I caught up with Kim Glass, a member of USA Women’s Volleyball team currently playing overseas in the Czech Republic, after stints in Turkey and Russia. In 2008, Kim Glass competed with the team at the Beijing Olympics, playing the position of outside hitter. During the Olympics, where Team USA ultimately grabbed the silver medal, Glass on average contributed 2.13 points, 1.67 kills, 1.73 digs, 0.33 blocks, and 0.13 aces per set and started 26 of a total 33 sets. In addition, the Lancaster, Pennsylvania native left an amazing legacy at the University of Arizona by finishing her career with school records in kills (2,151 kills), aces (162) and kills per game… (5.27) while also finishing third all time in digs (1,158). She was honored three times as an American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American, was the 2002 American Volleyball Coaches Association National Freshman of the Year and was named all four years by the All Pac-10 team.
I don’t know about everyone else but I was glued to the TV whenever indoor volleyball came on NC during the Beijing games and the main reason was Kim. Without further adieu, here’s the chat transcript.
Sean Mitchell: What do you miss most about the US and do you get homesick for the US?
Kim Glass: You would think that after playing 5 years abroad, homesickness would disappear but it doesn’t. I think while you’re overseas you have spurts of homesickness…all apart of the ebbs and flows of working abroad. I miss my nieces the most, and having options. In the U.S. there is so much variety, with food, activities, some of the countries I’ve been in, options are limited, so i become easily bored from mundane routine.
SM: Did you pick up a spot of Turkish when you were over there?
KG: I’m not currently in Turkey, I played in Turkey 2 years ago, for Fenerbahce Spor Kulübü (Sports Club in English). I picked up enough Turkish for volleyball and to get by, and so that the taxi drivers wouldn’t scam me [laughs]!
SM: What was the most exciting part of the Olympic experience? Also, did you get to do any site-seeing while over there? How was the culture, both of the Chinese and of the other athletes from around the world?
KG: The most exciting part? That’s difficult,because when i look back it was all exciting. I’d have to say the entire process was exciting. Each moment you’re on the court, with/and against the best of the best–and you know that each of you have sacrificed to get there. You know that your fighting for something bigger than you and it all comes down to who wants it more, who has the heart, and who can sustain strength mentally and physically. You’re in tune with every sense in your body and you have so much control over it. I’ve never felt like that a day in my life! That was amazing. Also beating China in front of so many fans and on their home turf will always be a wonderful memory.
SM: What was the toughest part about losing the gold medal match to Brazil?
KG: I think you always look back and say, what could i have done better. . .When the game is over, you don’t want it to be, you want to play again but you don’t have that chance. You’ve only got one chance. I think the toughest part is knowing that we have beaten them before, so we could do it again!
SM: Do people know your face in person now that you got some air time with the Olympic volleyball team? Do you get hit on more?
KG: Yeah in my hometown [laughs] . . . Man, indoor volleyball doesn’t get any love in the States. It’s a shame we work just as hard as everyone else, with less time off. Most of our fans, or those that appreciate indoor volleyball, come from overseas.
SM: When did you move from LA, your birthplace, to Lancaster?
KG: I moved in 1993.
SM: Do you still dream of being America’s Next Top Model?
KG: I’m always open to the idea…But not something I’m focused on. Honestly that was my goal when i was younger but it’s not now.
SM: When you look back on it all, what was your favorite accomplishment going all the way back to you days at Conestoga Valley HS? Was it your outstanding career at Arizona, the Olympic Silver Medal, your championships overseas, etc..?
KG: Olympic silver medal tops it all.
SM:What was the funniest moment of your career?
KG: One game at Arizona, I wasn’t playing, I was in the box. At the last minute I was shocked that the coach was about to put me in, so when he called me up, I didn’t have my warm up jacket off and it was zipped up! So I run up to the court trying to unzip my jacket and I couldn’t. So I’m standing there, super embarrassed trying to get this zipper to move. Well it wouldn’t, so I tried to pull the jacket over my head and well. . .
There I am standing at the line, with my hands in the air, jacket stuck covering my head, looking like a fool [laughs]. Afterward, my teammate tried to help me pull it down, while the crowd was still watching [laughs] but I still couldn’t get it to unzip. My teammate walked over, tried to unzip it and it went down smoothly, go figure. I got the jacket off and the crowd applauded me. That was pretty funny when I look back at it but Dave (my coach) definitely didn’t enjoy it [laughs].
SM: Did the ball just seem to come to you during the 30 kill game against Oregon State in 2003? Did you shock yourself?
SM: I hear you’re into poetry. Being a fellow poet myself, I’m curious as to what your favorite part of creating it was and if you perform spoken word.
KG: I’ve never performed spoken word. I think it’s all about the feelings that pour out into my poetry. They’re all real, and personal. I can’t force it, when it’s time to write, my body knows, and everything just flows. Writing eases my mind.
SM: Since you never washed your sweatband in college according to some sources, have you washed your sweatband since or do you still have the same one from your U of A days?
KG: The Thunder Cat Sweatband [laughs] . . . it was washed after the season and I still have it in a box somewhere, but I do not wear it. “‘Thundercats . . Hooooooooooo.’” [smiles]
SM: Why’d you chose 86 as a uniform number?
KG: It’s personal, it’s spiritual, and I prefer not to discuss it. [smiles]
SM: Two words: Dwight Howard. Your thoughts? (I’m leaving it vague because I don’t want to get too personal).
KG: Go Magic! Playoff time! Can’t wait for the playoff games to start.
SM: You’ve gotten a chance to travel across the country and the globe. Out of all the places you’ve been, what’s your favorite and what’s your favorite place that you routinely visit?
KG: I absolutely loved South Africa! I had the opportunity to visit last summer and it was amazing…
Turkey was my favorite place to play, i love Istanbul, my club rocked, the fans are passionate and they still write me two years later. There is no place that I routinely visit. I like to try new places out.
SM:What was your favorite part of “Coming to America,” which according to your profile on www.usavolleyball.org is your favorite movie (and mine as well)?
KG: The entire church scene. 2 words: “Sexual Chocolate.”
SM: Your favorite book is the “Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz. What was your favorite part or reason for liking it so much?
KG: I was reading it for an IBO business that I tried to partake in while in college. It was recommended literature. I read it and I found that you could apply that positive thinking to all aspects of your life, not just business but in your home life and in sports as well. But I’ve read many great books since then, that are even better so currently I don’t have a favorite.
SM: Alright not too much more, I know I’ve given you a questionnaire, so I don’t want to make your head spin. Still, just a few more things i wanted to touch on:
How exactly are you involved with the Back 2 Basics Foundation and why is it such a good organization for the community?
KG: I would like to give as much as i can, of my time, to helping back 2 basics.
(Assisting the foundation in whatever they need, if I cannot give monetarily, donating my time to them, and to the children)
[Yusef Aziz] is a local athlete like myself, that knows the joys of perils of what he does. And also is in tune with the needs of the inner-city environment, and he’s utilizing his knowledge to feed and fuel, the children of Lancaster County, to help build their aspirations, exposing them to different possibilities, giving them a place where they can develop, & providing positive role models to look up to. I think it’s really important, important to focus on our youth–we have to set the right foundation early. He understands the importance and he’s working hard to achieve those goals.
SM: What really stands out about Power in Pink, which raises money for Breast Cancer?
KG: I think we’ve all known someone who fought, is fighting, or lost a battle to breast cancer…So the pink awareness to open more eyes to breast cancer, and fund research and treatments, is crucial and I’m happy that so many people are rallying together, in this fight, and i hope that one day we find a cure. My sponsor Under Armour supports breast cancer awareness… By donating 5% of their retail prices of all power in pink products. I think it’s a great example of how we can all support the cause in some way!
SM: Anything else you want to say to the world that you haven’t here, on your blog or on twitter?
KG: We need more support overseas. We need better contracts & consequences, for clubs, not following through with their contracts when we work so hard and fulfill our end of the bargain. This isn’t just in volleyball overseas, it’s in basketball also. I just wish we had more support out there.
SM: Good luck to you and thanks for the interview.
(To follow Kim, log onto http://www.kimglass10.com/blog.html)