Hello again, Internet. It is your old pal Avatar, here to entertain you while you are supposed to be working or studying or being a productive member of society. Our first installment of “Tuesdays with Avatar” was such a huge hit (over FOURTEEN people read it) that I debated going out on top and retiring the column. But I thought that it would be selfish of me to deprive all of the great fans of the AVP from getting to know their favorite teams a little better. So I decided to push on and write a second post. (Thank you, but please hold your applause until the end)
What team got stuck being my second interview? None other than the newly formed duo of Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico.
Britt has been causing trouble on the tour since 2005 after a stellar collegiate indoor career at Long Beach State University. (Being a freshman that replaces Misty May at setter; hey, no pressure) Her flair and enthusiasm while playing have earned her a legion of fans that refer to themselves as “The Britt-fits” (none of her fans have ever referred to themselves as a Britt-fit…yet) and she is one of my favorite people in beach volleyball. Lane is coming off of her breakout rookie season, in which she won “AVP Newcomer of the Year”. She was a two-time All-American at the University of Miami, where she majored in SHAPES AND COLORS. (That’s probably one of the more challenging majors at “The U”, right up there with SETTING YOUR DVR) Carico has also earned 6 podium finishes in the 2013 NORCECA circuit (teams from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands), including 3 gold medals.
Avatar: Ladies, thank you so much for agreeing to do this. Especially you Lane, since you and I have only had one previous conversation and I’ve already made fun of your alma mater. (Editor’s Note: Lane Carico is much smarter than Ryan Doherty and did not major in SHAPES AND COLORS) Britt, let’s start with you: You are well-known for chanting “We’re not just back, we’re better!” at the annual Manhattan 6-man tournament. What is your key to continuing to get better?
Brittany Hochevar: Getting out of my own way and trusting that the work has been done. I am just the faucet, not the water. I had to do the whole “trying easier” thing. I had to push it to a point that, if God had not shown up, I would have ruined myself.
And as far as the team is concerned we keep getting better because we keep drafting MVP’s. Lexi Patterson took home the title last year. I’m thankful for my legendary “Rockstar” teammates who’s razor sharp honesty regarding my performance keeps me on point, or on the sideline. It’s time for us to win the 6-man!
Avatar: I’ve said for years that Lexi is the best volleyball player in the Patterson household, with Casey coming in at a distant second. (Which is kind of a scary thought) Lane, what made you want to play with Brittany?
Lane Carico: Well, I played against Britt multiple times last AVP season and I totally respected her game. When we first practiced together this summer, I instantly felt some excitement with how we moved together on the court… 2 defensive players just acting instinctually, making some crazy athletic plays and both of us showing the competitive drive to be our best. The more time I spend with her, the more stoked I am to be playing with her and learning from all of her experience!
Avatar: B, as someone who has spent the better part of her adult life exploring the world and visiting different countries, what is one piece of advice you would give to a young person who wanted to start traveling?
BH: Just one?! How ‘bout Top 10 (in no order):
1. Learn to play backgammon (or a card game of some sort)
2. Pack light. Seriously, you don’t need it. And you’re welcome.
3. Keep your head on a swivel
4. Love without ownership
5. Order the house vino / special
6. Learn to say “thank you”, at the very least, in the native tongue
7. “No’s” are free
8. When you come to a fork in the road, go right
9. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable
10. Keep a journal; your growth will astound you
Avatar: Phenomenal answer, and number 3 is also great advice for offensive lineman. Brittany, you come from a family of athletes, as both of your brothers are baseball players. Is there anyone in the volleyball community that you have connected with as a result of your background? Maybe an ex-baseball player that now travels with you on tour?
BH: Huh… Sure, I guess. Is sharing a lunch together at a cafe in Rome “connecting” now days? I can’t keep up.
Avatar: Kinda hoping for more of a stroke to my ego than, “Huh…Sure, I guess.” Looks like Ms. Carico is going to be getting the rest of the fun questions. Lane, you and Britt have won the first Country Quota (a tournament held in California for the 4-7 ranked teams in the country that determines who can take the fourth spot in FIVB events) that will allow you two to compete in the FIVB Grand Slam in Shanghai, China. How important was it for you, as a new team, to come out of the gate hot?
LC: It was so crucial to come out strong, because as a new team in our position, we have to create every opportunity possible for ourselves in order to ensure we stay in reach of our ultimate goal… the 2016 Olympics!!! It was also so important within our partnership because it allowed us to build confidence in one another and in our team. I’m super pumped up because we are going to bring FIRE this season!!!!
Avatar: Lane, if we could keep it to a one exclamation-point limit, that would be great. We aren’t trying to give our readers a heart attack here. B, you are considered one of the more fashion-conscious players on the women’s side. As someone with no fashion sense, (why can’t I wear socks with Crocs?) is there any advice you can give on how to look your best?
BH: Rock what you got! I LOVE street style. I enjoy people watching and think “this is who they are today” or “I wonder what their story is”. I am so intrigued by the “grind”. Because for me I #dontmindthegrind. It’s never about what’s “cool” or “hip”, it’s what each individual finds that is most comfortable to navigate and express their unique life. And we can be whoever we want to be. Even if for a day, I can dress like it, at least, and embellish a little too. #riseandgrind
Avatar: I’m going to have to ask you to knock off the hashtags. (This is serious journalism, not Twitter) I actually have a few of your more memorable stylistic choices, and I (and 126.96.36.199’s readers) would love it if you gave us a little breakdown of what made each look work.
BH: I had been shooting and recording (on top of training) for the previous 24 hours and was running on ‘french press’ by the time I got to AVP Media Day. Between stations it seemed more efficient in my head to stay suit ready. I mean, it’s Lululemon and Burberry. Less is more maybe? Hahaha! #thisisbrit
BH: Burberry skinny’s, a Groceries tank, and The Giving Keys necklace. They are my staples because I am comfortable and confident in them. And I feel there need to be more occasions that call for heels! I need multiple “grab and go” options that can pack well and be quite versatile on the road. The platinum hair was way fun!
BH: I failed to take inventory on my most current tan line stock! Noted. But other than that the one piece is brilliant!!! And much more comfortable to play in. I am convinced there are better options for us women to play and compete in so I am inspired by that resolve to take our sport to the future by honoring the past. Even if I am alone in that journey. 😉
Avatar: B, I’m not going to tell you again about the hashtagging. Don’t make me get all QuestLove on you.
Lane, your new partner is a dance-floor legend all over the world. (They built a shrine to her at the site of the player party in Stare Jablonki, Poland) Are you going to be able to hold your own when the beat drops, or are you going to be stuck in the corner like some lame 7-foot guy with no rhythm?
LC: Haha, why am I not surprised? I am so going to be on the dance floor with her, most likely looking silly, and barefoot, but having a blast! Although, I must warn you that seeing me out after 7:30pm is a rare occurrence. (Some witty man recently referred me to as solar powered, and I’d say he was pretty spot on!)
Avatar: That is pretty witty. I wonder what blogger/volleyball player/superhero said that? Britt, what would the world be surprised to know about Lane?
BH: She knows her truth.
Avatar: I have no idea what that means. Lane, what are some goals you have set for yourself and your team in 2014?
LC: I would like for us to end the 2014 season (domestic and international) with multiple finals appearances. Given that we are a new partnership and the season is already upon us, we have a lot to learn and fast, but if we can keep progressing as rapidly as we are, I am confident in our ability to achieve any goals that we set for ourselves.
Avatar: Well, I’m sure you are on the right path. (Lane is on a path, feels like there is a joke in there somewhere…nope, I got nothing) Both ladies, what AVP event are you most looking forward to this year?
BH: The ones we win.
LC: I’m most looking forward to St. Petersburg, and I assume my answer will always be whichever AVP is coming up next! I’m focused on making each and every AVP tournament, starting with the first one, an epic learning experience and a whole lot of fun!
Avatar: That should wrap it up. Thank you so much to Brittany Hochevar and Lane Carico for putting up with my nonsense, (Lane only vetoed one of my jokes, which is much better than I expected) and best of luck to them in the 2014 season. If you want to learn more about these two athletes, please check out Britt’s website (http://brittanyhochevar.us/) or follow Lane on Twitter at @lcarico1. (She’s up to almost 40 tweets) Thanks for reading, and check back next week when I interview…uh…somebody else. (I haven’t thought that far ahead)