Catching up with Erin Aldrich
A former All-American for the Texas Volleyball and Women's Track and Field teams, Erin Aldrich, was in town recently to deliver the color commentary for the Texas/Nebraska volleyball match. During her short stay, Aldrich graciously took some time out of her schedule to talk with TexasSports.com about what she has been doing since she left the Forty Acres and what it is like returning to watch Texas Volleyball.
You have stayed very active in both of your sports since you left Texas. What are you up to now? I played both sports in college and ever since then Iíve continued doing the dual sport thing. My first few years out of college I did a lot of track because I wanted to make the Olympic team in 2000. After that I played for USA Volleyball and from 2000-04 I focused on my volleyball quadrennial. At the last minute I decided to play professional volleyball overseas, because I had always wanted to play in another country and learn another language doing the whole professional volleyball thing in a far away place, so I played four years of professional volleyball in Italy. While I was there I stayed involved with track and made a couple of U.S. World Championship teams. This year is my first year of not playing in Italy, but I am actually going to play in Japan in the first week of November, and then I plan on coming back home and training for the 2008 Olympics for track.
How do you decide which sport you are going to focus on? It is kind of just how the wind blows, I guess. I love both sports. Volleyball gives me financial stability and I just love high jumping. It was the first sport that I was really into and that I knew that I had the ability to go far in. They both bring things to the table and it has been too hard for me to give one of the two up. I kept doing both and it kind of just depends on the year as to where my focus lies. The Olympics is next year, so Iím trying to focus a lot on track. I didnít have plans to play volleyball this year, but a contract offer came that I couldnít pass up, so thatís what Iím doing now.
How did you get into broadcasting and how do you fit it in while you are still so active in competition? My degree was in journalism and I have always kept in touch with FOX. I have a friend that is a producer for FOX, so heís always kind of kept me in the loop. There have been a couple of times when I have tried to do the Big 12 Track & Field Championships for them, but that didnít work out because I ended up getting back from Italy a few days too late. I keep telling them to keep trying, because I know if they keep asking me and I keep turning them down they will eventually just say forget it, but they got me to do the Texas/Nebraska match when they had a few scheduling conflicts. I really just wanted to make sure that they were aware that I was serious about wanting to get involved.
You are one of just five dual-sport All-Americans in school history. Destinee Hooker is also one of those five and competes in the same sports you do. Do you see some of yourself in her? She is amazing. I loved watching Destinee practice a little bit before the match. It was the first time Iíve gotten to see her play volleyball. I have got to say that I am blown away. She is such a great athlete. It is fun to watch someone else do the exact same thing that I did. I mean, we are really on the same path -- both high jumpers, both volleyball players and we have both been relatively successful in our own careers. She has nowhere to go but up, and I will be really interested to see how she ends up. I donít know if I should say I hope she breaks my records, but if itís for Texas, have at it! I wish her all the best of luck. She really is an amazing athlete.
What is it like to come back into the gym that you played in to watch Texas Volleyball? I have the most amazing sense of nostalgia. I found myself driving down Congress from my hotel, towards The University with the Capitol right in front of me. I just kind of took a look at myself and I had this huge smile on my face. It is so great to be back in Austin. You never realize how great of a city it is until you go away and then come back. For me, it is an awesome experience. Iím really glad that I got to do this match in my old gym. I love that everything is burnt orange. Itís awesome. Hook 'em, Horns!