Wahine Volleyball: Heather Bown Q & A

The definitive Heather Bown Diary is here, courtesy of Kalani Wilhelm.

Photos courtesy of Volley Bergamo

Q & A: Heather Bown

By Kalani Wilhelm
Special to RSN
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2002

KW: How closely have you been following Hawaii volleyball?

Heather Bown: Ok, I should probably lie and say I am following it every minute of everyday, but I have my dad to do that for me, so as soon as something happens I get an e-mail or a call and my parents give me the updates. However, I do know that they are kicking butt!!!!! Which is awesome!

KW: What is your impression of the team?

Heather: I'm not sure if I can actually form an opinion about the team ... mainly because I am stuck over here on the wrong side of the world playing volleyball myself. However the bits and pieces of information that I have gotten either from my parents, friends, or from the coaching staff when I e-mail them, (but I am not sure if they can really count because they are biased anyway.) :) they all say how strong they are and how awesome they are playing.

KW: Do you still keep in touch with the team, former teammates and the coaching staff?

Heather: I can't really say I know too many of the girls that are playing now...Lily (Kahumoku), Jen (Carey) and Maggie (Vakasausau) are the only players that are still there that were there when I played. Oh boy that makes me feel a bit older than I want to feel, they were freshmen my senior year. Has it really been that long since I was there playing? Wow. I do however still talk to Dave (Shoji), Charlie (Wade) and Kari (
Anderson). I still talk to a few of the girls from the team, like Heidi (Ilustre), Jenny, Veronica (Lima).

KW: What is your funniest memory of your experience playing at

Heather: Funniest memory...boy that's hard there are a few. Some of which I don't think I can really put in print without getting someone in lots of trouble. But we'll just say the preseason week in the arena was always cause for laughs. Rearranging hotel rooms and staying up all night on road trips...not that we would ever really think of doing that. :) I have to say when Dave turned into sheriff Shoji...now that was pretty funny.

KW: How is life as professional volleyball player?

Heather: Well, it's not really all that glamorous... I travel a lot more than I would like, to destinations that some people have never heard of. I very seldom get to see my family, and friends. But the up side is my teams have all been awesome and the girls are really a lot of fun, and I get to learn new languages and see historical sights that I have studied in the past. But it's a lot of time alone, so you get to learn a lot about yourself. Your limits, your character and just what it is that you want out of life. Sometimes, I think a lot about the future and where volleyball will take me. It has so far done more than I could have ever imagined. So I wonder just how long this ride can last.

KW: What team do you play for? How did your team do?

Heather: Well, right now I am on a team in Italy. We just started our season about three weeks ago. But my team name is Radio 105 Foppapedretti Bergamo. Kind of long I know, but they need to have to sponsors names in it so they are happy and pay us! Which in turn makes us happy. :) So far this season we are doing good. This last summer I was with the national team and we had am amazing summer together. Finished second in the world championships, which was huge for us. The USA has not been to the finals since 67(?) where we got the silver as well. So finishing second was a big accomplishment for our program. So that's about it as far as my team has been this past year. I hope to good fortune continues.

KW: What are the top three memories you have of your playing time at UH?

Heather: Top three huh....well let's see......ok, I have to say No. 3: doing aerobics as a team...hysterical. No. 2: Alan dancing at our games, I am not sure Dave would have approved of me actually not paying attention in timeouts because I wanted to watch him dance. I can say that now that I am done playing. No. 1: this is actually two things but they kind of come together perfectly...at the NCAA finals when they announced the All-Americans during the game and we walked out on the court … the standing ovation that I was given. It was so unbelievable. The love and gratitude that the people of
Hawaii have for the volleyball program is unmatched anywhere in the world. Believe me I have been all over the world playing, and nowhere is there more appreciation for the sport and the athletes as there is there in Hawaii. I will never in my life forget the feeling of love I had at that moment.

KW: When was the last time you were in Hawaii?

Heather: The last time I was there was way too long ago...September of 2001. I came out during the preseason tournaments. Stayed a week and didn't want to

KW: -When you return what is one store, beach or place you would have to go to?

Heather: It really doesn't matter where I go to in Hawaii, just the fact that I am there is good enough for me, but I have to say I will have to go to L&L get a plate lunch and then drive out to Sandy's.

KW: -When you tell people you meet that you played volleyball for the
University of Hawaii what are there usual reactions?

Heather: Oh this is an easy one: "Did you actually ever go to class?" or "Oh my gosh I'm so jealous!"

KW: What is one Hawaiian goodie you would want me to send you if I could send it to you right at this moment?

Heather: One Hawaiian goodie....hmmmmmmmm only one? Ok I have to say Dried Mangos, or a shaved ice, but that would never make it out here. I would just have a puddle of colored water.

KW: What is one international food or dish that someone forced you to try that you ended up liking?

Heather: All this talk about food and goodies is making me hungry... I actually ended up liking white rice with butter and sugar...yeah sounds gross but it is actually not bad when you are in China for four weeks and living on rice because you are too timid to try to fish with it's eyes still in its head. Oh, and I had eel, it wasn't so bad as long as I didn't think about what I was eating.

KW: What are the international volleyball crowds like compared to the crowds at the Stan Sheriff Center?

Heather: On a whole they are nothing compared to the Stan Sheriff, except for maybe in Brazil...now those people love Volleyball. Here in
Italy it's a Soccer country, but the team I'm on has a "fan" club and they bring drums and they yell the entire match long. Its kind of cool. When I am with the national team there is not really a place that has an atmosphere like in Hawaii. I think that is mostly because it seems that every country wants to beat us so they are not really there to support us when we play. But it's ok,
 we still kick butt!

KW: What do you remember most about the loyal fans of Wahine volleyball?

Heather: The kind hearts, and the great food at the potlucks! :) Mostly the friendly way they treated me whenever they saw me outside of the gym or even after the games. And it's not just the young kids, but entire families. It was amazing I had never experienced anything like it before getting to
Hawaii. I mean even after my first game I was shopping with my parents and it was a trip. Someone stopped me and said "hey heather nice game last night" I was stunned. One game and they knew me by sight. It was kind of strange, but flattering at the same time. Making me feel welcome and even when we lost, as long as we played hard they still appreciated our efforts. That's something athletes need, because we don't always get it from our coaches, so having it come from our support group outside of the gym was awesome.

KW: Any memories of campus or dorm life?

Heather: Having Veronica cook Portuguese food for me was always a highlight, and just hanging out in other people's places, it was a good way to meet friends and release stress from school and volleyball.

KW: If you could describe your memories of
Hawaii using one specific object directly related to Hawaii what would it be? Why?

Heather: The sunset. Everyone is different but just as glorious in its own right, and it will never stop being. No matter where I am I can always see a sunset and think of the ones I have seen in the past and the moments in my life that relate to them.

KW: When was the last time you were in Hawaii? What did you do? Any plans of returning?

Heather: Last time I was in
Hawaii was September of 2001, I went with a friend from high school and we had a blast. We went to the beach everyday. I would love to go back to Hawaii. I try to make it out there every year, but I have been really busy this past year so I have not been out yet. Maybe next summer. I have a few friends getting married out there next summer so I would love to be there for that.

KW: What is your fondest/funniest memory of Coach Shoji and Charlie Wade?
Heather: Shoji -- I have to say it was whenever he would have his sons in at practice and he would pepper with them, while we got water. It was awesome to see him interact with them. The love that he has for his family is amazing. Charlie -- driving home from football games, singing in his car with him and Tani. Although Charlie did most of the singing...me and Tani mostly laughed. Also going hiking and doing stuff outside of the gym with him and the girls from the team.

KW: Kim and Lily have a shot of playing on the Olympic team down the road, what would it be like to have four former
Hawaii players representing USA?

Heather: I think it would be great for the program at UH to have more players involved with the USA Program.

KW: What is your unbiased (not) opinion of who will win the national title
 this year?

Heather: Oh I am so not good at this ... I really can't say. But I hear that Mick has been doing well with his squad at SC, but I really don't know enough about the teams this year to say who will even be in the final four.

KW: If I gave you a microphone that was connected from your computer to the Stan Sheriff public address system, what would you say to the fans of

Heather: Well if Dave didn't give me a time limit...Gosh I don't know, I would want them to know how special they are to me and how they made my time in Hawaii golden. How much I miss their love and support and playing for them. How nothing in my life will ever compare to how they made me feel so accepted those two years of my life there in
Hawaii. ok this is getting sappy....can't get sappy. :)

For more about Heather Bown and her team, go to www.volleybergamo.it.

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