Junior Marc Spicijaric
March 26, 2008
In the fifth edition of "On the Marc", junior Marc Spicijaric recaps the Fighting Illini's Spring trip out west where they faced No. 15 Pepperdine, explored Yosemite National Park, and ventured out on hiking excursions.
Hey Illini Fans,
This past week we went on our spring break trip to California. We had a match against Pepperdine and unfortunately came out on the losing end in tennis, but the rest of the week turned out to be a great team bonding experience. After the match we drove to Fresno and spent a day there. In the morning we had to run up the football stadium stairs fifteen times and I can honestly say that everyone on the team was spent after that. Although we were exhausted we had to play a mock dual match against the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds. The Sunbirds were an NAIA team and that means they are not a D-1 school and therefore didn't count against us.
One of their players was an intense character. I didn't play in this match because my hamstring has been bothering me so the coaches and I though it would be in my best interest to rest. Being on the sidelines I was able to watch this guy play and I am not lying when I say that I laughed every time I walked by his court. He was the most energetic player and was so into the match, which is great. After every point he won he would scream out "Let's go Birds" and when he broke he would yell "got the break birds" and I was cracking up every time he yelled. I could be 3 courts down and still hear him clearly. So for the rest of the trip every time someone was having difficulty with something everyone would scream out Lets go Birds, and this carried over into the last couple days of practice.
After Fresno we drove out to Yosemite National Park which was gorgeous and according to Waylon it looked like the place where they filmed Lord of the Rings. After convincing him that New Zealand was the actual place that they shot the movie his reply was "Yeah, they would film it in Europe because all of the characters are European." According to my geography New Zealand is not in Europe. After Waylon said this I was in shock and didn't know how to respond to this. I told everyone in the van which was necessary because the comment was very dumb, but he tried his best to top his stupidity by asking Brandon and I if we have to drive through Texas if we drive from Illinois to Florida. Waylon is a smart kid but just had to mess ups and we will not let him live these down.
Once we got to Yosemite we stopped at an area with giant Sequoias. We had a two mile hike through ice to get to these amazing trees. Kevin Hall, our manager, tries to beat us whenever we do these things, but Brandon, Ryan and myself would not allow this so we raced ahead of him and beat him there. When he arrived he was probably the most bitter person in the world about us beating him. He started to claim that he wasn't trying and didn't know it was a race, but he totally knew that it was and was furious inside. The three of us knew that he would try and beat us on the way down but had help from other team members by having them throw snowballs at him the whole way down. So not only did the three of us beat him down but a few other teammates beat him as well, and when he came down we ambushed him with snowballs. I hit him in the knee which sent him straight to the floor and then Waylon came in and got him while he was down.
After our trek to the sequoias we drove to Yosemite Valley. This was a really cool place and we took some really awesome pictures. We had lunch here and Brad wanted us to hike up a few miles to the top of this mountain. We started off at a decent pace but all of us were sore from the day before and the walk earlier in the morning so we struggled a little bit in the beginning. Once again it was a race with K Hall to the top and we ended up winning again and yes he was super bitter. We got to an area where a waterfall hit this patch of snow and was beautiful. The last 10 minutes of this hike we were sprinting non stop. Once we got to the waterfall we took a break and the people that wanted to continue to the top did and the others went back down. Because my hamstring was hurting I decided not to go all the way up, but the ones who did took some great pictures.
After Yosemite we spent a day in San Francisco which is fun to say. We went down to the piers and walked around there and then a few of us went to Union Square which is basically a mall and bought some clothes and stuff like that. After we got done with that we just "hung out" as a team and played some ping pong and then got some sleep before our long trip back to school.
As fun as the trip was, it was a great feeling to finally get back home. We just started training again for our busy rest of the semester especially next week where we play 5 matches in 9 days and hopefully stay on track to our goal of winning a big 10 title.
Until next time,
Marc "Mr. Clutch" Spicijaric