Rookie Diary: Chris Cooley

This area is really different for me. Start out with the landscape.

This area is really different for me. Start out with the landscape. In Utah it's all mountains and then it's a desert atmosphere. When you drive around you find your directions off the mountains so if you get lost, you look at the mountains. Here, if you're lost it's just trees. So you're in trouble. Our first couple months my wife and I got lost and we spent an extra 20 hours driving around lost.

And the people here are quite a bit different. In Utah there's such a big [Church of Latter Day Saints] population. So it's just different here. People have been nice, but it's been strange getting to know everyone outside the team. And the pace of life here is a little faster. Everyone talks a little faster. It's just a faster pace for everything. Utah is just really laid-back.

No one trout fishes here, either. I'm a big fly-fisherman. I tie my own flies. And no one trout fishes. That's the thing I really miss, getting out on the river, wading in and really fly-fishing. People have said you can go to Pennsylvania or West Virginia. I have to do that. But in Utah you can drive five minutes from your house and get on the river.

My wife and I bought a house in Hamilton, which is about 20 minutes from Leesburg. When we moved there everyone said, 'Oh, you'll have a view of the mountains.' We're like, 'Those are rolling hills.'

It's been different here for my wife. It was easy for me because being on the team you meet a lot of new friends and you have stuff to do. But she leaves her family and so many friends. We both grew up there. But she just got a job as a dental assistant. And once the season started, and we knew who all the players who were going to be here, she made friends with the wives and girlfriends.

But Virginia is a really nice state. I was surprised. The first thing I thought when I was drafted was, 'I wonder what it will be like to live in Washington, D.C.?' I've only been over there three times, once to see the monuments. The day we went down there this summer was hot, but it was cool and really exciting. You see it on TV and in pictures, but when you walk around it, it's neat.


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