Are You There, God? It's Me, Darci

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I hate saying that, because EVERYBODY says it and now it’s completely cliché, so let me edit that statement; I believe that there’s a reason behind everything. Thus far in my life, I think there has been a purpose for everything that’s happened to me, even the bad stuff (of which there hasn’t been much, thankfully).

(Note: That's not to say I necessarily believe in god. I don't think I do. The title of this entry is me wondering if there is a god [because of things like what I'm about to write about] and attempting to be witty. But let's not get into the god issue -- that's for another time and blog!)

Last semester, my meeting with Gary Hall affirmed that I was absolutely supposed to end up at Miami. I mean, hypothetically I could’ve met someone of equal stature somewhere else. But where else would I have had the chance? Do many other professors give out assignments like that?

No, I was meant to be here.

I really didn’t need any other clues. But the universe had other plans for me!

Last Thursday, I saw a rather interesting tweet. This one, as a matter of fact:

Of course, I was really excited! Amy Deem, our very own director of track and field! A Cane! At the Olympics! I can root for my school AND my country at the same time! And what if I’m there too (fingers crossed)?! That opens up a slew of possibilities too exciting to deal with right now ;P. So I retweeted it, with my excitement crammed into the very eloquent “OMG STFU!!!,” and moved on with my day. I didn’t even think about it in terms of news.

*Shakes head.* Amateur.

During dinner that night, I got a text from my fantabulous sports editor, Ernesto. He basically said that he knows I’m an Olympics junkie, and would I like to write the story for The Hurricane about this.

Jaw, meet floor.

So I’d get to interview the newly appointed women’s track coach of Team USA for London 2012? The woman whose athletes I’ll be watching for endless hours next summer? Oh. OH. No big deal, right?


My life just got infinitely cooler.

I couldn’t really do much about it that night, other than squeak something to Colin and Jon (who now gets his requested mention in this entry, completely not on purpose :P) who were at dinner with me, and then freak out to Chandini on facebook. Oh, and write some interview questions. Friday, however, began four days of total anxiety.

That morning, I called Coach Deem’s office to try and set up an appointment with her directly, not really thinking about the fact that I’d have to go through someone else. Ernesto had emailed be about it, but I didn’t check it until the afternoon. Let that be a lesson to everybody: CHECK YOUR EMAIL! I spent all of Friday with my phone permanently attached to my hand, twitching every time it vibrated.

I finally read the email and (cursing myself under my breath) called Scott Zavitz, the SID for track and field. Thankfully it wasn’t too late in the day to reach him! He asked me for my availabilities and said he’d set something up for me.

On Saturday, I woke up and checked my email for an interview time. Nothing. I kept my phone on me as much as possible all day (despite training in the new fitness room for the staff! Shameless plug: the gym is BEAUTIFUL! If you go to UM, you now have no reason not to get your butt over there!). I checked my email multiple times, and had still heard nothing by late afternoon. I emailed him again, and he said she would give me a call sometime on Sunday (aka my last day as a teenager).

Sometime? What does that even mean?!

I didn’t have anything planned for the day besides the editorial meeting at noon, but I set my alarm for 9 am, just in case Coach Deem mistook me for an early riser ;). Again, my phone was permanently attached to my hand. I was SURE she’d call me at the most inconvenient time; when I was at breakfast… when I was walking to the meeting… when I was at the meeting… I brought my notebook & questions with me, just in case. And I even wore my "London does it better" t-shirt! :)

But, alas, it was for naught. I waited all day with a resting heart rate of approximately eight hundred BPM – not only do I hate waiting for phone calls, I hate waiting for IMPORTANT phone calls even more. And for me, does it get much more important than a coach approved by the USOC?

Let me answer that for you: NO.

The story was supposed to run in Monday’s paper, but my deadline was extended to Thursday. It wasn’t a total loss, though. I spent my last day as an 18-year-old watching the Vancouver Olympics, and I spent my last day as a 19-year-old waiting to hear from a coach of the London Olympic team. I like it. :) (The theme, not the waiting!)

I emailed Scott again, giving him my availabilities for Monday (my birthday!) and Tuesday. He apologized, and said she’d give me a call between 4:30 and 5:00 on Monday afternoon, after she got out of practice.

Okay. Fantastic. Perfect.

I got out of work at 3:30 (yes, I worked on my birthday) and headed straight back to my room. I whiled away the next 45 minutes doing god knows what. When the clock hit 4:30, I stopped. I shut my music off, quit the internet, opened the Word document with my questions, and put my phone flat on the desk next to me. Game face? Check.

Half an hour later, I was feeling a bit put out. My phone had remained devoid of “Amy Deem” on caller ID, though it had been far from silent. Seriously, in that half hour, I missed three calls from my grandparents. Usually I appreciate them calling on my birthday, but in this case, I was having heart attacks when my phone vibrated at all, let alone rang! Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper!

At around 6, I emailed Scott again. It was basically the equivalent on getting down on my knees and begging. I told him I was desperate to get this done, and even though Tuesdays are my bad days, I said I’d skip class if need be. This story HAD TO HAPPEN.

I went down to dinner at around 6:45, still feeling like I’d been stood up (and by an Olympian, no less!). I had taken about two bites of my sandwich when my phone rang. It was an unknown 305 number, but I knew exactly who it must be. Torn between wanting to laugh and angrily shake my fist at the ironies of the universe, I answered the phone.


“Hi, is this Darci?”

“Yes it is!”

“Hi, this is Amy Deem…”

Ahh, good ol’ Charty’s and their terrible reception. I couldn’t even hear her. She was FINALLY calling me, and I was eating a mediocre sandwich and had terrible reception. After a reluctant “sorry, you’re breaking up. What’d you say?,” I grabbed my wallet and was out of my chair; I’d have to use another meal to get back into the dining hall, but at that point, all I cared about was the interview!

“I’m actually at dinner right now,” I told her, “so—“

I was intending to say “so give me a minute to run up to my room,” but she didn’t let me finish.

“Oh okay, don't worry! I’ll have my phone on me all night!”

…Wait, what? I stopped short in the process of running out of the dining hall, between two tables of random strangers. In retrospect, I must’ve looked certifiably insane.

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah! Enjoy your dinner, give me a call when you finish! I’ll be up until 10 or 11.”

See, I learned when meeting Gary Hall that Olympians are really nice. But this still surprised the appetite out of me! No, actually, I take that back. My appetite was gone because it’s Charty’s. Either way, though, I was REALLY surprised. She hadn’t been able to call me for two days, but now she’s giving me free reign over her evening? Hey, NOT COMPLAINING.

My sandwich seemed much lamer when I returned to it, but I listened to Coach and tried to enjoy my dinner ;). Then it was back up to my room for The Interview. I called her back at around 7:15-ish. And what did she say when she answered the phone?

“I hope you don’t mind talking to me while I’m walking my dog!”

Cue Twilight Zone music. Do I mind? Hmm, let me think about that one.

If you couldn’t already tell, Coach Deem is amazingly nice, and really down to earth! She was just appointed to the 2012 Olympic coaching staff for the United States, yet she’s still saying things like “I need to focus on the now, which is getting UM ready to compete,” and that the thing she’s most proud of is seeing her former athletes being successful in their lives now. It sounds too good to be true, but I could tell that she really means it. She’s just that genuine.

But do you want to know what she’s really like? When I asked her what the past week has been like for her, she talked about how nice it was that so many people took the time to text and email her their congratulations.

I kind of love her a little bit.

I asked all the questions you’d expect to be asked; the selection process, when she finds out who’s on her team, etc. etc. But there was one question I held for last, that I would only ask if the interview was going well. And it was, so I did.

“Are you going to be throwing up the U at all when you’re in London?”

For those of you non-Hurricanes, a demonstration of “throwing up the U”:

(Excuse my nerdiness.)

She laughed, and gave me the BEST possible answer: "Of course! I've been at Miami for 20 years, so I definitely will when it's appropriate!"

BAM! Done! :)

The interview was pretty short, just about 11 minutes or so. She apologized for huffing and puffing, but apparently her dog was bouncing around the house when she got home, so she had to take him out :). She said she’d text me (!!!) the names of some of her athletes to contact for my story (which never happened, but that’s okay, since my story ended up being long anyway), and told me to give her a call if I needed a follow-up or anything else.

Okay, I kind of love her a lot.

And then the coolest 20th birthday present I could’ve asked for was over. I was kind of bummed I didn’t get to mention to her that the Olympics are what I want to do with my life, but everything happened really fast and it just didn’t fit in anywhere. If I’d met her in person it probably would’ve been easier. But I didn’t want the story just to be able to name drop, and potentially get a contact. This story will be fantastic as a clip to send in for internships (especially with the USOC!), number one.

And number two?

'Nuff said.

Read my story here! -->

One Year Later

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that the Vancouver Winter Olympics began exactly a year ago today. It’s kind of sad, really. It’s been a year since the last Olympics, there are still 531 days until London 2012 (according to the handy dandy app I downloaded for my phone ;D), and THREE YEARS until Sochi 2014.

Say it with me: DE-PRESS-ING.

To help avoid wanting to wrap myself in my Olympics flag and mope, I’ve decided to take a walk down memory lane and relive Vancouver, day by day.

My class schedule that semester couldn’t have been more wonderful: all morning classes, save for one. It may sound like it sucks, but when you’re done with class for the day at 11 and Olympics coverage starts at noon… I don’t have to finish that sentence, do I? ;) I watched more hours of Vancouver than probably any other Games I’ve lived through; every single afternoon, and every single night. Even when I had work from 9 until midnight, I would stand by one of the TVs until we had to start re-racking weights at around 11:15. I even had a coworker who was covering extra night shifts so she could come to work just to watch the Olympics (her roommates locked the TV in their room when they went away). Now THAT’S dedication!

…Social life? What social life?

February 12th, 2010

I just watched a highlight video of the Opening Ceremony, and got a little teary-eyed. There’s nothing I love more than seeing the parade of nations. From huge nations whose hordes of matching athletes look like a massive cult, to little one-athlete nations dressed in traditional cultural garb, one thing never fails: they all look so unbelievably excited, video cameras and little flags in hand. <3

And today is also the one year anniversary of the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old Georgian luger killed during a practice run. RIP.

February 13th, 2010

I’ve been searching for an event-by-event schedule, but can’t find one :(. So I have to go by the major events, and I don’t see many on this date. There was some ski jumping, long track and short track speed skating (Apolo! Woo!), and women’s moguls. Ya know, that craziness where athletes ski down a hill with huge bumps and then launch themselves off a ramp, doing obscene amounts of twists and flips before landing? Yeah, that. I remember really liking Hannah Kearney, because she wore her hair in these weird little pigtails sticking out of her helmet! I love when athletes show personality!!

February 14th, 2010

Canada won their first ever Olympic gold medal on home soil, in men’s moguls. Happy Valentine’s day, Alex Bilodeau!

Men’s luge started up as well, with some added safety precautions. Like padding on the extremely solid posts lining the extremely dangerous track that people hurtle down at extremely fast speeds. And the starting line was moved down to the women’s starting line, with the women starting at an even lower point. That meant slower speed for all, and less chance of athletes literally killing themselves for their sport.

February 15th, 2010

Men’s downhill skiing finally happened, having been postponed for two days due to weather. And HEY! Bode Miller finally redeemed himself a little bit! (Key words: a little bit. I, for one, won’t soon be forgetting his abysmal and embarrassing performance in Torino!) The insanity of snowboardcross got going, as did PAIRS FIGURE SKATING! What can I say? I’ve always been a skating girl. :)

February 16th, 2010

China won gold in pairs skating. They had a great story – this was their third Olympics; they’d gotten two bronzes in the past; they’d quit for two years after Torino but came out of retirement for another shot at gold; and they’re married. I love when pairs skaters are married! There was some more snowboardcross, and biathlon. Have you ever watched biathlon? It may not be the most exciting sport in the world, but let me tell you, these people are AMAZING athletes. To be able to cross-country ski, and then be able to accurately shoot a target, even when your heart rate is so high? Unbelievable.

February 17th, 2010

It was a crazy day for Team USA! Try the most successful at a Winter Olympics ever! :) Lindsey Vonn won the women’s downhill, with Julia Mancuso finishing second. Shani Davis won the long track 1000m, Chad Hedrick got the bronze, and Scotty Lago won silver in men’s snowboarding.

Oh, and Shaun White won gold, too. Only with a score of 48.4 out of 50. And he landed a trick that no one else has ever landed. OH, and his two runs had the two highest scores of the competition, so in reality he won gold AND silver. No big deal or anything.

February 18th, 2010

Lots of biathlon medals, and women’s snowboarding. But all I cared about was EVAN LYSACEK!!! WOOO! I had work that night, so I stood around watching skating for as long as I possibly could. But of COURSE I had to re-rack weights during Evan’s long program. I figured I’d sprint back to my room to see who won (because, of course, this was all happening at the exact time my shift ended and the gym closed), but on my way out I stopped at the TV in the atrium of the wellness center, just in time to see Evan find out that he won! I’ll never forget him jumping up and down like a little boy. <3

February 19th, 2010

Great Britain won their first individual gold medal in 30 years, and their first women’s title since 1952.

…Wait, WHAT?!

February 20th, 2010

Simon Amman won ski jumping for Switzerland. The only reason I feel like that’s worth mentioning is because I actually remember his name. He must be pretty good if an American who isn’t particularly interested in his sport remembers his name, right? :P

And APOLO! At basically midnight (aka technically February 21st, aka my birthday!), he won bronze in the 1000m, making him the most decorated Winter Olympian ever! I spent my last hour of being 18 clutching my face and yelling at the TV, and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. <3

February 21st, 2010

Ski cross made its Olympic debut. It’s been likened to BMX, New York cab drivers racing through traffic (which is enough to get MY nerves up!), and motocross on skis. And I believe this picture says it all.


There was also men’s and women’s curling (which I’m assuming team USA lost, and with good reason), ice dancing, and USA vs. Canada in men’s hockey (in which our boys were total ballers. Just sayin’!). Pretty good haul on my birthday this year!

February 22nd, 2010

On, the ENTIRE recap of this day was about the volunteers. I mean, kudos to them and all, but really? The Canadian ice dancing team won gold, the Russian team skated in really controversial Aboriginal costumes, and you write about the volunteers? In the words of Ron Weasley, you need to sort out your priorities!

February 23rd, 2010

…Alright, is seriously slacking on their summaries.

Team USA medaled in Nordic combined again, which was shocking (go Bill Demong!)! Bode Miller skied out during the giant slalom, which was NOT shocking. Sven Kramer, a Dutch speedskater, lost the gold medal when his coach kept him in the wrong lane, disqualifying him.

And ladies figure skating started! Mirai Nagasu got a bloody nose during her performance, Joannie Rochette skated brilliantly even after her mother’s sudden death two days before, and Kim Yu-Na… well, what can we even say? Besides BAMF, of course.

February 24th, 2010

The American women got bronze in bobsledding and the short track team relay, and Lindsey Vonn crashed and broke her finger. What else is new? Is she ever NOT injured? But what’s amazing is that she’s always injured and STILL competes!

February 25th, 2010

Kim Yu-Na didn’t win. Kim Yu-Na DOMINATED. It was total and utter annihilation. Mao Asada, the silver medalist was TWENTY THREE POINTS BEHIND, even though she landed TWO TRIPLE AXELS. HOW IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE?! Joannie Rochette won bronze, which was absolutely amazing.

Canada beat the US for women’s ice hockey gold, and the Canadian men’s curling team did something that the American team could only dream of: they WON! (Haha, my apologies and sincere love to the men’s curling team. But try and win some matches in Sochi, will ya?)

And the Norwegian men’s curling team won their semifinal as well. But I’m only talking about that so I can show this picture.

Bam. You rock those pants!

February 26th, 2010

Apolo was disqualified from the 500m. I believe you know my thoughts on this matter, yes? >.< But the relay team won bronze in a nail-biter!

The gold medal women’s curling match featured Canada vs. Sweden, and it was INTENSE! I’m pretty sure it was on while I was at work, and my coworker (the one who worked just to watch the Olympics) and I were legitimately freaking out over some of the shots. Have YOU ever gotten worked up about curling? ‘Cause it was new to me, but so much fun!! Sweden won in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion.

February 27th, 2010

The Canadian men’s curling team won gold – and was anyone surprised? Let me answer that for you: NOPE! I’ll give it to them, though, they were awesome. And the German team won the women’s team pursuit in speed skating. In the semifinals (against the US, actually), one of them fell right at the end. But in speed skating, the team finishes when the last member’s skate crosses the finish line. And her blade crossed the finish line before the last member of the US team. So she was flat on her stomach, basically beating the ice in despair, thinking she lost it for her team… but she didn’t. And then they won gold!

February 28th, 2010

One word: HOCKEYYYYYYY. Canada vs. USA for men’s gold. Oh man. So intense. Canada was leading 2-0 going into the third period, but Ryan Kesler made it 2-1. This was the score with 90 seconds left in the game, when the US pulled the goalie for an extra player. Zach Parise scored for team USA with 24 seconds left in the game. TWENTY FOUR SECONDS. I was watching with a group of friends, none of whom really care about hockey, all of whom SCREAMED when the goal was scored! A bunch of guys from down the hall sprinted into the room a second later; they were watching the game too, but their TV was delayed several seconds. They heard us scream and wanted to see what had happened, and ended up missing it on both ends. It was rather hilarious :). We ended up losing the game (damn you, Sidney Crosby!), but it was unbelievably exciting.

And then the Closing Ceremony happened, and just like that, it was over :(.

Is it Sochi 2014 yet? 1090 days and counting...

Best. Day. EVER.

Oh my god.


Okay. Let me compose myself before I write this, so it’s not just a jumble of incoherent text (as much fun as that is for everyone to read. [Jon, I'm looking at you]).

*Deep breath.*


So, I’m applying for internships this summer. As I’ve mentioned before, I REALLY want the internship with the USOC next summer, when the Olympics are in London, but I’ve got nothing to lose by applying for it this year too. Why not, right? It couldn’t hurt. Applications for it aren’t even posted on the website until March 7th (see, mom and dad, I’m doing my homework!), but I need to get a jump on things so on March 6th I’m not wondering why I was so damn lazy a month earlier. You know how it goes. ;P

On the USOC website, where they post the applications, it says that letters of recommendation aren’t necessary, but they’ll take them if you have them. I wasn’t quite planning on it, but then, if you recall one of my earlier entries (), an offer just fell into my lap. Gary Hall, Sr., former Olympic medal-winning swimmer, flag bearer for team USA during the 1976 closing ceremony, current vice president of the US Olympians Association, said he’d write one for me. OF HIS OWN FREE WILL, I might add. Completely unprompted. I swear, I didn’t even ask. I brought up the internship and he said “I’d be happy to write a letter of recommendation for you.”

No big deal. ;) (Though that has as much to do with HIS awesomeness as it does with mine. <3)

I didn’t actually realize how close we’re getting to application time until this weekend. Slick, right? It kind of hit me like a brick wall that, holy crap, I’ll be sending applications in in about a month! And if I want that letter, I should probably ask for it, like, yesterday. So during the Super Bowl (no joke), I wrote him an email (that I over-analyzed to death) congratulating him on everything awesome that’s happening with World Fit and asking if mayyyybeee he’d be willing to write me a letter.

He responded on Monday, but I didn’t get it until today (Tuesday). I was FREAKING OUT about reading it. I let it sit there for a while because I was so nervous about what it was going to say. I didn’t think he’d say no, but there was the possibility. And the thought of him saying yes was almost equally as scary! What is this "real world" you speak of?! :O

But I finally worked up the courage to open his email just now (wow, how lame am I? :P). And the verdict is…

I will be getting a recommendation letter for the USOC internship from GARY HALL! :D :D :D

I don’t even know what to do with myself right now. It’s midnight, and I have an 8 am class tomorrow, so I should really be going to sleep, but AAAAHHHHHHHH I DON’T THINK I CAN! I know this doesn’t guarantee me the internship (or even an interview) by any stretch of the imagination, but still! Even if I don’t get it, I’m going to have an OLYMPIAN writing about how awesome I am. I can't even tell you how much that means to me. :')

Sigh. Who would’ve thought a class assignment would’ve given me something like this? I think I need to pay Dr. Mullane a visit!