IDK My BFF Kerri Walsh Jennings

My internship is pretty cool sometimes. Well, a lot of times. I've already told you the story of how I had a Twitter conversation with Misty May-Treanor, and saw the men's national team play against Bulgaria, and talked to Karch Kiraly on the phone... but this one takes the cake:

I interviewed Kerri Walsh Jennings -- Six Feet of Sunshine, four-time Olympian, winner of three consecutive Olympic gold medals, most winningest women's beach volleyball player ever -- live and in person.

She's in town for a few events with Peak Vista Community Health Centers; first was a volleyball clinic for kids followed by a VIP reception, and the second day was a "Breakfast of Champions" at which she was the keynote speaker. USA Volleyball got a table at the breakfast so Kristina and I claimed seats because, hello, Kerri Walsh Jennings. But then word came down from The Powers That Be that we should give the event some coverage. Twist my rubber arm!

It was decided that we'd do a quick "Humans of Volleyball" photo/blurb of her on Instagram. Kristina and I were all ready to do it at the breakfast, but yesterday the plan changed -- we were going to the clinic that afternoon to catch her there instead! *insert mild panic here*

So we just, uh, casually strolled into the World Arena (seriously) and, y'know, introduced ourselves to Kerri Walsh Jennings (seriously). Luckily, though, we were with our boss; Charlie's interviewed pretty much every big-name athlete on the planet (seriously), so he breezed right in, chatted her up and presented The Interns. And she introduced herself back, as if we haven't known who she is since we were in middle school.

The actual clinic stuff came next, and Kristina snapped away on her fancy camera as Kerri helped some little kids play volleyball.

(My iPhone photos are pretty lame, but click HERE for a gallery of Kristina's pictures!)

I shagged a couple of balls, waiting nervously with my recorder and trying to keep my feet from going numb with cold (the floor was laid over the ice rink). The initial approach is always my least favorite part of interviewing people, and I felt like a really awkward vulture circling her as she signed autographs for a bunch of little kids. But I eventually snagged her! And LOOK, there's proof!

Photo cred to Kristina, awesome my partner in crime! #BallsNetsAndMoney
Clearly, she's about eight feet taller than I am. But it was a really great interview! Important people sidled up to her to try and steal her away, but she never broke eye contact and actually made me feel important. She's also incredibly sweet. :) Every sport should be so lucky to have an icon so passionate about growing the game and giving back to the next generation of players. (And I'm not just saying that because I work for USA Volleyball. Kerri gets it.)

It was a very giddy drive out of there with Kristina, let me tell you!

This morning, it was up and at 'em bright and early to head over to The Broadmoor (fancy shmancy) for the breakfast (they served steak. STEAK). It was definitely a good call talking to Kerri last night, as she was totally surrounded by people today.

Please ignore the giant ear on the right.

Kerri started her speech by stepping up to the podium, kicking off her shoes and saying, "Seriously, I don't know how you do it, ladies. I spend my days in bare feet. This is awful!" So I think it goes without saying that she's overwhelmingly, ridiculously likable, even before she donated a ton of money to Peak Vista and then offered a two-hour volleyball clinic to the silent auction to raise even MORE money. She's also a really good speaker. She flat out said that public speaking is way out of her comfort zone, but instead of being awkward about it, she was actually incredibly personable and engaging. (Again, not just saying this because I work for USA Volleyball.)

And when it was over, I got to go to work and transcribe my interview with Kerri. Then THIS HAPPENED!

We got a HEART from Kerri! :D

But my favorite part?

Who the heck are these random 38 people favoriting this?

And there's also this:

Yay, that's me! I'm one of the newbies! :)
I never know how to end posts like this. I'm all "FLAIL FLAIL FLAIL, so uh, yeah, it was pretty cool." But just know that Kerri is every bit as awesome as she seems on TV and in interviews and that we're totally BFFs now, obviously!

EDIT: Sooooo...

*drops mic*

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  1. This is one of my most favorite blogs ever! (Any blog that brings happy tears to my eyes is an automatic favorite!) USAV is as lucky to have such a passionate intern as you are to be there! And Kerri sounds like she's as sweet as, well, YOU!

    1. Oh yay, I do enjoy the happy tears! :D haha. Thankssss!

  2. This is such an adorably awesome blog post!
    ♥Emma, of It's Emma Elise