Bloomington, Ind. - Meet Kara Bryan. She is a senior co-captain from Carmel, Ind. She transferred to Indianan from Butler and is now in her second season wearing cream and crimson. She led the Hoosiers in 2002, starting all of the 17 games she played in. In 2001 she had eight goals and two assists for 18 points. She is steadily climbing up through the IU record books as she holds a two-way tie for eighth place for career goals with nine. In 2002 she has already made great memories leading her team, scoring the winning goal in double-overtime against Missouri to give the Hoosiers the 2-1 win.
Hoosier Life began with Kristen Zmijewski during the preseason. Kara Bryan was selected as the next IU student-athlete to participate in this behind-the-scenes look at what life is like for a women's soccer player at Indiana. Kara documented the 24 hours before the first game of her last collegiate season, prior to the Hoosiers' exhibition with Valparaiso. The following is an in-depth look at the start of the 2002 season from the perspective most would never get - from inside the mind of one of the Hoosier starters.
"It's about nine o'clock p.m. and I'm just arriving back at the Hampton Inn, our home away from home for two weeks of preseason.
"We just finished our 14th practice and our seventh day of preseason and I'm definitely starting to feel it. My legs feel like rocks right now. But, I'm extremely excited to go upstairs and lay down and watch American Idol and sleep for more than seven hours. We get to sleep in tomorrow until 8:30. I'm really excited about that. Even more excited about our first game, mainly because it's not just another practice. Hopefully I get a good night's sleep and wake up rested and ready to play. Right now I'm going to go upstairs and talk to my boyfriend from Indianapolis on the phone and go to bed.
"8:45 Wednesday morning - I just rolled out of bed after the maids came in at 7:45 and wanted to clean our room. So, the whole sleeping in thing didn't work out too well. But, I feel pretty rested. My legs feel a little better than they did last night, so I guess that's good. Going to go downstairs and grab a Nutri-Grain bar or something. We've eaten the same thing for breakfast for the last eight days so I'm kind of looking forward to getting out of this hotel and eating an omelette or sausage. At least eating something besides cereal and muffins.
"It's now 9:36 a.m. and I'm getting in the car after going into treatment, getting both my ankles taped. I was listening to a little rap before our first practice at 10 o'clock, which is two hours later than we normally practice, so that's definitely a good thing. Sitting here waiting for (Kate) Kastl to get out here from her treatment and going to head up to the game field to practice up there and get ready for tonight's game.
"Right now I have a lot of emotions running through my head. I'm extremely excited about playing our first game. Anxious to see how the team comes together. We've been practicing really well - everyone's been working really hard. I think it's going to be tough because I think everyone's a little tired from practicing for seven days straight, four hours everyday. So it'll be interesting. I think everyone's going to have to concentrate and focus really hard.
"As far as being a senior, I don't really feel it yet. I'm sure that's more or less because we haven't started playing and school hasn't started, so I'm sure once we get into the season it'll hit me and I'll start to freak out.
"Right now I feel pretty relaxed and feel really good about the team and our new coaching staff. I think they're going to do a great job. So far the team has been working really hard and the attitude has been awesome. So hopefully we'll keep that up.
"11:45 a.m. - I just got back from pregame practice up at the game field and it is about 100 degrees outside. I'm really looking forward to playing our game at night. Hopefully it'll cool down quite a bit. Just went to get some treatment and ice whirlpool bath for my legs. Now I'm getting ready to go eat lunch - I'm absolutely starving. Hopefully we'll have something decent at the training tables. Then going to head back to the hotel and lay down for a few hours.
"1:40 p.m. - Just leaving my new house I've been moving into the last week. Stopped in and said 'hi' to my roommates who are coming to my game tonight - I'm looking forward to that. They just woke up about an hour ago - I was extremely jealous. They get to stay up until three in the morning and wake up at three in the afternoon, which is a bit different from what my schedule has been the last week and a half.
"I feel pretty good. I'm going back to the hotel and take a nap for a couple hours, grab a bite to eat and head to our game.
"Just talked to my boyfriend - he gave me some words of inspiration. I've got to call my parents - they're coming down for the game so we should have at least a few fans tonight, even though it's just an exhibition game. I look at it like it's the start of our season.
"I think we have a lot to prove to a lot of people this year after our season last year. I'm really looking forward to it. I really can't wait to play.
"5:10 p.m. - A couple hours before game time. Just arrived at Assembly Hall to put on our uniforms and get ready. We have pictures at six o'clock - an hour and a half before the game starts. I feel pretty rested. My legs feel good. Went in, got taped. Now we're sitting, waiting for our uniforms to arrive.
"I'm really excited. I think this is like a completely new start for IU soccer. A whole new program. We have new coaches, new players, new strength and fitness instructor who's been doing a great job. We even have new uniforms, which are cream and crimson. Hopefully the uniforms will look decent.
"It's still fairly hot out, but I'm sure by 7:30 it'll cool down a lot.
"I'm starting to get a little nervous. I had to fill out comp tickets for my parents and two roommates who are coming to the game. I talked to my boyfriend again. I wish he was coming, but he had to work today.
"I'm really excited to get out on the field and start. Everyone's been really anxious doing our two-a-days. This is really what we've been practicing for, four hours a day. Hopefully tonight some of the hard work we've put in will pay off.
"Heading up to the game field, it's ten until six.
"I have quite a few emotions right now. I think the most of which is I'm really anxious. I've put a lot of expectation on myself this season in terms of my goals and what I want to accomplish this year as a senior captain on the team.
"I'm really anxious to get out on the field and begin our first game of the season. I'm a little bit nervous, but I know what I'm capable of and I know that the goals that I've set for myself are realistic and the goals that I've set for the team - I know that we can accomplish them.
"I've never been around a group of girls that I love more. I think that this team is great. There are no cliques on the team - everyone gets along so well. The attitude that we've had going into this season, the attitude that Mick and Ian have had as our coaches coming into the season is excellent. I think everyone is just really excited to see what we can do and to see what all the practices and all the hard work we've put in.
"It's going to pay off, I know it is. Hopefully tonight is the first step. Hopefully we will be playing come December."