Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kate Morrell hopes the year-end is good for BaliPure and herself

Kate Morrell is third from the right.
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Kate Morrell hopes the year-end is good for BaliPure and herself
by rick olivares

Katherine Morrell has only been in the Philippines for a week and she along with fellow American Kaylee Manns have quickly blended in with their new teammates in BaliPure.

Morrell and Manns have joined the Purest Water Defenders for the season-ending Reinforced Conference of the 13th season of the Shakey’s V-League that tips off this October 1 at the Philsports Arena. They add more depth and leadership to a team that is reeling from the loss of three starters and their entire firepower – Alyssa Valdez (now with the Bureau of Customs team), Grethcel Soltones (now with the Laoag Power Smashers), and Janine Marciano (now with Cignal).

“I’m excited to be here in the Philippines even if only for a short season,” said Morrell over lunch at Cravings in Loyola Heights. The BaliPure team was in Ateneo for a meet and greet with fans. “It’s my first time here and in a week’s time it has been memorable already. Hopefully, the way we end the tournament will be even more memorable.”

The six-foot opener spiker from Nebraska just finished playing a long season in Europe when she accepted an offer to play in the Philippines.

“I have been playing in Europe the past three seasons,” related Morrell. I didn’t want to be done playing this year but I also didn’t want to play another long season. After eight months in Europe it was tiring and I got homesick. Playing abroad for long months takes me away far too long from home and family. I have older brothers who I am really close to as well as their kids. So the short season for me in the V-League is perfect.”

Playing international volleyball wasn’t something that she expected to be engaged in after her college career with the University of Alabama-Birmingham but it has been a life changer. “There are so many things that I have been exposed to since I went abroad. It’s great to experience other cultures, meet people and make new friends, and play volleyball. I get to pursue my passion, earn some money, and see the world. I’ll say this though, it has certainly broadened my mind. There are so many things I can apply to my life and work. For example, I was a very impatient person. But when you go abroad, you learn to be tolerant and accepting because things are just different. Like the traffic in Manila…. it is an exercise in patience.”

“But I love it here,” added Morrell. “The Filipino people are so sincerely nice. Everyone I have come into contact with says, ‘hi.’ Coming through the airport and people are saying hi and offering to help you with your bags. The island life is something I can appreciate and enjoy.”

However, more than the sightseeing, Morrell is here to help BaliPure try to win some honors in the SVL’s final tournament for the season. Kaylee and I are very vocal and we hope to motivate the team,” she said. “We love our team and it’s just a matter of time before we find our chemistry.”

Morrell sees herself playing the game anywhere from two to five years down the road. “As long as I am healthy and people want me to play for them,” she explained.

She is on the other hand beginning her transition to a second career. Morrell has opened Texas One Academy, a volleyball school in Houston, Texas. “I’d love to stay with the game that has been very good to me. I’d like to play some more. I am transitioning into coaching but I am not yet done. I don’t want it to end too soon.”

In closing, Morrell shared, “When I get back home to the US, I also want to share with others that there are many opportunities out there for you. You just have to find them and pursue them. And it’s great. Now, if we can lead BaliPure to a championship, that would be smashing.”

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