Playing Overseas by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on February 8, 2012
Hello all!! Playing volleyball overseas is definitely a blessing. You get to play the sport you love and travel to new places. However, sometimes, that travel is a little more of a burden than a blessing. For example, yesterday we left Sopot, Poland at 4:30am, drove to the Gdansk airport for a 6:30 flight. We flew the one hour it takes to get to Warsaw, which is a pretty big airport. We then had to walk around and find a transfer desk in order to get our next two tickets for the rest of our trip. We found one lady helping us, we have just about 18 people, so needless to say that took a little while. We had time though; we had a three hour layover there. Then we flew to the Moscow airport. We had to stand in line for a transfer security check for about 30 minutes. Time wasn't an issue here either because we had a nice five hour layover here. We then left on our last flight to Azerbaijan. We got in at 12:30am, only 17 hours later with the time change. While trips like this can take its toll on the body, it will all be worth it in the long run. Now that we're in Azerbaijan, we get to play against Nellie Spicer and Kim Glass, and also in this city are Heather Bown, Jennifer Tamas, and Tayyiba Haneef-Park. It will be so great to see so many Americans in a foreign city. It will make those 17 hours seem like a breeze. Our match against Kim and Nellie is the second of this round for the quarter finals in Champions League. We won the last match and a win against them would put us in the final four which would be an amazing accomplishment. If we lose, we immediately play a golden set, to determine who advances. Either way, it should be a fun night! Hopefully afterwards we'll have time for dinner and a chance to catch up with them. This will be a long road trip for us because after this match we head straight to play a team for Polish league, and after that we head straight to playoff game. We'll be gone a total of 8 days. It's important to break up long trips into pieces in order to keep our focus on each match, one at a time. It would be great to get back to Sopot with three wins under our belts. Wish us luck!!
2012! by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on January 30, 2012
Happy New Year!! This year is a big year for everyone involved in the Olympics!! Can't believe it's already here. However, there are still many events that occurred in 2011 that I would like to tell you about. First, is our trip to Zurich, Switzerland. This was my second trip to Switzerland this year as I went to Montreux earlier this summer with the National team and needless to say it was beautiful. We were going to Zurich to play a champions league match against Volero Zurich. We arrived a couple days before the match so we were able to walk around a bit. It was nice to get out for a bit and of course grab a Starbucks. :) The most important thing was the match and we were able to take care of business. We were able to beat them in 4 but they definitely put up a fight.
After we returned from Switzerland we took a trip to one of our sponsors to receive a gift. Since my first season we have been sponsored by a fur company called Melita. Melita is a well-known fur company all over Europe. In Russia fur is a must have, but a lot of people cannot afford high end fur because it is too expensive so needless to say the girls on my team were thrilled. My first season here I got a coat tailor made just for me. It was made out of beaver and fox. I also received a blanket made out of beaver. One fur coat is enough for me so last season I chose wolf pelt and also another blanket made out of beaver. This season I am considering the fox blanket in the picture below. We are hoping to use all the blankets as throws in our house, if I ever have one! Below you will see a picture of me and my teammate Gamova modeling some of the coats on display.
Before you know it Christmas was here!! This is always a tough time to be away from family. For me I always remember the many traditions I have with my family. This year we were fortunate enough to get to spend Christmas with the Priddy's. For those of you who don't know who the Priddy's are, Reid Priddy is an outside hitter with the US National team and was a member of the 2008 gold medal Olympic team. He is playing for the Kazan men's team and has brought along some of his family including his wife Lindsey, son Caden and his sister Dylan. Lindsey is a great host and made a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas day dinner. We had a small gift exchange but the most enjoyment came from watching Caden open his gifts. A special thank you to Reid and his family for making this Christmas memorable.
Christmas came and went and we were back to work. Next up was the Russian cup. The Russian cup is mid season tournament with the winning team qualifying for Champions league the following year. We were fortunate enough to win the cup last season and we wanted to try and bring it back to Kazan. Our semi-final match was against Krasnodar a very good team that includes my friend and teammate Foluke Akinradewo. We battled it out and there were some close sets but we came out on top. We couldn't relax because the next day was going to be a tough match. In the final we were to face Dinamo Moscow who is traditionally one of the best teams in the Russian SuperLeague. They pushed us and we had no answer. We took them to four but had a chance to win 2 other sets with game points in both. We made critical mistakes at the wrong time and it cost us the match. This was very disappointing for us and the club. There is no time to dwell as we still have over half the season left.
After we finished the Russian cup it was time to celebrate the New Year. For those of you that don't know New Years in Russia is like our Christmas in the States. Everything shuts down and it's their time to celebrate with family and friends. Lucky for me Foluke got to come to Kazan and celebrate with us. We went over to the Priddy's for dinner and hung out and played ping pong till it was time to ring in the New Year. We celebrated with champagne and sparklers (inside the apartment!). The next morning we returned to their apartment. My husband’s family has a New Year ’s Day tradition of making a pastry they call grebble so we carried on that tradition in Russia.
After spending a couple of days with us it was time for Foluke to return to her team. It was great getting to spend time with her. After she left we had to travel to a team in northern Siberia near the Arctic Ocean. They said normal temperatures reach as low as -50 Celsius. Fortunately it wasn't that cold outside. They did have some neat life sized ice sculptures outside their gym.
Every year our team treats us to a day of snow tubing at a local ski resort. We go tubing in the morning and then enjoy a nice lunch. Most girls bring their families as we get to swim and use the sauna at the resort. It is a great time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. This has been an eventful couple of weeks. I have truly enjoyed spending time with friends and celebrating the holidays. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2012, this year should be exciting.
Dream Big & Never Settle
A New Year, A New Blog by Brian Thornton
by Brynn Murphy on January 16, 2012
It's a new year. 2012. The year in which the world will end according to what I hope is an unpopular social interpretation of the Mayan calendar. But John Cusack was the bomb in that flick yo…not to mention his other numerical masterpiece, 1408, naturally. Will he ever outdo himself in High Fidelity or Being John Malkovich? Minus a time traveling hot tub…I think not. Enough cinematic babel. It's a new year and this is a new blog. My first blog ever and I'm certain to take some heavy fire from a particular blogging friend of mine who I have constantly ridiculed for being just that: A Blogger. A self-published writer giving their views and opinions to the world with one simple and free click of a mouse. The whole thing seems very egocentric and narcissistic to me. But then again, my Grandma is on Facebook. It's 2012 after all….who hasn't been Zuckerberged? And surely I will advertise this blog feverishly, by any means necessary, in order to promote myself and my new monthly cyber paradox. What do I think about the upcoming match in The Polish cup quarterfinals? Check out the blog. What will I be doing for the holidays? I tweeted that five minutes ago. My favorite book? Clearly you have not checked out my Facebook page. The blog is the last of the three headed social network beast and I have officially acquired all three. In the words of sports psychologist Ken Ravizza…I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to find out what 2012 may offer. The possibility of standing on that podium at the Olympics in the summer is usually my second thought every morning when I wake up. It's tough to beat Eggs or cereal. Cereal usually emerges victorious in that mental morning battle. You know…the whole no dishwasher and gas stove and no time thing. You were probably wondering if i was ever actually going to steer away from the preceding pointless banter and into a volleyball topic…I did briefly and will (at least it wasn't abrupt or interrupted by a breakfast tangent). A realistic approach to the summer….we have our work cut out for us. A sixth place finish at the last two major international tournaments has left us with a bitter taste in our mouths and a first place finish at Norcecas in May in order to clinch an Olympic qualification is paramount. It won't be easy. Canada is better, as is Puerto Rico and when the Cubans put it all together they can be a force. They're probably the most physical team in the world. We've certainly had our struggles but I know everyone is looking forward to the challenge...looking forward to the possibilities of 2012…and of course hoping that John Cusack doesn't have to save us all come late December.
Until Next Time,
Champions League by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on January 12, 2012
It has been a great December and beginning of January for my club team here in Russia. Over the holiday season, we won for the second time in a row the coveted Russian Cup. With this win, we automatically qualify for a spot in next seasons Champions League. For a team that is playing in its first Champions League this season, the opportunity to play two years in a row is quite the accomplishment. I want to congratulate all my teammates and coaching staff on playing so well and working so hard. We had a nice Christmas dinner (you have to realize that Christmas in Russia is on the 7th of January, not the 25th of December) with the team and our team President. He congratulated us on our success and is looking forward to future results.
I am currently in Innsbruck Austria gearing up for our next match in Champions League. If we can pull out another victory here we will qualify for the playoff round of 12. From that point on, it will be a draw of two teams. You will play one time away and one time at home. In the case of a 1 win and 1 lose split, the last match will include a one game to 15 Golden Set to determine who advances. Hopefully we can continue our good team play and move on to the next round. I am optimistic about our chances in this tournament. I feel like we are playing at a very high level and that we can compete against anyone. We have a good mix of experienced and talented players.
[Pic from Innsbruck, Austria]
I am really enjoying my time playing in Russia. The level of volleyball is fantastic and I get to play with a great group of teammates. What more could you ask for?
Follow me on Twitter! @RyanMillarMizun
Hello from Poland! by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on January 9, 2012
Hello from Poland friends!!! I am currently playing professionally in Sopot, Poland. I've just gotten settled in and I'm getting to know my coaches and teammates. We have girls from all over, Megan Hodge from USA is on my team, two German players, a girl from Spain, and a girl from Turkey. Our coaches are Italian and it's amazing how much English everyone knows. I am trying to learn a little Polish to meet the girls halfway, but I can tell you it's a very complicated language. We're in Champions League which means we play teams outside of Poland. Jordan Larson's Russian team came here to play. We lost, but she and her husband came out to dinner afterwards and we had a wonderful time.
The city of Sopot is beautiful, our apartment complex is right near the sea, it's just a very short walk away. They say it's even prettier in the summer. Megan and I were told it was going to be very, very cold here and that it would snow a lot. I'm sure it will, but it hasn't yet, which has been wonderful!! It meant we didn't have snow for Christmas, but considering it's one less month without snow, I'm pretty happy. I Skyped my family for Christmas, it was wonderful. It's amazing how technology can make people in different continents feel like they're in the same room.
I wish everyone a belated Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!! You can keep up with me on twitter…@aglass6. If anyone wants to know more about Poland or how the season is going, send a tweet or a direct message!!
Greetings from Kazan, Russia by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on January 4, 2012
Greetings from Kazan, Russia. I am currently playing on my professional team Dinamo-Kazan. Kazan is located about half way between Moscow and Siberia (See if you can find us on the map below). I have a lot to update everyone on...So here comes my book.
After getting that nice break at home, we all reported back to California to begin our next training block. This next tournament we were about to play in, the World Cup, was the first qualification for the Olympics. Little did I know that this was going to be one of the hardest tournaments I would every play in. The coaching staff kept reminding us that we would be playing 11 matches in 15 days. I was like okay this isn't much different from other tournaments like Grand Prix...but man was I wrong. The World Cup is by far the hardest both physically and mentally I have ever played in. We started out with two very difficult teams, Brazil & Serbia. We had just recently beat both of them at Grand Prix so we knew that they would both be difficult games. Leading up to these two matches I had a lot of anxiety as a player because we had been training for so long for this tournament and I didn't want to let my teammates down. I was trying to find the best way to both mentally and physically prepare myself while trying not to over think things at the same time and just go play. This is a constant battle for me, trying to prepare but not over think the game. I play my best when I am having fun with a game plan in mind. Thanks to a wonderful team effort we were fortunate to win both of these games. I think the one thing that always calms me as a player is that I am not alone out there! I have 5/6 other people out there that always have my back. This is why I believe volleyball is the ultimate team sport and the relationships I build with all my teammates is why I love the game so much. We kept rolling after that and we beat the next two teams on our schedule, Korea and Kenya. We were on a high until the German team kept us grounded. We got swept in 3. They played a great match and we just couldn't respond. This did not affect our goal, but it did help us refocus to keep pushing through this tournament. We were sitting in second place most of the tournament right behind Italy who was undefeated. We didn't face Italy until the second to the last match. We had to win this game in order to guarantee us a spot in the Olympics. It was such a emotionally intense match. I love and truly enjoy playing in matches like this. There is a lot of pressure and I am nervous before it starts, but it is nice to be able to go to battle with such a great team. We ended up winning in 4 which guaranteed us a spot in the 2012 LONDON OLYMPICS!!!!! This has been a dream of mine and every time I think about it it gives me goosebumps.. To think that I have thought about this since I was 12 years old. I am one step closer to actually making the Olympics. Wow!! :) After beating Italy we were sitting in first place. We played Japan to win it all but we feel short. Japan always plays great at home in front of their fans and we just couldn't respond. Even though we didn't win we still got silver and qualified for the Olympics. It would have been nice to win but it was definitely a relief to qualify. At this point Italy, USA, China, and the host team are qualified for the Olympics. The remaining 8 teams will be determined through additional tournaments.
After we finished the World cup.... It was time to say goodbye to all of my American teammates as we all go our separate ways and meet up again next year. It is hard to leave the girls since you spend so much time together and share in such great memories. In going our separate ways, some of us left straight from Japan and some of us got to go home for a couple of days. I was one of the lucky ones that was able to go home for a few days. We landed in LAX on the 19th of November and I flew back to Nebraska the same day. I got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and eat lots of turkey. It was great to see so much of my family since it is rare that I am home. I got to spend the next four days with my husband and I left for Russia the day after Thanksgiving. Our flight to Russia usually takes us about a full day. After leaving Nebraska we had a layover in Chicago which allowed us to grab one last American meal and watch the Nebraska football game. From here we traveled to Frankfurt, Germany and then on to Moscow. After clearing customs in Moscow we had one more short flight to Kazan. Finally, after a long day we made it safely to our new apartment in Kazan. This is my third season with this team and I have been lucky in that every year I have upgraded to newer apartments. (pictures below) The next day we went to the store with our team manager and translator Kirill. The first year we came here he was a translator who spoke very little English. How does that work?! He has come a long ways since that day and it has been nice to see how he has progressed.
We got settled and within a couple of days we had our first game. This game was different than the ones I have played in the past. Since we won the Russian league last year it qualified us for a different league this year. This league is called Champions League. It is a collection of teams from all over Europe who have also finished first or second in their league. This means instead of only playing one Russian Championship game a week we are also playing teams from all over Europe during the week. Our first champions league game was at home against a team from the Czech Republic. We won in 5 but it was not pretty. This team shouldn't have been competing with us. We were the better team but we were still working out the problems and getting used to playing together again.
We then had the next day off which was nice to be able to relax and get our apartment situated. It wasn't long and we were preparing to play again. We traveled to Moscow to play a team there and we won 4. It was a better performance on our part but we still needed to work some things out. We didn't have time to think about this game because the next day we were off to Gydansk, Poland. This is where two of my American teammates play, Alisha Glass and Megan Hodge. We arrived two nights before we played them and had a chance to go watch them play. It was great to see them but of course weird to see them with another team. I was able to say a quick hello to them after the game then it was back to the hotel to prepare for the match coming up. Their team's name is Atom Sopot. They are a very talented team not just because of Megan and Alisha but they also have two players from the German national team and a turkish outside hitter. It was for sure going to be a tough match and it was going to test our team. We ended up matching up against them nicely, played our best game thus far and beat them in 3. We will play them again in Kazan on the 11th of January. It will be interesting to see what they do differently and if we can play at the same level of consistency. After the game Luke and I were able to go out to dinner with Alisha and Megan. We joined them at a little Italian restaurant and shared in some good conversation and pizza. It was nice to have a little English speaking in our lives. If you would like to watch our champions league games just go to www.laola.tv1.com and they will have live streams of our games. We usually play on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
That is all for now... I will keep you updated on our eventful December as we travel to Switzerland and get to celebrate Christmas in Russia with American outside hitter Reid Priddy and his family. To all my family, friends, and teammates...know that I am thinking about you wherever you are in the World. Happy Holidays! May you truly understand the reason for the season. Dream Big & Never Settle
Great Sadness Surrounded the End of a Remarkable Season
by Luke Donald on December 21, 2011
The loss of my father came at what was supposed to be a time of great joy for Diane and I. My dad died at the birth of our second daughter, so that produced a wide range of emotions. It was something you can never prepare for.
Dad was immensely proud of my achievements. The year 2011 has been a break-out year for me, an amazing year – a season that, as a golfer, you always aspire to. It was nice for everything I have worked for to come to fruition. Sometimes that hard work doesn’t always pay off but this year it did.
It all started with my win at the Accenture Matchplay. That gave me great confidence and then I was able to get to the top of the world with my win at Wentworth. Another great win in the Scottish Open showed that I was where I belonged and then the win in the Disney might just have been my most satisfying win – the manner in which I did it and what was on the line.
I’ve had so many positives this year and now a lot of awards are coming in at the end of the year: US and European Player of the Year and the Golf Writers award.
It’s hard to pinpoint when I moved up another level. I guess I just needed that one big win for proof. It was probably the Matchplay that opened the doors. Winning is very important because it breeds a lot of confidence. I could probably even go back to the previous year’s Madrid Masters. Just winning that smaller event was huge for my confidence.
To consolidate this, I have good people around me: my coach Pat Goss and also Dave Alred, my fitness coaches Ben Shear and Craig Knight and my caddie John McLaren. All of them are looking at ways for me to try and improve. And I have a very loving a supportive family. That’s all helped me get to the level I’ve achieved.
I don’t believe I’ve changed that much. It’s just been a case of constant improvement and trying to get everything a little sharper. But at the beginning of this year I certainly spent a lengthy time on the range before I began my season. I had six full weeks of good, hard work. In previous years I didn’t have as much time as that. I’d always started the year off earlier and that way it’s always hard to ingrain any improvement in your swing. That six weeks was very key.
I was able to really get the club, at the top of the backswing, in a neutral position. It wasn’t quite as shut. That has helped my driving, for sure. My accuracy on the US Tour went up and I led the driving accuracy stats in Europe. Everything starts with that. Get the ball on the fairway and it makes everything a little bit easier. I’ve always said the short-game is the key to scoring and I’ve maintained my strengths in that over the last year, but I’ve certainly improved my long game enough to where it’s shaved off a few strokes here and there. That is the difference between a decent year like I had in 2010 and a break-out year this year.
If you’re playing well, too, you can play well at any course. I think I showed that with some of the wins I had. The Matchplay was on one of the longest courses we play all year; Wentworth’s quite a narrow course; Castle Stuart is quite a wide-open course. But the key to winning both money-lists has been an amazing amount of consistency. I still think there is room for improvement but all parts of my game are reasonably consistent.
I’m looking for an even better year next. There are certain things in my career I haven’t achieved yet – winning a major, obviously. In the modern game pros are judged on how they do in the majors and how many they’ve won. Jack, Tiger, Nick Faldo, Seve...they were able to win multiple majors. At the same time, though, what I’ve proved this year is that I was able to pick up awards without winning a major. The golf writers’ award, from the people that really know golf, told me a lot. It said, well you didn’t win a major but you still played the best of anyone this year.
I’ve got the prospect of a new start clubs-wise next year. For the last couple of months I’ve been given some MP-69s and 59s to try. I did a Master Class shoot for Mizuno and I used the 59s during that shoot. They felt quite nice. I’m going to take a few weeks off without playing any golf and then when I pick up the clubs again next year there’s a good chance I’ll put the 59s in play. I’ll be starting my year in Abu Dhabi, have a couple of weeks off and then start again in L.A.
Next year’s Ryder Cup will be another matter to concentrate on soon enough. There’s talk of me reporting back to Ollie about the course for a start. I live only 30 minutes away from the Ryder Cup course, Medinah. I’ve played it quite a few times but they have just re-designed it and I haven’t played the new design. I will be going there a few times over the summer and maybe that will help Ollie with his captaincy. Obviously I’ve got to make sure I’m on the team. If I keep playing the way I am playing, it shouldn’t be a problem.
World Cup by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on December 21, 2011
The World Cup is over and now it is back to our professional teams. Some guys actually flying from Japan to their respective clubs. The tournament did not go as we all would have liked unfortunately. We ended up losing some costly matches early in the tournament against Brazil, Russia, and Italy. Those losses pretty much sealed our fate of not being able to qualify for the Olympics there. The tournament was long and grueling as expected. Each day becoming more difficult than the next. We ended the tournament with a few wins against some good teams like Argentina and Cuba. So what is next in the qualification process for us? We will play in our zone qualifier in May in Puerto Rico. The teams that we will compete against are Puerto Rico, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, etc... We must WIN this tournament to qualify. It is obviously very important for us to do so.
Back to our professional teams, means back to the grind and rigors of playing overseas. The long practices and lots of travel, especially for the many guys participating in this year’s European Cups. I am currently in Istanbul Turkey. We played against the Turkish Champion Fenerbache here and came out victorious 3-0. We now are going directly to our next Russian League match in Surgut Russia. They are in the same region of the standings as we are so it will be important for us to come out with a win.
LUKE DONALD NAMED 2011 PGA TOUR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
by Iver Maple on December 13, 2011
Mizuno’s own Luke Donald was announced as the 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem following a vote by PGA Tour players. Donald earned the honor by capturing the PGA Tour money list title on the strength of two PGA Tour victories and a Tour-leading 14 top-10 finishes. This prestigious honor is the perfect cap to a spectacular 2011 season for the World’s #1 Player.
Donald’s wins at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic helped solidify his PGA Tour Player of the Year title. His come-from-behind victory at Disney concluded his finest year on the PGA Tour by earning $6.68 million and his first ever PGA Tour money title. Donald was also the PGA Tour’s leader in adjusted scoring average at 68.86, earning him both the Vardon Trophy and Byron Nelson Award. Donald led the PGA Tour with 14 top-10 finishes in 19 events.
For the 28thconsecutive week Donald sits atop the World Golf Rankings, which apart from Tiger Woods run at number one from 2005 to 2010, is the longest stretch since Greg Norman’s 96 weeks from 1995 to 1997. Donald made more history this past weekend as he became the first player in history to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists in the same year, as he finished third at the Dubai World Championships. Mizuno is extremely proud of all that Luke has been able to accomplish in 2011 and we can’t wait to see what he does in 2012!
Luke Donald Continues His World Domination With History Making Money List Sweep
by Iver Maple on December 12, 2011
Mizuno PGA Tour Staffer Luke Donald capped off an incredible 2011 season by capturing the European Money List Title with his third place finish at the Dubai World Championships, completing the first-ever money list sweep on the PGA and European Tour. With four victories worldwide, including The Accenture WGC Match Play Tournament, The European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the Barclays Scottish Open, as well as the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Donald completed the most successful season of his career.
Utilizing his high performance Grain Flow Forged MP irons, MP T-11 wedges, and Mizuno CLK Fli-Hi, Donald completed a spectacular weekend of golf at the Dubai World Championships with consecutive rounds of 6-under 66, including birdies on the final three holes to finish the tournament in third place and cement his legacy as the PGA Tour and European Tour money list title winner. Donald, who only missed two cuts all year, finished top-10 in 20 out of 26 events entered and went an incredible 449 holes without three-putting. He can now add this history making accomplishment to the PGA of America Player of the Year award and Vardon Trophy, which he has already secured for 2011.
Cover Story on Bob Puccini in Smart Business Atlanta Magazine
by Mizuno USA on December 7, 2011
The December issue of Smart Business Atlanta magazine features a cover story on Mizuno USA President Bob Puccini. This multi-page article discusses the transformation of the Mizuno Brand from a company chasing revenue when Bob arrived in 1996, to a company with a premium perception that achieved record profits in 2010, and how that was accomplished through the development of remarkable product, and personalized brand experiences (Run With Us, Performance Fitting System) for our consumers and customers.
Bob talks with the publication about his best business practices, including being honest with yourself and playing to your strengths, bringing in the right people who have tangible consumer products experience and can embrace the challenger spirit of the Mizuno culture, and the importance of improving your processes by listening to the pulse of the organization.
Smart Business is a management journal providing insight and advice for top decision-makers. Each edition includes features articles on management strategies of CEOs of leading local companies. In addition, Smart Business partners with leading service providers to deliver expert advice to their senior management audience.
Here is a link to the story:
The Baseball Zone: Building Tradition
by Rick Johnston on December 5, 2011
It is our passion for baseball that led to the creation of The Baseball Zone. Our elite, indoor baseball training complex provides and fosters an understanding and love for this game like no other. It is designed to be a welcoming home for baseball and softball players of all ages and playing levels. We employ the very best training philosophies, equipment and staff to fully assist our athletes to reach their goals. We maintain a sporting atmosphere that will add to the enjoyment of baseball for everyone that comes through our doors. We will also make your every visit to The Baseball Zone a friendly, invigorating experience that the team, the youth and the elite athlete will be challenged by, learn from and want to return to again and again.
The Baseball Zone is entering its 9th year in the baseball training industry. The BaseballZone roots began in 2003 with the opening of a 15,000 square foot building located in Mississauga, Ontario. Principle owners Mike McCarthy and Rick Johnston have spent countless hours over the last 9 years developing and enhancing programs that can be tailored to the needs of every player that walks through the doors. The program offerings have expanded from the early years of basic instructional clinics, team programs and private lessons to High Performance Programs that operate year round.
Additionally, in 2007 The Baseball Zone added a Strength and Conditioning service to our business portfolio, Sports Specific Training (SST), that is a provider of programs for functional strength that all aspiring athletes need to get to their optimal level of performance. Similar to the High Performance Baseball Programs that operate year round, the strength and conditioning, SST Canada program does the same. Their athletes are not just aspiring baseball players, college or professional players, they also synergize with athletes in many other sport disciplines such as hockey, soccer, volleyball and basketball.
The relationship with the Mizuno Brand goes hand in hand...Mizuno is considered the worldwide leader of baseball products, research and development, while The Baseball Zone strives to continue to be the industry leader in the commitment to teaching of the game. The Baseball Zone would like to thank Mizuno Canada for its support and sponsorship of Mizuno product, apparel and footwear. If you have not used Mizuno product then you haven’t used the best. Please follow us at www.thebaseballzone.ca review our baseball blogs, check for upcoming events and programs. In addition, for info on Sports Specific Training please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Baseball Zone
My 4th World Cup by Ryan Millar
by Brynn Murphy on November 8, 2011
This month has been about gearing up and getting ready to begin the qualification process for the upcoming Olympic Games. That will begin on November 20th in Japan at the World Cup. The top 3 teams out of the 12 participating will qualify. Personally this will be my 4th World Cup with Team USA, the previous 3 we have finished in 4th place. We have finished one spot away from qualifying each time. I am definitely looking forward to breaking that streak this time. We had our first practice today and it was great to get back into the gym after being in Russia. We tried to work out the kinks of long travel and recently played matches with all the many club teams we are playing for. We are trying to get everyone on the same page so we can hit the ground running when we arrive in Japan. The qualification process is not easy by any means. Like I already stated, trying to qualify at the World Cup is tough enough. If that doesn’t happen, you must win your zone qualifier which will be held in May. If you do not win your zone qualifier, you are put into random pools of the remaining teams trying to qualify and you must win that to qualify. We have three chances to get to London. I look forward to making that process as short as possible. Wish us luck! Go Team USA
World Cup by Alisha Glass
by Brynn Murphy on November 2, 2011
Greetings all! The team is back in Japan and getting ready for World Cup, the first attempt at Olympic qualification. We came to Japan a little bit early in order to acclimate ourselves with time change, climate change, etc. We trained and competed hard against each other in order to prepare for the tough schedule ahead. This will be our last venture together as a team before we head to our professional teams. We first stayed in a beautiful city called Otsu. Our hotel overlooks the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa. Although we prepared ourselves for a colder climate than Southern California, we found this place to be sunny and beautiful for the time we were there.
Our next destination is Nagano, Japan. It’s supposed to be a little colder than the last place. It’s also a 5+ hour drive from the last city we were in. The bus was pretty quiet, everyone was either tuned into their ipods, watching a movie on their laptop, or reading. It was my goal of the trip to finish my book. I was reading, “Long Walk To Freedom”, by Nelson Mandela. It’s a wonderfully inspiring book that I recommend to all. It also had taken me quite a long time to read, so it was nice to accomplish my goal.
It’s November 2nd, and we play on the fourth against Brazil. It’s going to be a tough start to play such a strong team right off the bat, and we also face Serbia and Korea, so there won’t be much of a let up. It is World Cup, there isn’t really such a thing as a weak team at this point! Our practices have been really competitive and we’re playing high level volleyball on a consistent basis. I see no reason for that not to continue throughout this tournament.
Keep us in your thoughts as we represent our country and we work to secure a trip to London in 2012. We’ll take all the support we can get! Thanks!
Luke Donald Wins the PGA of America Player Of The Year Award And The Vardon Trophy
by Iver Maple on November 1, 2011
Coming off his recent victory at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, Mizuno Brand Ambassador Luke Donald’s remarkable year continues as he has received the 2011 PGA of America Player of the Year Award and the Vardon Trophy.
Donald becomes the second native of England to win the PGA of America Player of the Year award, joining Nick Faldo (1990); and he is the second Briton to capture the Vardon Trophy, first presented to “Lighthorse” Harry Cooper in 1937.
The PGA Player of the Year, first presented in 1948, and the Vardon Trophy, which originated in 1937, are The PGA of America’s premier season-ending awards for excellence by a PGA Tour professional.
In dominating the Vardon Trophy race, Donald registered 73 complete rounds with an average of 68.86 to garner the award that is presented to the player with the lowest adjusted season scoring average. Runner-up Webb Simpson averaged 69.25 based upon 98 rounds, and Steve Stricker was third with 69.36 after 70 rounds.
The PGA of America has honored the game’s best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award since 1948. The award is presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages. The PGA Tour also recognizes its annual Player of the Year, with the winner determined by a vote of the membership. The PGA Tour Player of the Year, who receives the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, will be announced by the Tour in December.
Since 1948, The PGA of America has honored the game's best players with The PGA Player of the Year Award. The award is currently presented to the top touring professional based on a point system for tournament wins, official money standings, and scoring averages.
JPX-800 Swing to Win Challenge Recap
by Mizuno USA on October 31, 2011
Meet the winners of Mizuno's national sweepstakes, the JPX-800 Swing to Challenge, and relive their experience of playing a dream round of golf with Mizuno PGA Tour Stars Luke Donald and Charles Howell III.
The Baseball Zone: RIck Johnston Talks Mizuno
by Rick Johnston on October 26, 2011
Rick Johnston is the Co-Founder and Director of Baseball Operations at the highly successful Baseball Zone (www.thebaseballzone.ca) in Mississauga Ontario. Rick is one of Mizuno's biggest supporters and is truly someone who believes in the Mizuno Brand. Rick has worked with some of the best talent Canada has produced in the game of baseball. Whether it is big leaguers coming home in the off-season or a youngster just picking up the game, Rick demonstrates a unique ability to teach any skill level and get the best out of each player. Rick is also an avid golfer and loves his custom Mizuno irons! Rick will be blogging for Mizuno Canada , this is his first entry. Rick also blogs for the Baseball Zone and his entries can be found here: http://www.thebaseballzone.ca/baseball-instructors-rick-johnston-toronto.html. - Adam Vella Mizuno Canada
"I was first introduced to the Mizuno Brand Baseball product line in 1987 as I prepared to play for Canada and compete in the Pan American Games in Indianapolis, USA. It was then, that I absolutely fell in love with the Mizuno Brand of gloves, shoes, pullovers and batting gloves. My first Mizuno glove was a GOC 6 World Win that I used for the remaining summer and subsequently at the University of British Columbia as I played with the National Baseball Institute. The next year while playing for Canada in the 1988 Olympics, I had the opportunity to use the Mizuno World Win GOC7. I truly cannot speak enough about the quality of each glove. The only significant difference with the gloves was the actual size. The shape, finger slots and lacing were virtually seamless from each other. When I retired as a player and subsequently inducted into the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame, I donated the GOC7 glove as part of my contribution to the Hall.
Why then do I believe in the Mizuno brand of baseball product? First and foremost, the quality of the workmanship put into each piece of equipment is top drawer. The Mizuno manufacturing group spends countless hours in their research and development of every piece of equipment that leaves the assembly line. Their gloves are manufactured with the best leather making for the best feel and durability of any glove on the market. Similarly, the Mizuno baseball or coaching shoes are made with each foot in mind, with soft breaking in material that allows for maximum performance and comfort. Professional baseball players are not unlike the amateur player, in that, when a piece of equipment feels right on their hand, on their feet or on their body, it is expected that performance will be as good as the equipment feels or looks.
Recently Mizuno came out with a new revelation to the glove industry that has become paramount to how gloves are broken in. Many consumers purchasing gloves fail to understand the importance of a really how stiff a good glove is when it leaves the Mizuno factory. Thus, the Mizuno Steamer, that is, a machine that the consumer can place the glove into and have it essentially moulded to the shape of their hand, but more importantly allow the glove to break in the way it is designed to break in. It is highly recommend that when purchasing a Mizuno glove, if the opportunity arises that you have this opportunity to steam your glove, go ahead and do it. It will do wonders to the break in period and overall feel of the glove.
The Mizuno bat line, all I can say is WOW. From Ash to Maple to Bamboo, a great selection of wood that meets the needs of different players in both ability and strengths. The Mizuno line of bats performs with the MLB players in mind but they have the look and style that meets the needs of any aspiring player. The cool RUNBIRD logo stands out amongst its competitors in aesthetics, performance and durability. After all, aren’t these three items most important?
Mizuno, without question is the industry leader in the product line of baseball worldwide. Check with your nearest dealer to get fit to the Mizuno product that best fits your needs."
Men's National Baseball Team Looking for Gold Vs. USA
by Adam Vella on October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
Courtesy of baseball.ca and Adam Morissette (Media and Public Relations Coordinator)
Lagos de Moreno, Mexico-A 5-3, semi-final win over host Mexico has propelled Canada into Tuesday’s gold medal contest at the Pan Am Games. Canada will take-on the Unites States and attempt to win the countries first ever gold medal in a major international baseball event at the senior level.
Over 5,000 raucous Mexican fans were sent home disappointed as the Canadians celebrated the victory.
“It feels great,” said Canadian Manager, Ernie Whitt of the win over Mexico. “Our goal at the beginning of the tournament was to win gold and we’ve put ourselves in a position to do so.”
Things did not start well for Canada as Mexico took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on the strength of a three-run homer off Canadian starter, Shawn Hill (Mississauga, ON).
“You hate to get behind that early, but we had the confidence to come back,” explained Whitt. “We knew that we had eight more innings left to play.”
Canada answered back in the top of the second with two runs to cut the lead to one. With two runners on, Jamie Romak (London, ON) ripped a double to left field to bring in a run and a wild-pitch followed that scored Brock Kjeldgaard (London, ON) from third base.
Hill shook off the homerun he let up in the first and settled in nicely allowing only two base runners during the remainder of his outing. Hill threw five innings total and fanned three batters along the way.
“Pitching is about throwing a hitters timing off and Shawn did that tonight,” said Whitt.
Before Hill’s outing was complete, Canada had taken a 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth. Chris Robinson (Dorchester, ON) and Tim Smith (Toronto, ON) hit back-to-back singles and Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, BC) walked to load the bases.
Mexico decided to make a pitching change and Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) greeted the new pitcher with a single to centerfield to score Robinson with the tying run. With Smith now standing on third, a wild-pitch allowed him to score the go ahead run to quiet the Mexican crowd.
Canada added another run in the sixth when Skyler Stromsmoe (Bow Island, AB) belted a solo homerun over the fence in right field.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit so it was nice to get that one,” said Stromsmoe. “It gave us a little momentum and shut theirs down.”
Dustin Molleken (Regina, SK) came on in relief of Hill and provided Canada with two solid innings on the mound. Molleken worked his way out of a jam in the sixth where runners were on the corners with two out by getting an infield pop-up that was caught by Bowman.
After Molleken threw a scoreless seventh Chris Kissock (Trail, BC) came on and pitched a three-up, three-down eighth that saw Stromsmoe make a defensive gem for the second out of the inning that saved a sure hit.
In the ninth with the Mexican crowd at their feet, the lead-off hitter reached first base when Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) committed an error at shortstop. Malo redeemed himself on the very next play as he fielded a ball and flipped to Stromsmoe to start a double play.
Kissock then caught a comebacker to the mound, threw to first to end the game and send Canada to tomorrow’s gold medal final.
Canada will now turn their focus towards the United States who defeated Cuba 12-10 earlier today.
“The US has been swinging the bat extremely well lately,” commented Whitt. “We’re going to have to pitch well, play sound defence and hopefully our hitters will come through.”
Notes: It is expected that Andrew Albers (North Battleford, SK) will start for Canada in the gold medal game which gets underway at 7pm CT…Unfortunately there is no television coverage or live streaming of the gold medal game in Canada…The following link: http://deportesmx.terra.com.mx/rumbo-a-2012/guadalajara-2011/ will have a live stream of the gold medal game, but is not available in Canada…Live scoring can be found by visiting www.usabaseball.com…You can also receive LIVE in-game updated by following Baseball Canada on Twitter: www.twitter.com/baseballcanada
Luke Donald Wins PGA Tour's Final Event and Money Title
by Mizuno USA on October 24, 2011
Mizuno PGA Tour Staffer and World #1 Golfer Luke Donald finished off his remarkable 2011 PGA Tour season in grand fashion, winning the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Trailing by five shots entering Sunday, Donald fired an 8-under 64 in the final round, starting off the back nine with six consecutive birdies. He went on to finish 17-under for the tournament, winning by two shots.
"After the eighth hole, it wasn't looking good," said Donald. "My caddie and I talked Saturday night that I hadn't really gotten on a run yet this week. What better time to get on a run than the back nine on Sunday. It's nice to do it under pressure when I need to."
With this victory at the CMNHC, Donald earned the 2011 PGA Tour money crown, netting $864,000 for this win, and bringing his season total to $6,683,214. This is Donald's second PGA Tour victory of the year, having also won the WGC Accenture Match Play in February. Donald led the PGA Tour in scoring average with 68.86, earning him the Vardon Trophy. He also had 14 top 10 finishes out of 19 total events played in 2011, making a clear statement to become the 2011 PGA Tour Player of the Year.
"This was a tremendous year for me," said Donald. "A lot of critics questioned whether I should be No. 1 in the world. To play well under this kind of pressure is great."
Now, Donald sets his sights on the Race to Dubai, the European Tour's money title, where he leads by 1.3 million Euros. Donald is trying to become the first player to win both money titles in the same year.
Tops Volleyball's Jeff Chung
by Adam Vella on October 21, 2011
Jeff Chung will be blogging online for Mizuno Canada in efforts to grow volleyball in the GTA. Jeff runs the very successful TOPS Volleyball Academy and has a serious passion for Mizuno. Jeff was a 4-time ALL-CANADIAN during his time at U of Toronto. Jeff competed both on the national level and international level as one of the nations best amateur and professional players. We're very excited to have Jeff on board with Mizuno to offer his insights online for our passionate readers, thanks Jeff!
Founder & Director
TOPS Volleyball Academy
TOPS Volleyball Academy is entering its fourth year with the Ontario Volleyball Association providing elite volleyball camps for athletes across Ontario. The philosophy of this academy derives from the name itself, T.O.P.S, which stands for Toronto Ontario Player Skill development camps. It has been a passion for Jeff Chung and his staff to give back to the volleyball community while implementing a high performance-training atmosphere to challenge athletes and advance them to the next level of play. TOPS has grown beyond traditional camps and now offer specialized setting and passing clinics along with personalized tutoring for individual athletes and club teams.
The reputation that the TOPS Academy has established would not have been possible without the branding and sponsorship of Mizuno Canada. TOPS strives to be one of the best volleyball academy for young athletes. The fusion with Mizuno has accelerated the academy’s success and TOPS is extremely proud that they are under the Mizuno culture providing a commitment to excellence for athletes across our province and the nation!
TOPS Volleyball Academy would like to extend its great appreciation to Mizuno for believing in us and helping our program enrich the lives of our volleyball community. Please follow us at www.topsvolleyball.comfor updates and upcoming events.
Ian Kinsler Sparks 9th Inning Rally for Rangers in World Series Game 2
by Mizuno USA on October 21, 2011
Mizuno Brand Ambassador Ian Kinsler started the rally for the Texas Rangers in the top of the ninth inning in Game 2 of the 2011 World Series. Trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 1-0 entering the inning, Kinsler led off with a bloop single into shallow left field, then stole second to get into scoring position. Kinsler would eventually score the first run of the game for Texas on a sacrifice fly, and then watched from the dugout as his teammates tacked on another run to take a 2-1 lead. The Rangers held on for the win over the Cardinals, and tied the series at 1-1. The World Series now shifts to Texas for games 3, 4, and 5. Kinsler plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited GMP41 Ball Glove, wears custom 9-Spike Vintage G6 Cleats and 5 inch Mizuno Wristbands, uses the Global Elite Batting Gloves, and swings the Mizuno Pro Maple MZM243 Bat.
Q&A with PGA Tour Staffer Charles Howell III
by Mizuno USA on October 20, 2011
Below are a series of interview questions from Mizuno PGA Tour Staff Member Charles Howell III. Charles reflects upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season, talks about his mental preparation for golf, and how he works to improve his game.
Charles reflecting upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season.
Charles talking about how he mentally prepares for the game of golf.
Charles discusses how he works to improve his golf game.
Norceca's by Jordan Larson
by Brynn Murphy on October 20, 2011
This last month has been a wild ride but a good one! We ended up going undefeated and winning Norceca's. It was a great all around tournament for us. We continually got better as the tournament went on and we proved why we are #2 in the World. It was fun to go back to Puerto Rico to see everyone. I played there my first season overseas and it was great to go back and see all the wonderful people that I met and played with. As with every tournament it brings its challenges. It was my mom's two year anniversary since her death on the 16th of September. The 16th of September was also the most important day in the tournament. We had to play Cuba to go to the finals and qualify for World Cup. Cuba is a very dangerous team because they can turn it on and become unstoppable. On this day I struggled with remembering my mom but also being there for my team. I wanted to reflect on the memories I had but I knew that she would want me to focus on the game. She never wanted me to worry about her when she was here and I know she would not want me to worry about her now but just know that she is with me wherever I am. I felt like she was with me that night guiding my heart and giving to my teammates.
After winning Norceca's we got a week off!!!! Yes I SAID IT! ONE WEEK OFF! :) This was a much needed break both physically and mentally for me. This week started out right with a trip to Omaha with the besties! We were able to shop a little and grab lunch. Two of my best friends were also my teammates and former senior captains of the 2008 Nebraska Volleyball team. Every chance I make it back to Nebraska I try and see these two lovely ladies. We have shared in a lot of important things in each other's lives such as winning a national championship, participating in each other's weddings and now Rachel Schwartz (Culwell) is pregnant and we can not wait to spoil her little girl. Getting to spend some good quality time with family and friends was amazing.
While at home I also got to help celebrate my cousins 21st birthday. We went out to dinner and then followed and finished the night off with heading downtown. It was great to spend time with them and help celebrate this momentous occasion. Happy birthday Megan! So glad I got to spend it with you and your friends! :)
My husband Luke and I got to help celebrate our friends wedding that weekend. Luke was in the wedding and got to stand a long side one of his great friends. We could not be happier for them, and it was great to get out on the dance floor with everyone and let go a little. We Love you Katie and Nick and wish you many years of happiness together! :)
To top the weekend off I made a trip up to my home town, Hooper. I do not make it back often because I am usually only home for quick weekends at a time. I went back to the church that I went to as a child. They were doing a special dedication to my mother who had been a member for many years. After her death the donations received were given back to the church because we knew that is what she would have wanted. They had bought eight beautiful banners that they will display for holidays and or special occasions. It was great to go back to see everyone from my childhood and to see the impact my mom had on people. I was very emotional that day because Sunday church was something my mom and I would always do together. I actually sat in the same pew as her. I did not realize it until after I was sitting there for a while but I felt like she was with me that day. I miss her, but know she made me the person I am today and I am so proud to call her my mother.
This was quite the eventful week for me, but it filled me so full of joy and makes me thankful for the people I have in my life. I could not be happier and more blessed. So this is for everyone in my life who has impacted me and made me the player and person I am today, I could not have done it without you and even though I may not see a lot of you or talk to you often you mean the world to me. :)
Dream Big & Never Settle
Q&A with PGA Tour Staffer Luke Donald
by Mizuno USA on October 18, 2011
Below are a series of interview questions from Mizuno PGA Tour Staff Member Luke Donald. Luke reflects upon his 2011 PGA Tour Season, his relationship with his equipment manufacturer Mizuno, and the true inspiration in his life, his daughter.
Luke talking about his 2011 PGA Tour Season
Luke talking about his relationship with his equipment manufacturer, Mizuno
Luke's true inspiration, his daughter
Mizuno Ambassador Stacy Lewis Lewis spreads message on early detection of scoliosis
by Iver Maple on October 17, 2011
The Clubhouse shares a story on Mizuno Ambassador Stacy Lewis and her journey to spread the word about early detection of scoliosis.
Read the full story here: http://www.theclubhouse.com.my/2011/10/lewis-spreads-message-on-early-detection-of-scoliosis/
Mizuno MLB Ambassador Postseason Performer - Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
by Mizuno USA on October 10, 2011
Ian Kinsler and the Texas Rangers moved one step closer to returning to the World Series by taking the first game of the American League Championship Series. Kinsler smacked a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 2nd inning off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander. That put Texas in front 2-0, and they would hold on for a 3-2 victory. Kinsler plays with the Mizuno Pro Limited GMP41 Ball Glove, wears custom 9-Spike Vintage G6 Cleats and 5 inch Mizuno Wristbands, uses the Global Elite Batting Gloves, and swings the Mizuno Pro Maple MZM243 Bat.
I thought I had a great chance to win the Fedex Cup.
by Luke Donald on October 1, 2011
Going into the week,I knew if I’d won the Tour Championship, the Fedex Cup was mine - one of my big goals for this season. I played well the first day, got myself into a great position but just struggled a little from there on. I didn’t really take my best game to Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
I did a good job of keeping myself in with a chance come the end. A lot of the guys in the top five weren’t playing well, so it was vital that I stayed in contention. The birdie on the last I was very proud of. I thought it might have done it for me. In the end, though, I was a shot behind.
That putt extended my lead on the world rankings as well as put me top of the American money-list, so I was really happy that I’d stayed determined and holed a very important putt under a great deal of pressure. I’m very proud to be still on top of the world rankings. I think every golfer wants to get to number one. But to stay there is another matter altogether.
My key goal now is to win the orders of merit on both sides of the Atlantic in the same year. It would be a great accomplishment. No-one has ever done it before. It’s pretty tough playing both tours but to win them both would be a great achievement.
I can go back to that birdie on the last at East Lake again. It gave me a high enough finish to leap over Webb Simpson on the U.S. money-list. We’ll have to see if he keeps playing and goes back above me. Hopefully I can hang on though.
I have a healthy lead on the Race to Dubai, but this week in the Dunhill Links is a very big week for prize money. Things can change quickly. I’m playing next week in Madrid but, with Diane expecting our second child, I’m going to have to miss a few tournaments. A big week in the Dunhill would be nice.
In between the Tour Championship and here in Scotland, I’ve been checking fundamentals. I think my ball position was getting a little bit too far forward. I’ve been doing some more work on quieting the legs down. They tend to get a little bit active throughout the swing. This week, though, will be a little less thought-related in terms of my swing and more just having a bit of enjoyment.
I’m playing with Jamie Redknapp again. We met Jamie and his wife when we were on honeymoon and we’ve become good friends for the last four years. It will be great playing side-by-side with Jamie, he’s a pretty good golfer. He’s a seven-handicapper and on a good day he’s perfectly capable of shooting 72.
I’ve been trying out some new equipment, testing the MP-59s and 69s. Both sets felt solid and will be an easy switch. Just need to figure which set to go for.
Even better - I did some testing with Mizuno’s new MP fairway woods and drivers and got some very positive results. I’ll try and Tweet some pictures of the woods if I get the all clear from Mizuno. For me it’s a big move to change anything in my bag – only goes in if the equipment’s better than what I’ve got. That’s as simple as it gets.
But any testing and practicing will go by the board in five or six weeks’ time. We’re expecting another girl – this time Diane especially wanted to find out the sex of the baby – and mid-November is the due date.