New approach spikes volleyball program

Molly Kissinger is what many would call a free spirit.

The new Hood River Valley High School volleyball coach typically lives her life a few months at a time, doing as much as she can while trying to keep her feet planted on the ground.

A few months skiing in Utah, a few months windsurfing in Costa Rica, and a few months working at her home base, Cherry Hill Farms in Mosier. That’s been the norm for Kissinger the past couple of years.

Add in the responsibilities of being a mom (20-month-old son, Leo) and a yoga instructor, and it’s hard to imagine where she would find time to coach volleyball.

But, when she heard that the HRV program was in dire need of a committed coach, Kissinger jumped in head-first and took on the challenge of guiding a young group of HRV girls into the Intermountain Conference.

“Volleyball has been my big thing since I was a freshman in high school,” said the Wilmette, Ill., native. “I look at life a lot like volleyball. It’s all about getting into position.”

Kissinger has now been coaching the group of 27 girls, along with assistant Barb Hosford and JV coach Angie Cox, for three full weeks, and she has already started to implement her system.

“I don’t have much formal coaching experience, but I have a lot of playing experience,” said the former University of Illinois star. “My varied sports background has helped facilitate a greater understanding of what it will take to coach this group. And, over the past couple weeks, I have felt it start to sink in.”

Kissinger coached two freshman girls teams in the early ‘90s while living in Evanston, Ill., and benefitted from the tutelage of one of the NCAA’s top volleyball coaches, Mike Hebert, for two years at the University of Illinois.

She also spent 11 years as a guest relations manager and fitness manager at Alta Ski Resort in Utah, and now spends her winters teaching windsurfing for Three Corners Resorts in Costa Rica.

Also, during the eight months a year she lives in Mosier, Kissinger is a part-time yoga instructor at the Hood River Sports Club.

“I guess you could call it an alternative lifestyle, but I love it,” she said. “It could present a bit of a challenge with coaching because I won’t have contact with the girls until April or May. But this year will be a good test, and I’m committed to making it work.”

Just as she has done with every other challenge in her life, Kissinger has greeted her head- coaching duties with enthusiasm and vigor. But, as much as she looks forward to teaching the young HRV players, she also plans to learn a few things from them.

“I’ve been turning a lot to Meghan (Flink) so far, and sort of running things by her since she’s our most seasoned player,” she said. “The other players also look to her for guidance, and it should help to have a leader like her on the floor.”

If the first three weeks of practice are any indication, it shouldn’t be long before the players are saying the same thing about having Kissinger on the bench.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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