I went to a NIRSA conference in Iowa this week called the Big 12 Conference. If you would have told me a year ago that I would be in Iowa for a couple days next year, I would have said, “Where’s Iowa?” Haha I still barely know where it is, but I do know that it is freezing there, there are lots of leaves and trees, and they love their recreation..at least at Iowa State.
So I left my house at 5:45 am on Wednesday and 11 of us stuffed into a van that fit 11. I sat in the passenger seat for the first half of the trip and the big people in the car were not too happy about that. I was thinking about it and like small people never get the front seat and they always are thrown in the middle seats. A common phrase is, “you’re small, why don’t you sit in the middle.” Well what if I don’t want to sit in the middle!? So I convinced a couple small people on the trip that I took the passenger seat for all of us, to fight the stereotype that big people always get that seat. When I told Manny and Jace about this, both big guys, they were like well duh the taller people should get the front seat. Guess it’s all about perspective.
I didn’t know everyone in the van because there were three departments represented, but after these past 3 days, I feel like I know them all very well. On the way to Iowa, we stopped in Kansas at a place called Oklahoma Joe’s. It was a BBQ restaurant in a gas station. It was sooo good and worth the 30 minute line.
The keynote speaker for the event was Fred Hoiberg. I had never heard of him before but he played 10 years in the NBA, worked for the Timberwolves, played basketball at Iowa State and now coaches the basketball team there. And to top it all off, he is extremely handsome and young looking lol. He had some funny stories about his time in the NBA and he spoke about players that I had heard of which I thought was cool. He was very charasmatic and I was sad to hear that he was married with four kids lol.
That night, the group wanted to go out, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. It was freezing out, I was tired and we had to be up at 8 am. I drove them all to the bars and went back to the hotel and watched baseball. There were some damn good games on the past couple nights! The A’s thriller where they scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th to win it, Ibanez of the Yankees scoring a walk off home run and the Giants staying alive and eventually winning the series! I found myself cheering for the Giants and A’s even though I really could care less about them when I did live in California. I feel like once you move away from your home to another state, you become all proud and supportive of those teams from your home. At least that is what has happened for me.
The next day there were educational sessions that we could go to. I went to this once called VIRT- violent incidents response training. It was actually the most worthwhile session I could have gone to. It was presented by two Iowa State campus police officers and it was about what you should do if there is a shooter on the loose, like the Virginia Tech, Aurora, Columbine incidents. I was already very interested in this topic and did sometimes wonder what you are supposed to do in those situations. The take home messages of this were, hiding under a desk or playing dead and hoping you will survive is not a good response to something like this. You want to make noise, try to escape, throw things, distract the shooter and do whatever you can to survive, instead of just hiding underneath something and praying. Another important thing is that we all need to report any unusual things to the police. Don’t assume that someone else called 911 about two people fighting on the street or whatever it is. Even if it turns out that the event was not dangerous and didn’t need police, it is way better to call than to not. The training was about 2 hours and I came out of it thinking every person should go through this. The presenters explained how the public is the first responders to incidents like this. States spend millions of dollars to train police officers to take down shooters, however most of the shootings will be over by the time the police have gotten there. So the people are the ones who need to learn what to do in these situations.
I ended up sitting with the police officers at lunch and I told them I was originally from UC Davis. I asked if they had heard of the pepper spray incident last November. They had and their opinion on the matter was very pro-police obviously. The one guy was like well all those people could have easily gotten up. It’s their own fault. Or something like that. I just nodded and responded with, well I think the officer who peppered sprayed the students probably regrets it because he was fired, along with the chief of police. He explained that as a police officer, if you are not close to getting fired or people are not complaining about you, you aren’t doing your job right. He then followed that up explaining how it’s all politics about who gets fired after stuff like that. And he said, “Figures though, UC Davis is super liberal right?” That made me laugh. It reminded me that I was in a very different part of the country, where the term liberal means something negative.
Later that day, we got a tour of Iowa State and their recreation centers. They had a huge, gorgeous, clean rec center. It opened just this last year and it was probably twice as big as OSU’s rec center. The campus itself was very nice and leafy. Housing there is even cheaper than Stillwater, which I didn’t even know was possible. I could never move there though, just because it is way too cold. I can’t handle it.
I talked to the director of UT’s Rec Sports at the conference. His name is Tom Dison and he is actually a UC Davis grad. I got to know him at the national conference last year because he came to the UC Davis alumni lunch we had and since I was interviewing with UT then, I talked to him a couple other times during the conference. It was cool to see him again and he was very nice. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I did go to UT. I really have no idea, but things would definitely be different.
We all went out to dinner later that night and we were at the restaurant for 2.5 hours…not the best service! I ordered calamari for my little table (we were all in the same room but at different tables) and the girls had never tried it before. I was shocked, but I knew that they would like it. I guess we eat calamari a lot more in California.
It was Jason’s birthday that day, and so we all went out to the bars. But again, I just wasn’t feeling it so I went home around 11 30pm. I was sound asleep by 12 30 and then I get a phone call from Manny at 2 am. I don’t answer it because I know right away that it’s Manny calling to have me pick them up. Then the hotel phone goes off and I am just like this is not happening. I answered and it was what I thought. I was very annoyed but I got up and picked up everyone up at the bars. Being in a car with drunk people when you are not drunk is pretty fun actually. There was a lot of dancing and yelling going on, and I got out of my sour mood because it was kind of funny. They were very thankful that I got them because it was freezing and they would have had to walk back.
Today we were on the road for 9.5 hours. I had to drive for half of it and at one point, it was pouring ridiculously hard. I think I am ok driver, but I get flustered easily. During this downpour, I was very “uncomfortable” as I kept saying. I could barely see in front of me and I was driving this van that was way bigger than what I was used to. We got through it alive though.
So a little side note. I realized that I do not write in this blog as much as I used to. There is a reason for that and it’s not just because I am more busy. I found out that some people were reading this blog not to see what I was up to, but to make fun of it..and not in a nice joking way either. This really affected me writing more posts because now I felt like I had to filter what I wrote, and that’s not how I like to write. I know that this blog is not for those people, but for the friends and family members at home who I miss very much. I know how much they like reading this and I can’t let stupid people get in the way of that. So I am going to try to write more often, like ever 2-3 days.
Alright bed time. Thanks for reading.