Yogi found her 'spirit' with Texas Volleyball
Sept. 1, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas -- Sydney Yogi grew up in a place where days are structured around the rise and fall of surf and tide, sun and moon.
"There's something about it. We call it the `Aloha Spirit,'" Yogi explains of her native Hawaii.
Yogi decided to leave the island, and its laid-back pace, for Texas Volleyball. The volleyball part was easy -- Yogi has been playing competitively since she was 10. And, truthfully, choosing the Longhorns was pretty easy, too.
"Well, the spirit of back home -- the people have it here, too," she says of Austin and the Forty Acres.
Now a sophomore defensive specialist for the Longhorns, Yogi is accustomed to life in Texas, but volleyball has taken her back to her home land. The second-ranked Longhorns begin play at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic on Thursday, and have a high-stakes match against host Hawaii on Saturday.
Yogi realizes that with No. 4 Hawaii on the horizon, the Longhorns have ventured to the island for a "business trip," but she still wants to share the intimate nuances of her home state with her teammates.
"I want to show them what it's like to live in Hawaii, and not just be a tourist," she said.
Some teammates, Yogi says, have stereotypes about what exactly qualifies as Hawaiian. For instance, some think pizza can be Hawaiian, so long as it has pineapple on top.
"And that's just not true," Yogi laughs.
So, she wants to show the Longhorns some of her favorite chicken dishes -- one that's battered, fried and served with rice, macaroni and gravy -- and some tucked away local beaches. And if she had her way, Yogi would also share with them her ideal day-in-the-life of a Hawaiian.
"Eat, go to the beach, hang out with family and friends," Yogi says.
But instead, the Longhorns will enjoy as much culture as possible while readying themselves for the schedule ahead. Hawaii boasts one of the most spirited volleyball environments in the country, and Saturday's match will likely be played in front of a crowd of 7,000 strong.
Yogi's parents introduced her to volleyball at a young age, when they took her to their nighttime co-ed league matches. From then on, Yogi dreamed of playing in Hawaii's arena, but that changed after Yogi met head coach Jerritt Elliott and the Longhorns.
She dreams for something different now.
"I wouldn't trade this. I'd rather be at Texas, training for a national championship, than doing anything else," Yogi says.