COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 2, 2020) – Like most of us, U.S. opposite Ben Patch is sheltering in place while country deals with the coronavirus outbreak.
Q: First, please tell us where and how you are spending your time during the corona virus outbreak?
A: I was in Berlin working on a clothing brand. I am trying to start a clothing company. If people know me, they know I like to stay busy. I was cutting fabric and got a note that I was being evacuated. I came back to the U.S. thinking I was coming back to Anaheim. When that got taken away (because the American Sports Center, where the team trains, had to close), I found myself in Utah with not as many friends as I had before and with different resources. I needed to find something to do. I reached out to a lot of studios and people in the art world. One private studio said I could go and throw. It’s not open to the public, but they said I could work there as an artist. Spending time working out at friend’s private gym and working at the ceramic studio for a few hours.
Q: You played for the Berlin Recycling Volleys this winter. How did your season go and how did it end?
A: Berlin is my city. I feel like it’s my home. I have a really good community there and that’s important. It’s the most amazing team I’ve ever had, great guys with open minds. That’s important because I don’t fit the bill of your standard jock. It really added to magic of our team. We were so close. We were doing things outside of volleyball. We had team ceramic night. There was never any tension. Everyone was super chill. We were undefeated in the German league, which was amazing. We were moving in the direction of winning back-to-back championships when we got shut down. The end was not how we wanted to finish. We wanted to finish the year undefeated. We did end with celebration together, which was important. We may not have received title, but we worked so hard and proud to be part of that team.
I have really been working on serving for two years. I am not afraid to admit that serving was my weakness. I finally figured out something. I had a very successful year, for me, serving, and that took pressure off my game. I wasn’t so tense about my serving. I had a really good year. I sat out for a month and a half because I partially tore part of my Achilles tendon. I recovered quickly. I am healthy and was playing by the end.
Q: What are your thoughts on the postponement of the Olympic Games?
A: To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. I had prepared myself. To have the Olympics, it felt a bit rushed. You’re training and traveling so much for VNL and then go to Olympics, no one would have a second to be fresh. I was feeling relieved.
Q: We know you like photography. How did you get into pottery?
A: Pottery is actually the first thing that came into my life. Pottery was well before volleyball. I started ceramics in middle school. I didn’t do sports, I was always doing art. Ceramics became my passion. In my sophomore year of high school, I was really into it. I started doing ceramic shows at local museums. My original plan was to go to university for fine arts. My ceramics teacher said, “You are so talented, are you sure you want to do sports?” I’ve done pottery for 13 or 14 years and volleyball for almost nine. My minor at BYU was in fine arts.
Q: How did you get the idea for your pottery charity?
A: A week ago, I was in the studio every day. I thought, “What am I making all this stuff for? I’m not doing anything and don’t need a job right now. What am I doing?” I have a friend I lived with in Berlin and she is also a ceramic artist. We developed a bond. She is with her family in France. I said, “Why don’t we start a brand as a charity, especially in this moment? We both have similar pottery styles. We want to raise money and we love ceramics. Why don’t we make this a thing?” Our goal is to get it big enough that we have multiple artists donating their work.
The charity web site is be-assembly.com/
Photos courtesy of Ben Patch