Getting to know your Bulldogs

A question and answer session with ‘Dogs volleyball coach Ruben Nieves

Q: What occupies your spare time?
A: Besides tennis, I braid my hair; I watch a lot of movies, go shopping at the mall and listen to music. I like to do crazy dance routines to Jamaican music in my apartment by myself. It’s a way of making me feel at home at the moment. I miss speaking my language and there’s no one to speak it with, so the music takes me back to my country.

Q: What are your favorite movies?
A: I don’t have any particular favorite movies. I like to watch a lot of comedy, I like horror movies. I was into a lot of science fiction movies and I also like action movies mixed with comedy, martial art movies and a little mystery now and then. I love TV and my favorite new show is “Blood Ties.� I also like “Fear Factor,� but it’s something I’d never do.

Q: If you weren’t playing tennis, what other sport would you play?
A: I would probably be a runner because in Jamaica, running is a big thing. My parents were both runners. I used to run in school, but I gave it up to play tennis.

Q: Who is your favorite tennis player and why?
A: My favorite athlete is Venus Williams because I can relate more to her in terms of my game style and physical appearance. I think I have more similarities with her because of your height, long legs, and long arms. I think by watching her I can learn from her more. I have a big forehand and a huge serve.

Q: What’s something that people don’t know about you?
A: I’m a person that talks a lot. But once I start to eat, you won’t even know I’m there. Sometimes, my own teammates will give me food when I’m talking to make me shut up and I won’t even know it until they mention it later. Also, I live three minutes away from the beach, and I can’t swim, but it doesn’t stop me from going into the water.


A chat with women’s tennis player Tinesta Rowe

Q: What occupies your spare time?
A: I spend most of my time with my family. I’m married and I have a 4th grade son. I spend a lot of time attending or participating in his activities. He plays youth volleyball, track and field, basketball and soccer.

Q: If you weren’t coaching the sport in which you’re currently involved, what other sport would you coach?
A: I think I would enjoy something like cross country and golf. I enjoy running and I run with the players during their workouts. As for golf, I try to play once a month.

Q: What are some things you can’t live without?
A: It would be hard to imagine a fulfilling life without my immediate and extended family. I also couldn’t do without my daily trip to Starbucks to get a tall, no water Chai. After lunch is my favorite time to drink it.

Q: What’s your most guilty pleasure?
A: My wife and son got me hooked on “American Idol.� If I don’t have a Tuesday or Wednesday night commitment, we watch it. Melinda and Blake are my favorites this season. I was also a big Taylor Hicks fan.

Q: What is one thing you could change about yourself?
A: As a volleyball player, it would have helped to have been taller. Another thing that’s difficult for me is to show my true personality with the teams and players that I coach. I think I have a genuine fun-loving side that, for whatever reason, I have a hard time showing to players.

Q: What are your favorite movies?
A: “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,� “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,� “Rocky� (the original), “When Harry Met Sally� and “City Slickers.�

Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: My favorite food is Mexican food and I like eating at Tacos Marquitos. A very close second would be a tri-tip sandwich from Dog House Grill.

Q: What attracted you to volleyball?
A: Back when I was in 9th grade, I spent a lot of time at the Boys and Girls Club in Goleta, Ca. There was a group of high school and college kids that would play. One day, they didn’t have enough people to make a team, so they included me in the group.

Q: What are your goals for the women’s volleyball team?
A: My goals are that we do this opportunity proud. I don’t want to win a certain amount of championships. There are people in this community that are giving their hard-earned money for the students on scholarship. I want those people to be proud of us, proud of how our actions and efforts show that we appreciate being able to do what we do.

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