In Their Own Words: Kristin Graves

Oct. 30, 2008

During the 2008 season, members of the Kansas soccer team will share their thoughts in the first person. Today senior forward/defender Kristin Graves describes her emotions during Senior Day on Oct. 26, and looks back on her four years in the Crimson and Blue.

Graves also looks ahead to KU’s showdown with Missouri on Friday at 6:30 p.m., in Columbia:

On the emotions of Senior Day:
“I don’t think you really understand what it’s all about until it’s you on Senior Day. We came into the locker room (before the game) and it’s all decorated, and there are pictures up everywhere of us and the underclassmen. Every year, we’ve always written each of the seniors a letter about what they’ve meant to us and how they’ve influenced us. I was reading mine after the game, after everyone had left. I was reading my letter and just started bawling. Before the game, I was thinking, ‘there’s no way I’m going to cry on Senior Day, it’s not that big of a deal’. And when I started reading the letter, I think I realized how much different it’s going to be, not seeing the girls everyday. I’ll still see my roommates (Jessica Bush, Jenny Murtaugh and Sara Rogers); and the people in my class a lot. But, I’m so close to so many of the underclassmen that it’s really going to be an adjustment.”

On transitioning away from soccer with her roommates:
“It’s nice, because we can talk about it together, and in a daily environment, when we’re eating together, or cooking together or cleaning together. Well, maybe not so much cleaning together. But it’s nice to be able to talk to somebody else who is going through the same thing you are. If I didn’t have my roommates to talk to, I think I’d be taking this twice as hard.”

On living with three of her teammates:
“I think that sometimes it could be hard in certain situations (being around each other so much), but I grew up with (Jessica Bush), and she is like a sister to me, and so are (Jenny Murtaugh) and (Sara Rogers) now. I think that maybe we’d get more annoyed with each other, but we actually all have other activities going on. We all have boyfriends right now, so there is a time for that, and then just for girl time, and time for soccer. So it’s not like we have to be together all the time. We can definitely take our space if we need it. I’ve never gotten to a point where I was like, ‘Get away from me’.”

On seeing teammate Jessica Bush get proposed to on the soccer field:
“Actually, I was probably the one that was supposed to know (it was going to happen) before, but at Christmas last year, I gave away what Andy was going to give Jessica, because he asked me for help. And I accidently left it on my computer, and she found it when she got home. I don’t ever buy jewelry and had it up on my computer and she figured it out.”

“After the game as we were coming off the field, we were all angry, because we lost, and Andy came up to me and Julie and said, ‘hey guys, stick around, I want you to be around for this’. And Julie said ‘No, I don’t want to stay around’. And he said, ‘Well, you don’t have to stay around, but I’m about to propose’. And immediately, the whole team does a 180 and the emotions go from furious and mad to elated. We were so excited. I immediately started crying, because Jess is one of my best friends.”

“So we got the whole team over by the fence, and were talking to our parents so it didn’t look obvious. I knew it was going to happen, I just didn’t know it was going to happen this soon. It was one of the greatest moments of my life and it wasn’t even about me.”

On the rivalry with Missouri:
“It’s as intense as everybody thinks. It’s always a great game. We definitely smack talk, and push each other a lot more and are a lot more aggressive during the game, which is good for our team. We seem to rise to the challenge when teams do that to us, where some other teams will back down when things get intense. We’re obviously a clean team, but we’re not going to let down just because they’re going to be competitive.”

On always having fans in the stands on the road:
“My parents have always been my biggest supporters; whether it’s with soccer, school, or life in general, they’ve always been there for me. It’s meant the world to me that they have been to every game. I know the sacrifices they’ve made to be at every game are many and it means everything to me. Thanks ‘M’ and Daddio! I love you!”

On the deciding factor that brought her to KU:
“It didn’t hurt that some of the girls that I was good friends with were coming here. I actually decided pretty late; I had narrowed it down to KU and Iowa State. My deciding factor was my visit here – which I think it is for most people. I came here and the girls were so nice, and we went over to one of the soccer houses at the time and had dinner, played games, and the girls just seemed like they really were interested in getting to know us. You could tell when they were around each other how good the chemistry was, and I decided that I wanted to be a part of that.”

On how she decided on soccer:
“I think I played just about every sport growing up. I was a swimmer for a really long time, and I played soccer, softball, volleyball, and ran track. It came down to swimming and soccer when I was a little older. Swimming just made me so nervous, because it was all on you. All on one person. And I would get the worst stomach aches before a meet. But with soccer, it was never like that. It was all about the team. I liked that a lot more.”

On which position she enjoys playing the most on the soccer field:
“Wherever coach needs me, I’m there for him. I want to do whatever will help the team the most, and usually Coach (Francis) knows exactly where that is. I played forward my whole life, so I think that’s where I’m the most comfortable. But since I’ve been here I’ve also played in the back quite a bit and also in the midfield. Being versatile is great. It’s a compliment from your coaches that they feel like you can help them at a lot of different positions. But I definitely prefer forward.”

On what she’ll miss the most about playing soccer at KU:
“I’m going to miss the girls. I think I’m going to be that creeper who still hangs around and shows up at practice randomly just to say hi. It’s definitely going to be different without the girls. It has been different every year when the seniors leave. You don’t realize how different your life is when soccer is done.”