So I offered a little insight into what Mike Hebert is like in an earlier post, so why not continue on with Karch Kiraly? 😉 “Working” at the U of MN offered incredible accessibility to the greats of the game. Karch picked up his new hobby of commentating college volleyball for ESPN. Fortunately for me, the U of MN scheduled a match versus Michigan State that was televised by ESPN. So a couple weeks before the match, Karch was doing his homework and contacted Mike for some insight on the teams. Mike put Karch on speaker-phone where the discussion migrated to goofy-footed approaches (and how to correct that approach). To our surprise, we learned that in the last 3 years of Karch’s beach career, he CHANGED his approach when swinging on the left side to goofy-footed. He felt that his feet contacted the ground more simultaneously and quicker, which increased his vertical jump. I just find it amazing that a legend like Karch, in the last years of his career, is willing to change something he’s done for years to find his competitive advantage. Awesome.
So besides commentating, Karch’s other hobby is collecting and archiving historical and vintage volleyball footage. He feels an obligation to preserve the history of the game.
Karch arrived at the gym about 2:30 to meet with the team. He is so gracious. Answering all the questions I’m sure he’s answered thousands of times already. Following the team meet and greet, he sequestered himself to the coach’s room. He spent time preparing for the match, then broke out, on his thumbdrive, a 1960s (I guess) video of an exhibition match of the US Men’s Team versus the Russian Men’s Team and the US Women’s Tean versus the Russian Women’s Team held in an indoor ice hockey arena in Canada (obviously the ice was covered with a 1960s version of sport court). Mike recognized a few of the players which helped Karch’s archive. The video was very good quality, the players serve received five across with the setter coming from the end line, and the blockers could not penetrate the net. It was not only great to see the video, but a surreal time to watch a video with Mike Hebert and Karch Kiraly. Awesome.
Another moment I will forever cherish at the U of MN.