Aug. 11, 2011
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Every Thursday, UCLABruins.com will sit down with a member of the women's volleyball team. This week, we sit down with senior Katie Camp, who discusses her recovery from ACL surgery, her superstitions and her incredible singing voice.
UCLABruins.com: You tore your left ACL at Oregon last year. How is the recovery process going?
Katie Camp: It's going good. Since they had to repair both my meniscus tears, I had to wait six weeks after surgery to put any weight on it, so it was kind of a different rehab this time. Usually when you tear your ACL you can start rehabbing right away, but since I had to wait it set me back, however it was expected. I'll be seven months out of surgery when we start practice and typically the time to get back in a high-intensity sport like volleyball is 7-8 months. I've been rehabbing every day since November, so it's been a long, long time and I'm definitely ready to put that behind me and get going.
.com: Did going through a right ACL injury in high school help you with your recovery from this one?
KC: It definitely helped me. Back in the early days it was known as a career-ender, but now it's not as severe as people thought it was back then because technology is much more advanced. The fact that I've already went through that, I've mentally prepared myself for it. The surgeries were pretty different. In my first knee, they removed my meniscus and this time they repaired it. They took a bigger chunk of patella in this surgery than my last one. I'm also five years older, so I healed a lot faster when I was younger. But it definitely has helped me knowing the path to recovery.
.com: How often do you make it back to North Carolina?
KC: Not very often, which is sad. I go back once for Christmas for about a week. Sometimes I go back for a few days during Spring break, sometimes I don't. And I don't go back during summer because I'm in summer school. But the nice thing is that both my parents have been really good this entire time about coming to my home games. My dad makes it to every home game. My mom has a really busy work schedule, but it's nice because she can plan her work trips around my away games. So if we go play in Seattle, she can schedule a meeting there and also come see me play. They both try and come to all the big home games, but I see at least one of them almost every weekend during season so that's nice.
.com: What do you miss the most about living in North Carolina?
KC: The four seasons. I love hot weather and I love the beach, but especially in the Fall, I love when the leaves change and it starts getting colder and windier and you know it's Fall. But here up until September, even October, it still gets really hot, so I feel like it's July. And I don't mind it, I mean, who is complaining about 75 and sunny every day. But it took some getting used to.
.com: What is the biggest difference between living in North Carolina and Los Angeles?
KC: There are a lot of differences. In North Carolina, being in the South, it's more proper. Very preppy, whereas L.A. is very surfer, laid-back style. And people say it, but you don't actually notice it until you live in the South, but southern hospitality is there and it's very real. Here it feels like people lose their patience for things easier. Also, there isn't a lot of traffic in North Carolina and it's more open and hilly. Here the 405 is always packed, everyone is racing to work and everyone is trying to be something, like an actor or a comedian or something, so I don't feel the hospitality that I feel in North Carolina. But it's not something that I miss too much.
.com: Do you feel you have an added role as a senior this season?
KC: Yeah I do. I feel like I can be a really good leader this year, because I have experience. I feel like the freshmen are going to have big roles for us this year, so I think I can help them grow into those roles. Anyone who is a senior has that experience, not just in games, but in practice and school, so you're going to be looked up to no matter what. I'm definitely looking forward to it though.
.com: What advice would you give to the freshmen about their first year?
KC: Enjoy the moment, because it goes by really fast, especially during the Fall. My Fall freshman year was amazing because everything was so new. Volleyball in college is very different than volleyball in club or high school and to really embrace it you have to take a step back and realize where you are and how far you've come instead of thinking ahead so much. For me, I remember my first day on campus like it was yesterday. But it has still gone by so fast, and I know that everyone says that, but it's true and I wish it didn't go by as fast because I love it here and I have so many great memories.
.com: Go through your pre-game routine?
KC: I'm kind of superstitious. I wear the same headband every game. I wake up every morning and have a Luna Bar and oatmeal. I sit in the same seat for video every game day. Oh ... and this is a funny fact. I have a pair of lucky knee pads that I wear every game day. And right before we left for Oregon, which is when I tore my ACL, I lost my lucky knee pads. And I remember telling my roommate Sara (Sage) I lost my knee pads, because she knows my superstitions. We went back to the Wooden Center and looked for them, looked under my bed, everywhere in my room and they were nowhere to be found. So I go to Oregon without my lucky knee pads and that game, the only game I didn't wear my lucky knee pads, I blow out my knee. So that's to all the doubters out there who say superstitions are false, because they are very real.
.com: What do you enjoy the most about playing volleyball?
KC: I love the team aspect of it. There is nothing better than playing with your team against a really great team and coming out on top. The competitiveness, putting everything you have into a game and relying on your teammates, that's what it's about.
.com: What has been your most exciting moment at UCLA?
KC: There have been a lot. This past season, when we beat Stanford at home, that was a great memory for me. Not only because it was Stanford, which at the time was ranked number one in the country, but that was the first time I felt we were firing on all cylinders. I remember looking at Rachael (Kidder) and she had this look in her eye and Lauren was setting a perfect ball and Lainey was so excited. I love when everyone is playing together for a common goal and we reached that goal. There is nothing better. And plus my parents were there. It was so great.
.com: What will you miss the most about your time at UCLA?
KC: I'm going to miss the independence of college, because once I get into the real world and start working, you are working for the rest of your life. It's crazy that it's coming up soon. I'm obviously going to miss the friends that I've made. I'm going to miss the bond that my (senior) class has, which is why I think we are going to be good leaders for the team because we are all on the same page and that's really important. I'm also going to miss being active every day and playing a competitive sport that teaches you a lot about yourself. Sports do so much for people. They not only teach you who you are and what your work ethic is, but you learn how to interact with different people. There are a lot of things I'm going to take away from volleyball into my real world job and I'm really excited about that. But it's sad that it's over because I've been playing volleyball since I was 10.
.com: What will you miss the least?
KC: If we didn't move practice times this year, I'd say morning practice. I'm not going to miss studying for tests, that's for sure. I've been doing that a long time, so I'm looking forward to moving on from that.
.com: What has been your most embarrassing moment that you had a good laugh about?
KC: My freshman year, Lainey (Gera) and I were joking around and being naïve freshmen. And I willingly did this, but looking back it's very embarrassing. We were talking about how bad my singing voice was because Lainey actually has an OK voice. So sometimes I kind of sing and she laughs at me because it's so bad. So we were walking up Bruin Walk and she said, "Katie, just bust out a song really loud to let everyone know how bad your voice is." So I started singing the national anthem, super loud up Bruin Walk the entire time. I don't even know what I was thinking. And everyone was walking by me and staring at me. I'm wearing volleyball clothes, so they probably thought the volleyball team was super weird. Looking back I wonder why did I do that. But it's funny and it's something I have a good laugh about.
.com: If you didn't play volleyball, what sport would you play?
KC: I'd probably play tennis, because I played a lot when I was younger. I started playing when I was three and until I was 10. I played for two hours every day. I was very serious about it. Then one day I was burnt out and that's when I started playing volleyball. I really enjoyed playing it though, even though it's a completely different sport than volleyball. It's very individual. I think it's something that I'll play when I'm older, just as a social game.
.com: What is your favorite thing to do/place to hang out in Los Angeles?
KC: The beach. I love the beach. If I have a day off and it's nice out, Nikki (Casale) and I will always go. I also like The Grove and Santa Monica Place for shopping.
.com: Worse look? Michael Sealy's hair right now or his moustache last year?
KC: Hair. I just saw it (before preseason practice started) and it's a little too long.
.com: What other UCLA athletic events do you like to attend?
KC: I love the basketball games, because it's a really good atmosphere and very fun. A bunch of my friends play water polo and softball, so when I can go to those I try to. And I didn't go to any last year, but I really enjoy going to the gymnastics meets.
.com: What has been your favorite class at UCLA?
KC: I had a class last year, the history of Southeast Asia, and it sounds really boring. But my professor was great, even though he was really hard. He was one of the better professors I've had and it made me learn that the professor makes the class. If you enjoy the professor, you'll enjoy the class. Even though the class was mundane at times, I didn't mind going because he was such a charismatic speaker and he really made me learn the material.
.com: What would be your talent if you were on the show "America's Got Talent"?
KC: I think I'd bring my dog (Matilda, Australian Shepherd) on the show, because she's the talented one in the family. She's also the cutest dog in the entire world. She does Flyball and is super good at it and has won a lot of things. My mom trained her.
UCLABruins.com, via Wikipedia, later learned that Flyball is "a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball."
.com: What is your biggest fear?
KC: Someone that I love dying.
.com: What is your favorite website?
.com: If you could have one super power, what would it be?
KC: I would want to be invisible. I was going to say read people's minds, but that's tricky, because I feel like I wouldn't want to read their minds all the time. So if I was invisible, I could just sneak in on conversations and see what they were saying. And I could sneak into different events that I want to go to or sneak onto an airplane to go places. I feel like that would be really useful.
.com: Who has been the most influential person in your life?
KC: My mom and dad, for very different reasons. My mom is probably the person I want to emulate the most when I'm older. She is a very put together lady. She's very polite and proper, but she knows how to have fun. And she's a great mom and does everything perfect. She was there for me through everything in club (volleyball). She took me to all my tournaments, since my dad worked a lot and she didn't have a job. She took me to tennis, friends' houses, she was always there. I really appreciate what she has done for me. I really love my dad. He's very wise and knowledgeable about pretty much anything, including sports, which he has played his entire life so we really relate in that aspect. He's a great sounding board to talk to about things and he's very dedicated to my brother and I.
.com: What are your post-UCLA plans?
KC: I'll be graduating in the Spring. I would love to stay here. I really love California, particularly Southern California and the Orange County area. I would love to get a job in sports public relations or marketing. I'm going to start applying to jobs in the Fall and hopefully I'll land something.
.com: Is volleyball anywhere in the future?
KC: I'm never going to say no about playing more volleyball, but it's never something I've wanted to do all my life. I feel that if I did want to continue to play volleyball after college, I would know it. I'd have that urge to go play overseas or train with the National Team. I just don't have that urge. I'm ready to take what I've learned in college and apply it and move on.
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