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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports volleyball

Short enjoys life with the Gigantes

Erica Short

As many as 50 million children play an organized sport; less than 1 percent of these make it to playing professionally. IU volleyball’s Erica Short is part of that 1 percent.

After acquiring accolades throughout her IU volleyball career such as most career kills all-time and Honorable Mention All-America, Short joined the Carolina Gigantes, a Puerto Rican team, in December.

“What I’m most proud of is the fact that she still has passion for the game of volleyball now that college is over,” IU coach Sherry Dunbar said. “She chose to continue her career in Puerto Rico professionally, and that hopefully means that we did something right at Indiana to make her still love the game.”

Other players from the Big Ten also graced the roster of the Gigantes, with former Penn State and Minnesota players. Despite being college rivals, the American imports for the Gigantes lived together and became like family to one another. Rachel Hartmann, a setter from Minnesota, was one such family member.

“It was fun to get to know someone from a different Big Ten team – we were able to share stories and compare experiences that we had at our schools,” Hartmann said.

With practice and weightlifting every day and running twice a week, Short said she thought that while the workouts were easier than those of a Division I sport, the games were more challenging “because the girls are amazing” and the recruiting process is different.

Imports (new athletes) are constantly brought in from the United States, native Puerto Ricans can be traded, and both fired. In order to get out of a contract, a player either has to break the rules or suffer an injury; it is not an option to decide not to play anymore.

“Our oldest player was 36 years old – that is the oldest player in the league, and she was on our team,” Short said.

Of course, volleyball was not the only thing the women enjoyed while in Puerto Rico. The team spent time on the beach – shopping, staying at resorts and sightseeing.

“I like (Puerto Rico) a lot,” Short said. “I don’t think I would live there, but I could be there six months out of the year to go play. The people are so nice.”

During her five months in Puerto Rico, Short acquired some habits that reminded her of home.

“Erica liked to buy two things in Puerto Rico: shoes and ice cream,” Hartmann said. “Our house made multiple trips to Baskin-Robbins throughout the week, and I blame her for that.”

Although her parents never saw her play with the Gigantes, Short plans to give them plenty of opportunities by continuing to play either in Puerto Rico, or perhaps with a team in Europe.

“I want to play as long as I can, and then maybe get a job,” Short said.

Looking forward, Dunbar said she believes Short has plenty of years she can put toward volleyball.

“I still think Erica has a whole other level she can play at now that she is done with her collegiate career,” Dunbar said. “She was just starting to come into her own during her senior year, so I’m excited to watch her progress during her professional career now.”

And, if there aren’t enough perks to playing professional ball, Short was contacted by MTV’s “MADE” with a request to become a “MADE” coach for a future show.

Flattered, but unsure, Short wants to think of her schedule with summer classes and the time commitment required before making a decision as to whether she will accept the offer.

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