In college basketball the month of October is a tough one to get through. The light at the end of the tunnel looks like a distant flicker in the wind. The first game is in early November, so the month of October is dedicated to preparation.
And by preparation, I mean practice.
And by practice, I mean sprints.
The girls have to get in shape. Starting with the one and only conditioning test.
20 down-and-backs in 25 seconds or less.
But what happens when it all ends?
What happens when you graduate?
What happens when you don't have to work out anymore?
What happens when you see your once defined calf muscles turn to mush?
What happens when swimsuit season is no longer your favorite season?
What happens when you start looking like…like…like your mother?
You sign up for cycle class.
Being a poor, newly employed 23-year-old, cycle class is kind of a rip off.
Being an educated, recent UCLA grad, I was smart enough to find a GroupOn.
10 classes for $60? With shoe rental?? That’s just $6 a class compared to the preposterous $20 per.
I could do that.
Living in Westwood, you’re in a bubble. You’re surrounded by Bel-Air, Brentwood, and Beverly Hills.
AKA the Promised Land.
I used to love going to Beverly Hills when I was an undergrad because what kind of undergrad gets to go to Beverly Hills so casually??
I’ll tell you who—UCLA students. It’s the coolest, most ridiculous thing in the world. So up my alley.
Long story long, I decided to sign up for my cycling class in Beverly Hills. I no longer could grapple with my lackluster calf muscles so I signed up for the first class at the crack of dawn the following morning.
7:00am with Shannon.
I will never forget 7:00am with Shannon.
Being on time has never been my specialty, except for when I played under Cori Close.
No longer being under Cori Close, I have resorted to my old ways.
It was 6:58am and I was strapping on my shoes faster than Shannon could cycle.
And boy could she cycle.
As I sheepishly slid onto my seat, I realized I made it right on time.
Shannon asked if anyone needed any last-minute help strapping on their cycle shoes.
I don’t know about you guys, but those things are the pits. I never win. After several failed attempts I caved and asked Shannon for help.
“Lay your foot flat, and push up into the rivet.”
“No, not like that.”
“Are you listening to me?”
“Don’t panic, we’re in this together.”
I’m not kidding you when I say this—it took Shannon and I 4 & 1/2 minutes to strap my cycle shoes in.
4 & 1/2 minutes later, Shannon was not a fan of Nicole Kornet.
First cycle class down, nine to go, and I was not off to a good start. At this point I was begging for Cori’s infamous conditioning test to return.
But the tale doesn’t end here.
If I didn’t play basketball I would have tried my very best to be a hip-hop dancer. I truly believe that’s why I always played the way I played. I put on a performance each and every game, because all I’ve ever wanted to do was perform in front of a crowd.
During that cycle class, I discovered that my dream was just that—a dream. I truly lack rhythm.
Shannon’s eyes were glued to me all class.
“Hands at position 3!”
“You’re clearly on the wrong gear if you’re pedaling that fast.”
“One and two and one and two and one and two.”
I was a lost sheep amongst wolves.
Amongst beautiful, physically fit, Beverly Hills bombshells who wore the matching sports bra/spandex combo and everything.
Meanwhile, yours truly, was sitting front & center wearing a pair of her father’s old Milwaukee Bucks practice shorts from the late 80’s with an over-sized tee to boot.
I fit right in.
Finally, after 45 minutes of sheer torture, both mentally and physically, it was time to get out.
Problem was I couldn’t get out.
Shannon liked that one. She begrudgingly waltzed over and yanked my feet out of the stirrups. I have a wicked bruise on my upper shin thanks to her forceful gusto.
During my day in LA I learned two things:
No matter what stage of life you’re in it’s important to get out and get going. Lucky for me, I live in California.
If you can’t handle the Beverly Hills cycle shaming, there are plenty of monstrous mountains that have your name written all over them, or a Pacific Ocean that will drown your sorrows, or a plethora of healthy food options that will allow you to skip exercising altogether!
This was my “Day in LA.” Tell me about yours!
“This is your Bruin card. With this, you have access to all 7 cafeterias on campus.”
Jaw-dropped, I never pictured heaven to be so hilly.
So sunny. So peppy. So blue & gold.
I had been on campus not yet 5 minutes and I couldn’t get over that staggering fact.
And these weren’t just your “everyday cafeterias.” These were extraordinary works of art, with top-notch chefs allowing your taste buds to correctly “taste” for the first time.
Sure, it may have something to do with the fact that I was raised on Uncrustables and Oatmeal Crème Pies, but I choose to believe otherwise.
I choose to believe that I had made it to heaven.
Some think I’m still taking classes. Some think I’m mooching off the girls just to cop snacks from the locker room. Some think I’ve hit rock bottom.
Like I said, two years just wasn’t enough.
My time as a student-athlete has come to a close, but my time as a UCLA employee has just begun.
I’m an avid blogger. I became one after one of the biggest transitions of my life took place. Here, at UCLA.
But you see, you don’t have to wait until something monumental hits you square in the face in order to do so.
Anyone can be a writer.
You just have to pick up the pen.
Throughout my blogs UCLA’s four letters dance across the pages quite a bit. However, there is still so much to this school and this city that goes unnoticed.
Which brings me back to the 7 cafeterias.
Every Wednesday I will be posting a blog about one of the above:
Sometimes I’ll blab on and on about the cafeteria food, but sometimes I’ll dive a little deeper and get in sync with the girls.
With segments such as Bruin Beliefs, NBA Family Ties, Why I Love LA, and My Favorite Flavs, one will be able to get a look behind the curtain into the lives of players old & new, the adventures the girls stumble into, and sometimes, maybe most of the time, stories that involve yours truly, too.
With segments such as Rookie Seasons, Empty Nesters, and How To Get Over A Loss In 10 Hours, I’ll touch upon the struggles of what it’s like to be a freshman, the struggles of parenting a freshman, and the dreaded shape of an L on your forehead.
I will be narrating the journey of the 2017-2018 UCLA Women’s Basketball team.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
I will do my best to describe in obnoxiously colorful adjectives just how UCLA runs the show, the people who form its foundation, and the city away from home that has become the city I now call home.
These four letters represent something much bigger than embroidery.
They represent a bond.
So join me! Every Wednesday. As I pick up the pen.