had to go to the Calsbad Cavern room for the snack, and Coach Conradt gave us a trivia quiz us on what the Caverns were and where they were located. No one really knew where the caves actually were except for Kalee (Carey), who being from West Texas had come to New Mexico on lots of field trips to visit them.
Even though we didn't pass our pop quiz, Coach still let us go to the Carlsbad Room for our snack. Now, this was no ordinary snack at 9:30 p.m. we had clam chowder, water, juice, crackers, turkey sandwiches, chip, apples and ice cream sandwiches. (Don't you wish YOU traveled with us?)
Then, we went up to our rooms and went to bed so we could get up bright and early at 7:15 a.m. for morning shoot-around and practice. Our alarm clock on the road is (assistant coach) Kathy Harston who calls our rooms and sings a song to us when we answer! This trip, she sang the New Mexico state song "Oh, New Mexico, the land we love you so" and so on. I was VERY lucky not to hear it, as my roommate on the trip Daria (Mieloszynska) got the enjoyment of answering the phone. Just so you know, I had to answer the wake-up call from Kathy in L.A. when she sang, "California, here I come!" She's crazy!
We load up on the bus again and we get a breakfast snack before shoot-around which consists of yogurt, bagels, chewy granola bars, bananas, water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then, it's back to "The Pit" and down the ramp again for a one-hour shoot-around (from 8-9 a.m.). In shoot-around, we discuss our defensive assignments and go through our offensive plays and out-of-bounds plays.
Afterwards, we high-tailed ourselves BACK up the ramp again, climbed on the bus. Twenty minutes after arriving back at the Marriott, it was time for another meal our breakfast, which was our pre-game meal since we were playing at 2 p.m. New Mexico time.
The Marriott buffet was set up in a private area for our team. For breakfast, we could have: pancakes, oatmeal, sandwiches (ham and turkey), omelets, eggs, cereal, milk, water, juice, yogurt and fruit. It was really good, but, unfortunately, was not my favorite breakfast. If I had my choice, I would have biscuits and gravy, bacon and an egg or two and oatmeal and six pieces of toast... And a yogurt to go for the road along with Nutter-Butters.
Are you wondering how we can move after all this? Now that our bellies are full, we all go and take a nice little nap before the game. When I wake up, I go see my favorite (athletic) trainer Deann (Koehler) in the hotel who tapes up my ankles before we get back onto the bus. We load up again, about an hour and a a half before tipoff, and off we go.
We get to the game one hour before it starts and spend time in the locker room. We get ourselves pumped up by dancing and singing to rap music. Well, some of us do! Tamra (Cobbins) and Ernie (Erneisha Bailey) and Tree (Tiffany Jackson) dance a lot. To be honest, I sit in my chair and move my head back and forth that's all the rhythm I got.
Uh oh, I have to hurry right now and finish, as we are making our descent into Austin
Back to the game, which was a great TEAM win. My family drove 6 1/2 hours from Woodward, Oklahoma to come and watch us and I was really excited to see them, really excited to play well and really excited to get a road win.
After the game, we showered and went outside and talked with our family and fans for a little while, then loaded up the bus and ate a Subway sandwich which the home team gave us (the home team always gives the visitors something to eat after each game). We got to the airport, quickly got on our plane, ate ANOTHER sandwich with chips and a cookie, did some homework and I wrote this. That's the end of our 24-hour trip.
We are landing now and I have to go. Hope you enjoyed hearing about our New Mexico road trip. As you can tell, there is a lot of planning, preparation and eating every time we go on the road!