By: Teran Rodriguez
Original Date: 8/13/22
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. This blog will be an in depth look into the weekend that I (Teran Rodriguez, host of Set Point and SoCal Supreme Sports Show) had in San Bernardino, where I covered the NVA playoffs.
A brief overview of the NVA:
The NVA, or National Volleyball Association, is a professional men’s volleyball league that plays its matches at Pearce Sports Center in San Bernardino, CA. The league is made up of 12 teams divided up into 2 conferences. Each team plays 10 matches, and the top 4 teams in each conference advance to the playoffs. This season, the NVA had the honor of being televised nationally on ESPN3. Originally, it would always go live on the NVA’s YouTube account, but this weekend was an exception and a huge step in the right direction not only for the league, but for the sport in general.
Now for the fun part, my experience:
I arrive at my hotel at around 4:40pm PST. Once checked in, I attempt to take the elevator upstairs to my room. At first, I thought I was trapped in the elevator as it suddenly stopped, but then I read the instructions saying that you needed to use your hotel key to be able to go to your desired floor. This is smart to ward of troublemakers that could have ideas of lurking about. After I get to my room, I watch a little of the NFL Hall of Fame game. After I watch a majority of the first half, which saw the Raiders thrashing the Jaguars (sorry Jags fans), I head out to grab some dinner.
I see a Black Angus right across the street from the hotel and decide to go there. On my way there, I see about five or so guys wearing t-shirts that has the logo of Southern Exposure – one of the teams from the NVA. I was going to chat with them, but knowing them, they were probably antsy to get checked in and go to their rooms to rest for their playoff match the next day. The dinner at Black Angus was amazing, but I did regret ordering an appetizer since it was just me. After dinner, I head back to the hotel room, where I prepare for a long day of volleyball action.
I set my alarm for 5 a.m. to get myself dressed and ready. Breakfast at the hotel opens at 6 a.m. on weekdays and I was one of the first people there. I see more NVA players, all of which are getting breakfast. After breakfast, I prepare for the approximately 30 minute walk to the Pearce Sports Center. With it not being that hot and me needing to get some steps in, I head out from the hotel and on my way to the complex. I arrive at a little before 7:30 a.m. and not to my surprise, I was the first one there. I eventually saw former Set Point guest and Marketing and Broadcast Manager of the NVA, Nick England. After a brief wait, he, myself and others got access into the facility.
I was allowed upstairs, where I had a bird’s eye view of the action on the court. After 10+ hours at the sports facility, which included sweating due to the gym’s heat, the four remaining teams in the NVA playoffs were the Orange County Stunners, the Texas Tyrants, the New Jersey Freedom and the Las Vegas Ramblers. If it weren’t for the Juan Pollo that was served during the last two matches of the day, I would’ve needed to go back to Black Angus for dinner again. Instead, I return to the hotel, head up to my room to rest, and prepare for the next day of the NVA playoffs.
I have a little bit more time to sleep in as the first semifinal match didn’t start until 3 p.m. I get breakfast courtesy of the hotel again. Can’t beat all you can eat breakfast, despite it being $15. After breakfast, I head back to my room and take a quick nap. At a little past noon, I had a Zoom interview with a high school football player for one of my reporting jobs. After I get done with said interview, I change into “my work uniform” – a polo shirt with jeans. After I get dressed, I head down to the bus stop near the hotel, which will drop me off right in front of Pearce Sports Center.
It was a good idea to take the bus, but not a good idea to wait in 90-degree weather. Fortunately, I had sunscreen to protect from sunburn. While the temperature was in the upper 90s, it didn’t feel that way in the gymnasium. Following the first match, we were served Raising Caines. I only wish pro beach volleyball player Hailey Harward was there. She is a fan of Raising Caines, or as they like to call them, a Cainiac. Only two matches were on tap for Saturday, and at the end of the day, the Las Vegas Ramblers and Orange County Stunners were the only ones remaining. After I get back to hotel, I unwind and prepare for the last day of the NVA season.
When I woke up, I knew it was going to be a bittersweet day. It was the last day of the season, meaning no more NVA until February 2023. After breakfast, I got dressed. I felt like I was behind, but my friend who offered me a ride to the Center, and is also a part of the NVA, was also running behind. He eventually came down and we made our way. There were two matches remaining, one being the third-place match and the other being the finals. The third-place match wound up being done in less than 90 minutes, as I eventually got the post-game interviews knocked out.
I did the post-game interview with the fourth place finisher by myself. It felt empowering, considering I had to get everyone mic’d up, put together and start the camera, shut off the mics and camera and charge all the equipment. The finals match lasted nearly as long as the third-place match, with the Las Vegas Ramblers emerging victorious and winning their first ever gold cup. After the post-game ceremony was done, I went back to the hotel. It was 5 p.m. when I arrived, and I had plenty of time to myself before dinner. So I went down to the pool and jacuzzi for some R&R. After that, I went back to my room to freshen up and go have dinner at the hotel. After dinner, I began packing and preparing for the journey home.
I wake up only to realize that it hit me; the NVA season, and my weekend, were over. I went down for one last hotel breakfast and then finished packing. Once checked out, I waited for my ride home back to Newport Beach. Overall, it was an amazing weekend filled with great experiences. The people at the NVA want me back next year, not just for live-tweeting or Set Point discussions, but for running the post-game press conferences. I feel that would be a great fit for me. What will my future with the NVA look like? Who knows, but with a growing NVA, it’s looking bright.
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