Daily Digs with Dudding: Week 6

Oct. 7, 2014

Daily Digs is a weekly blog written by Junior Katie Dudding, taking fans behind-the-scenes through Mean Green volleyball's weekly doings while connecting social media along the way.

Hi there Mean Green Nation! My name is Katie Dudding, and I will be your inside source to all North Texas volleyball happenings! This team provides non-stop entertainment with tons of interesting events and even more interesting people. Be sure to stay tuned each week for an update on the previous weekend's doings; I promise you won't be disappointed!  

On Wednesday, we traded in our traditional pink practice gear, and played a #WHITEOUT game against Rice in a tough attempt to overpower the Owls. We encouraged our fans to wear anything white to our game, and if they forgot, luckily for them, we so kindly handed out #MGVB t-shirts for free! (Of course in an a nonchalant manner to lure in college students that LOVE free stuff) Our freshly white painted walls were also a fitting accessory for this night.  Unfortunately, we came up short against the Owls. At the end of the day, it just came down to who was going to stop the ball at the net, and which defense was going to control the game.

Thursday was our off day of the week, due to the crazy schedule of games we had been having. We typically use this day to sleep. Just kidding @NTCoachPali! We work hard and study all day long! 

After we rejuvenated our bodies for a full day off from weights and practice, we got ready to play our famous @DigPink game. *We started supporting the SideOut Foundation by joining this tradition last year when we received horrifying news that Dawn Dillard, Carnae's mom had breast cancer.*

This game is usually one of the most exciting games of the year, due to the plethora of pink we play in; as well as all of our survivor mommas we play for in the stands. But this night, we played for more than you can ever even imagine. We started the game just like any other game on any other night. I won the coin toss, as usual, and everything was going well. We played a decent first set, winning 25-22. We rolled into the second game with confidence we were going to finish them in three. However, this night was about to become different than any other this team had experienced before.

About 5 points into the second set, our senior setter Cami Cherry was suddenly pulled out of the game and hurried off to the Denton Regional Hospital. A terrible accident had occurred. On the way to our game, Cami and Carnae's mom were involved in a car wreck on Highway 377. Our hearts stopped. We battled through the second set, winning 25-14, and jogged into the locker room. Our minds and hearts raced because none of us knew any details as to what happened. So we prayed. We formed a team circle, hand in hand, and begged God for the best. We decided that our next set was going to be perfect, with no errors so we could get to Cami as fast as we could. We dominated the final frame, 25-9, for the sole reason that we wanted to get the heck out of that gym. As we ran back to the locker room after singing the school song, we awaited news. Pali walked in with the most shattered look on his face. He solemnly told us that Cami's mom did not make it.

I am here to tell you that I have never been a part of something so awful in my entire life. The crying, the screaming, the broken hearts in that locker room were unbearable. Carnae was soon rushed to the hospital to check on her mom because we still knew very little about the situation. The sick feeling in each of our stomachs, after losing someone so effortlessly beautiful that night, still haunts me. It even puts tears in my eyes while writing this. Right then I knew that all I wanted to do was be with Cami. That night ended with all six upperclassmen (Cami, Hanna, Eboni, Carnae, Amy, and myself) lying intertwined with each other on her bed. I cannot express in words the amount of genuine love that surrounded Cami the night of October 3rd. 

Saturday morning we all woke up to the smell of Amy cooking bacon, eggs, and pumpkin muffins (typical).  We all sat around and watched Bad Grandpa together. Cami is probably not a person you should trust when it comes time to pick a movie, but we went with it. Around noon Cami headed back home to Arlington to meet with family and friends, while the rest of the team met with our sports psychology consultants during lunch at Pali's house. We were given time to share our feelings, and get anything off our chest we felt necessary. The coaches thought it would be best to give us the afternoon off to let us rest after an emotionally exhausting night. Cami came back to Denton around 10:00 p.m., signaling rest time was over. All she wanted to do was go to Wal-Mart to stir up some sort of trouble. This was not out of the ordinary by any means. Cam is the most mischievous, sneaky rascal on the team. By far. That explains her bringing an air horn into Wal-Mart... Yes an air horn.

After our Wal-Mart shenanigans, the six of us went back to the apartment, only to watch another terrible movie picked by guess who... We were all too exhausted from running for our lives trying not to get caught in Wal-Mart, so we called it a night.

Sunday was an early morning for the Mean Green. We had a 9:30 a.m. breakfast at Sidewalk Café, 10:45 a.m. serve and pass, 11:30 a.m. film sesh, and finally a 1:00 p.m. game time. Sunday's game against Marshall was a huge one. Purple was the color of the day, Miss Tina's favorite. Everyone pinned purple ribbons to their shirts, including our opponent's fans, and together, as one community, we all supported Cam. We had team pride to regain after losing twice last season to Marshall, once at home, and once to knock us out of the conference finals. We had a lot to play for despite our heavy hearts. We didn't just play for the all-important W, we played for our perfect angel and her daughter. It took five tough sets, but we left it all out there in the gym. For the first time in program history, we finally beat Marshall, finally the monkey was off our back. Did we play our best? No, but we sure as heck left every ounce of what we had on that court. 

After this weekend, for the rest of our season, we play for something more than a conference championship or an invitation to NCAA tournament. We play for something beyond volleyball. We play for each other, the sister standing on either side of us, because we are a part of something much bigger.

We are North Texas. We are a family. And we are #CAMSTRONG



North Texas Mean Green