Friday, February 17, 2012

Loyal Fans......

Just like it's hard to find that true friend..... it's even harder to find a LOYAL fan. When they come around I do my best to let them know they are appreciated.

I have a fan page on Facebook.....
on that fan page I do my best to interact with each every fan who posts. Especially on my Twitter page @destineehooker. I have had a few downs in my professional career but I can recall majority of my fans standing by my side and believing in me. That's what I value you most about them. I love my fans and their desires. What they want to be, what sport they play, when their birthdays are. I mean the list goes on and on.

Of course the "positive" feedback they give me is nice but I enjoy my fans. They are my family. They are to be treated with respect and loved continuously. Just like a family you have fall outs but at the end of it all you bounce back and everything is fine.

I have played in four different countries so far and have gained fans from each. It truly is an amazing feeling to see you have made an impact around the world. I dedicate this blog post to my fans. I love each and every one of you. I appreciate you for believing in me and loving my continuously. May God continue to bless each and everyone of you.

Here are a few pictures I have taken with my fans around the world......

My Senior Year at Texas.......

From Puerto Rico (Corozal Pinkin)

In Macau, China

AAU Nationals in Florida

My little cousin, Makiyah, at the 2009 NCAA Championship game!

Member of SA Force Volleyball Club (My hometown)

Sollys Fan (Brazil)

At the 2011 NCAA Championship game in San Antonio, Texas

I want to thank you all for loving me for me despite my flaws. You are truly LOYAL FANS!! :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Volleyball Injuries......

Well as we all know injuries happen in every sport. The amazing thing about injuries...... you recover. I know a few teammates that have had knee surgeries, shoulder surgeries, torn ligaments, torn tendons, sprained ankles, broken fingers, and I mean the list goes on and on. I admire the drive of those to get back on the court.

I took the time to interview a few athletes. You may know them.....

I asked these five questions:

1. What happened?
2. What did you injure?
3. How long was your recovery
4. What made you want to get back on the court?
5. What did you achieve after your injury?

1. Dariam Acevedo
(Played for the University of Texas at Austin as an OH. There she earned two time All Conference All Academic First Team in 2004 and 2005 and All Conference All Academic Second Team in 2006. Dariam is currently playing beach volleyball where she won the gold in NORCECA Beach volleyball circuit in 2009)

Her Response:

1. I had a collision between the net and the pole..... I jumped to hit the ball and fell in an awkward position by the pole.
2. I tore my ACL
3.My recovery lasted about 8 months
4. First, I wanted to go back because I truly love volleyball. It's what I've always done. I saw it as a challenge as well as a test from God. I knew then that I had to get back. First I had to overcome the obstacle that God presented to me, second, to prove to myself that I was capable of overcoming adversity and thirdly because I knew that I had more to accomplish in my career. I felt there was so much more to achieve. More volleyball to play. I played volleyball professionally after my injury. Three years indoor and then moved to the sand three years ago. There I traveled the world. played head to head against top ranked opponents and I earned respect.
5. I  received a historic silver medal for Puerto Rico at the central american games and a first ever bronze medal at the Pan American games last year.

2. Stacy Sykora
(She was a two time All American at Texas A&M University and she competed in three Olympics 2000, 2004, and 2008 where she helped the USA team win the silver medal. She won the gold medal with her team at the 2001 and 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix)

Her Response:

1. Bus Accident
2. My Brain
3. I am still recovering ( Accident was April 12, 2011)
4. I love volleyball
5. Satisfaction everyday that I can still play the sport of volleyball

3. Joshua Walker
(Second Team All American at the University of Hawaii, Second and Third Team All- Mountain Pacific Sport, MVP of Outrigger Invitational Tournament, and Most Outstanding Hitter in the UBC Thunderball Tournament)

His Response:

1. Dove for a ball
2. Dislocated my pinky
3. 3 weeks
4. Didn't want to let my teammates, coaches, and fans down
5. Helped turn the UH program around that season. Finished fourth in the nation and got Second Team All American)

4. Tayyiba Haneef-Park
(AVCA First Team All American in 2001 at Long Beach State, She played in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics (where she won a silver medal))

Her Response:

1. We played a four set match and it wasn't until afterwards that I noticed my pain. The morning it was really swollen and I couldn't straighten my knee. I went and got an MRI.
2. Sprained MCL and a minor tear in meniscus.
3. 1 month
4. I felt like I was playing my best volleyball ever prior to the injury and I was eager to rehab and get back on the court.
5. We haven't had many matches since then, but everyday is a journey to get in better shape than the day before.

Figured I would ask a few players to see what they had to say about their own injuries. At the end of it all they returned to the sport because they either loved it or didn't want to let anyone down. I too had surgery. Last year March 17, 2011. My first surgery ever in life. I was really scared and top of that nervous. The rehab was the worst part of it all in my opinion. You are up every day trying to get back to where you were before. At the same time you are watching your teammates practice and do the things you can't do yet.

I had a fan ask me "What did you do to get back on the court so fast?" The answer to that is rehab, rehab, and rehab. I was dedicated to getting back on the court because of the love for the game and being with my teammates. Another fan told me "I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus. I honestly feel volleyball for me is over. I had to tell her that nothing is over unless you want it to be. This blog to get those to see that everyone goes through challenges and injuries are one of the hardest ones. Stay committed to rehab because that is the most important thing you can do.

Stacy Sykora is an amazing athlete. As you read up top she was in a bus accident and she is still recovering, but because her love for the game she hasn't stopped fighting. I believe everyone should take after that example. It truly is amazing to see Stacy here in Brazil playing volleyball. She is so much better then she was this past Summer. I told her the other day that I am in awe watching her "pancake" balls and set the back row. Gives me goosebumps.  I can't wait to see her March 2nd when we play them.

I hope this blog helps those who have/had injuries. We know how it feels and if you need to talk to me about it personally feel free to email me at

Here are a few photos of my knee after my surgery.......

My Response:

1. Landed on an opponent's foot
2. Torn Meniscus
3. 4-6 weeks
4. Saw it as a challenge and I have love for volleyball. One thing on my mind win the Olympic Gold.
5. After my surgery I was on the court playing in the 2011 World Grand Prix. Was crowned MVP and later on in November was the Best Spiker of the 2011 World Cup where we placed second to qualify for the Olympics!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Countdown.....

As you all know today is February 5th. Tomorrow will mark the official countdown until the end of Super League. One month to be exact. This team has brought me so much in a little bit of time. Time and time again I ask myself what my purpose is on this team. As I am sure you all ask yourselves the same question when you are on the court. Or even at work. Someone sent me an interesting email. I couldn't help but share it with you all.

"Hello Destinee,

I enjoy watching you play. You truly are an inspiration to me and all the other girls out there. I wish I could be like you. I am writing you because I have a problem. I play for a club that doesn't let me see the floor. The coach says I am the best she has yet after one mistake I am on the bench. I do not understand. I am sure this doesn't happen to you because you are one of the best in the World, but what do I do to convince my coach that I am capable of playing the game. I'm human and we all make mistakes right? So why bench me and call me the best? I can't be the best while I am watching. Thank you again for your time. You truly are amazing. God Bless you"

Now you could say this left me baffled. Why? Because I know the feeling she is going through. A lot of you may not know but at The University of Texas my freshman and sophomore year I was playing on edge almost every night. I had a fear that if I made one mistake I was going right to the bench. Most of the time it happened. Coach Elliott didn't view me as an all around player. Come to find out I proved him wrong. In 2009 in the NCAA Championship in Tampa I showed the World what I was capable of.

It even happened with USA volleyball. I was asked to come tryout from Hugh McCutcheon himself is the summer of 2010. Found myself on the 2010 roster for the World Grand Prix. Only then to find out I wouldn't be starting. The first opportunity I had I went for it. I remember it like it was yesterday. USA vs Dominican Republic. We were down the first set. Hugh calls for a double sub. Alisha Glass and myself in for Nicole Fawcett and Nellie Spicer. Came in and got a block at the heat of the moment. Since that day I was the starter.

This was the first picture taken of me on the international level. One I hold dearly.

I think this email bothered me because coaches should give their athletes the chance to prove themselves. If you tell an athlete (he or she) is the best why not allow them to make a statement on the floor. On the international it is a whole different ball game. A lot of the coaches are on edge and try to make changes because they don't know what else to do.  Fans ask me all the time "Why did he take you out of the game? Or you are the best in the world why don't you tell him?" What people have to realize is at the end of it all the coach does make the final decision on who he or she wants to play.

I know deep down I am great player because I have proven myself, for those young girls who have to deal moody coaches, angry parents, and jealous teammates it becomes a problem. Something they can't do by themselves. I am thankful she chose me to email and I pray my response helped her. At the end of the day we are are human and make mistakes but those who dwell on the negative can never move forward. I thank Hugh so much for giving me that opportunity to prove my worth. Since then on I work to get better and fulfill my destiny of becoming an Olympic Gold Medalist!! God Bless and thank you for reading.