Michael Wexter, a sophomore on the Pepperdine men's
volleyball team, gives us insight into his experience with the sport and his
time here in Malibu:
Q: Give us the insider scoop on how the season is going.
A: We are doing pretty well. I think that we surprised some teams, but we lost a few games that we should have won as well, so it is going both ways. As a team we are getting better every day.
Q: What is your favorite Marv-ism?
A: For sure, "I think we're good here." He basically says it whenever we are done with anything in practice.
Q: Who or what inspires you to compete?
A: I have always wanted to compete at the highest level as I could. Seeing professional athletes, such as the Chicago Bulls' Jimmy Butler, work really hard motivates me. For example, Butler came back into the season as an All-Star after having a decent season the year before and he was named the Most Improved Player. The reason that he got so much better was that over the summer he gave up all electronics and lived in a house with his friends. The only thing they could do when they got bored was go to the gym and workout. Seeing people who do stuff like that makes me realize that there are always people who are working harder than me and that's what makes me want to be so much better.
Q: Coming from Illinois, what do you miss most?
A: The pizza. Definitely the pizza. And then, of course, my family. The pizza out here is just not the same.
Q: Has your family been able to make it to watch you play?
A: My family has been able to come out both last year and this year. It is nice having them in the stands, but I really enjoying spending the time with them when I am not on the court. That's more important to me. The fact they get to watch me play is pretty cool too.
Q: What do you love most about living in Malibu?
A: The weather. I was never a big fan of winter, so coming here where it is 68 and sunny every single day is pretty nice. Last year, I put on shorts and a t-shirt every day and never looked at the weather.
Q: I heard that you did gymnastics in your youth? Tell me about that experience.
A: I started gymnastics when I was younger because my siblings were doing it and were good at it. I can't do anything cool anymore because what I learned all went away as I grew. I've got a pretty good cartwheel still, though. I think that gymnastics when you are younger helps a lot with hand-eye coordination, being stronger and being more active. It definitely made me stronger and want to compete more.
Q: Has did your family's involvement in athletics affect your decision to play volleyball?
A: Ever since I was a little kid, my family drove all over the place because my siblings had all of their practices and I did not really have a choice about going into athletics. There was a point when I was in basketball, soccer, football and volleyball all in the same season. I literally had days where I would have different practices all day, then I would go home and do homework and go to sleep.
Q: What do you see as your role on the team on and off the court?
A: I don't know what my role is, but I do know that it is changing as I get older. Last year, I was trying to learn as much as I could. Matt Tarantino was one of the best volleyball players I've ever seen. Coming from Chicago, I had to relearn volleyball to play at Pepperdine. This year, I think I am trying to be more of a leader on the court, but I am still a younger guy, so I just do my best to pitch in wherever I can.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your time at Pepperdine?
A: I have a pretty short-term memory when it comes to volleyball. A lot of the stuff I remember comes from watching film. I go back and rewatch all the plays I made. One of my favorite moments is probably when I came to my first open gym. I was so used to being at a certain level of play, but the other guys showed me that there was so much more competition and everyone pushed me to be there and get better.