With UVa in the College World Series for the second time in three year, I know most fans are now coming around to how awesome this UVa baseball program truly is. I imagine many are wondering what it is like for a student athlete to experience something like that. Truthfully, it is inexplicable. Words can't truly convey how awesome a feeling it is to accomplish something that everyone strives for. What I can do is give a rundown of what the boys are doing on a daily basis.
Our fellow writers over at VaSports gave pictures for everyone to see on the 'Hoos trip out to Nebraska and I imagine most got there via Brian's post from earlier. The boys left yesterday morning and I believe they arrived sometime in the early afternoon. It appears Oak has established a tradition of taking the team from the chartered plane at the Omaha airport to the stadium so the guys can get a feel for what its like. This is mainly to to show them that this field is not a whole lot different than any other field they have played on the rest of the year (it just has more seats). After the visit to the stadium the team went to the hotel, checked in, got changed, and went to get a practice in at a local high school.
Friday was one of my favorite days during my trip to the CWS. Every team gets a chance to get an hour on the field and get a quick workout in. Following the practice, every team has an autograph session where the fans can get an up close experience with the players and coaches. That night, every CWS has their opening ceremonies that includes a bbq for all the teams and staff.
Games start the next day and those days are just like any other away series gameday. Breakfast is provided at the hotel usually around 8 AM and depending on what time the game is at, lunch will be provided at the hotel or sandwhiches at the stadium. Another one of my favorite aspects of the College World Series is the police escort that Omaha's finest provide for the teams going to and from games. Really gives the players a feeling of importance and made me feel like an SEC football player. Following the game, the players bus back to the stadium and are on their own.
On off days, the team will have a light practice at a local high school and a team event sometime afterwards. Every team is sponsored by a local civic organization and that organization takes care of whatever the team needs during their time in town. We had a picnic with our org during one of our off days that included (trying) to hit some golf balls over the Missouri River. On another off night, we went to Harrah's casino in Nebraska and had a tremendous steak dinner at one of their finest restaurants that included a cheesecake with a v-sabre logo on it. It was awesome.
Similar to the Masters, the College World Series is a tradition like any other. I can tell you that the boys are loving life right now in Omaha and are soaking up every minute of it. But don't let that worry you, Coach O'Connor and Co. will be in Omaha with one goal in mind: win a National Championship. Go 'Hoos. Game starts at 2 PM on Sunday agains the Cal Bears.