Rules of the road: Little-known facts about the BYU volleyball team

By Sarah Ballard

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, April 11 2014 2:12 p.m. MDT

BYU Head Coach Chris McGown talks with BYU's Jaylen Reyes (12) during a match against the Stanford Cardinal Friday, January 24, 2014 at the Smith Fieldhouse South Field in Provo.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

PROVO — Mochi, tanning, shopping and McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are a few blacklisted items for the BYU men’s volleyball team. What may seem like a random assortment of items has become known as “The Things that are Banned,” based on incidents that have occurred on the road over the last couple of seasons.

With 15 road games this year, the BYU men’s volleyball team spends a fair amount of time traveling. Most of that time is spent in preparation for Friday- and Saturday-night matches by practicing or watching film. However, in their free time, the players also manage to have a little fun — a little too much fun in the eyes of their coaches.

Tanning is no longer allowed, thanks to Tyler Heap and his brother, former BYU player Andrew Heap.

“We were at Santa Barbara last year, and we all played Monopoly Deal by the pool for two and a half hours and got super sunburned,” said outside hitter Phil Fuchs. “So we go to the game and Tyler Heap is really sunburned, Andrew Heap is really sunburned, I’m kind of sunburned and Michael Hatch is super sunburned on his legs only — but his shorts covered it so he was OK. Anyways, Tyler Heap gets subbed into the match, and the first thing the guy on the other teams says is, ‘He’s sunburned!’ and the whole gym just looks at Tyler and sees how red he was.”

Heap blames his fair complexion for giving him away.

“A lot of people got sunburned, but it was the most obvious with my brother and me,” Heap said. “We were suffering from very white skin and got very red. We were called lobsters during the game. I got heckled pretty good for that one. Yeah, don’t get sunburned.”

BYU head coach Chris McGown threatened to send the next player to get sunburned on a flight home. McGown has yet to make good on that offer following the Heap incident.

“That day was the ban of sunburns, but it was also the day I ate like seven boxes of mochi,” opposite hitter Josue Rivera said, laughing. “That was a great day, just eating mochi by the pool getting sunburned.”

In general, desserts are discouraged during the road trips so it doesn’t affect the players’ performances during the games. Mochi, it turns out, became a bigger offense because of the amount the players were consuming.

“We stopped at a Trader Joe’s on the way over, and they have these mochi ice cream balls there,” McGown said. “Josue got into them and ate the whole box, and he didn’t play very well.”

That was the end of mochi for the team.

But apparently this was not Rivera’s first offense of dessert rule-breaking. He also managed to sneak in an Oreo pie before a match his first year on the team.

“I was redshirting, so I wasn’t playing,” Rivera said. “But Futi was my roommate, and we ate the whole thing. He played awesome, so I asked if we could have dessert before every match. Coach Rob didn’t like that.”

Shopping was also banned when a player tried sneaking off to go to the mall last year. But the most recent ban comes from just a couple weeks ago. Sophomore opposite hitter Carson Heninger takes the blame for the ban on McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

“One day after practice I was craving some nuggets,” Heninger said. “Hamilton, being the good man that he is, came with me to McDonald’s, and it was during the Olympics when you could get 40 nuggets for $9. It was like a family deal.”

“And Carson is apparently his own family,” Heap interjected.

“So I went and got 40 nuggets and a large chocolate shake,” Heninger continued. “Hamilton got 20 nuggets, because he’s a cop-out, and we’re in the middle of dinner when Giuseppe walks in and sees me. Giuseppe and Mike had dinner with Coach Chris and ratted me out.”

Although the nuggets are not explicitly banned by McGown, they were strongly discouraged. Heninger’s act earned the team a catered dinner to talk about nutrition habits.

“So McDonald’s has brought more blessings to this team than anything else,” Heap said.

With only two more away games this weekend, players hope to not add to the list of banned items.

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