Prior to taking this job at the athletic department, my duties rarely took me over to Matthew Knight Arena to watch Oregon's national powerhouse volleyball team.
My exposure to Jim Moore's Ducks was limited to television. And sure, they looked tall and athletic and powerful, and the sport looked fast and entertaining.
Then I checked out the team for its scrimmage last week, and sat at the new courtside seats installed at Matt Court for volleyball matches this year. The Ducks are TALL and ATHLETIC and POWERFUL. And the sport is FAST and ENTERTAINING.
Sitting in the new courtside seats — there are two rows of 10 next to each end of the court — reminded me of the days when press row used to be on the table at midcourt.
You're literally right in the middle of the action; you can hear and see interactions between players, coaches and officials. If you're not paying attention, you might catch a ball to the side of the head. It's thrilling, in a way other seats can't quite match.
Oregon's ticket office is selling the courtside seats for $250 for the season, or $25 per game, if available. More than half of the 40 seats have already been sold. But there's another free exhibition tonight, when the Ducks take on several alumni.
Admission is free, including for the courtside seats. If you're already a volleyball fan, used to watching the team from other vantage points, check them out. It's an entirely different way to experience the game.