Editor's Note: Ashley Belden is a senior member of the bowling team from Tijeras, N.M. who will graduate this May. She was a member of the 2007 NCAA Championship team.
Day one of competition in the bag--and boy was it action filled. Rodrigo will fill you in on some of the overview if you read today's recap, but here's what I can tell you: there was good and bad news. Good news first: in the greater scheme of things, today's statistics don't really matter. Today's bowling was purely for bracket seating purposes. We still have to win four matches to win a national title, and your seed does not matter (as proven by UMES in 2008 when they won the Championship after being the 7 seed). However, after seeing how the oil pattern broke down and its differences from the practice session, we will be better prepared for tomorrow.
The bad news: tomorrow is one of the last competition days of Josie, Brittany and my's collegiate career. It honestly didn't really hit me that my days of putting on a Commodore uniform were numbered until last night. Around 10 p.m., right as I was about to go to bed I heard some scuffling at the door and got up to find a letter. It was a note from Lauren Rhein to the rest of us girls, explaining what we mean to her and her knowledge of the capabilities of our team. A few tears might have rolled down my cheek as I read the letter (okay, so I had black mascara streaks and red puffy eyes--I blame it on my genes of being a girl), but it was one of the most motivating moments I've ever had in my life. You can talk about being a "team", you can do "team building" activities and exercises, but that moment when you realize you have finally become a TEAM....is a feeling unlike any other. Its knowing that everyone finally gets "it"--knows that this is why we practice so many hours a day, why we are missing out on a typical "college" experience, why we all came to Vanderbilt in the first place, to be part of something great with 11 other girls, sisters.
I hate to be brief (because trust me I LOVE to talk) and I wish I had more funny stories to tell you all about today, but it was simply a long and grueling day. Tomorrow is destined to be as well, because Baker is always nitty-gritty. Don't forget to watch on NCAA.com tomorrow if you can!