Today was more along the lines of my favorite thing in this world and that would absolutely be sports. The people that came to this camp going towards the sports track did some exciting things today. However, at the start of the day, we all went through our afternoon activity which for the sports track would be holding a press conference of sorts with the Illinois tennis coach Brad Dancer. After prepping for this activity, we had a presentation about public relations. This was actually interesting coming from someone that has represented people before. Now, this was not major people like Tom Brady we are talking about here, but it was still pretty nice to hear from someone who has done public relations work before. From there, we got to hear from the voice of the Fighting Illini Brian Barnhart who has nearly every big moment in recent Illini lore from the 2005 Final Four team to the 2007 Rose Bowl football squad. He clearly knows what he is doing as well as the prep work he does before games can be six or more hours.
After lunch, we had our conference with men’s tennis coach Brad Dancer. He had a lot of insights into just about anything our group asked him and it got pretty intense at times. However, he answered just about anything with the niceness that he has and clearly he is a special person for the Illinois tennis players to learn from and have as a mentor. Later on, I will have a more in-depth post about our experience with Coach Dancer as there was so much detail involved that in a overall daily post there would be too much for me to leave out not only about what he said, but also about the kind of players that he has worked with and the accomplishments that he has had with the program and also about the types of recruiting classes he brings to the Illini program.
From there, it was just across the street where we got an up close and personal look at the State Farm Center, the home of Illinois men’s and women’s basketball. We actually got to go on the floor of the recently renovated arena and that experience was pretty darn cool coming from someone that is extremely invested in college basketball in the winter months when NASCAR is not available for my weekend entertainment. We did also have a tour of areas normally closed to the public including the media room where the press conferences happen and the dining room where the team has a meal before game time. I did not get photos of these areas, however, I do have photos from on the floor and elsewhere and a gallery of those are down below.
Tomorrow is my last full day here on campus at the University of Illinois and like you might expect from the last few days, it will be packed with sessions that could be pretty interesting. I leave campus Friday, but I already feel as if a piece of me is here on campus. What that basically means is that I have absolutely enjoyed my time here so far through this camp and knowing that it has not ended yet makes me feel really happy to make more memories and learn more lessons that will last a while.