No place like home

(Editor's note: Senior Morgan Valley, a 6-foot reserve guard at Connecticut, will share a diary with ESPN.com throughout the season.)

Dec. 27, 2003

Now that I am older, Christmas as a season of receiving is not such a big deal anymore, but the time we spend together is what means most and what I remember.

The McCormicks, Papillos, Ingalls, and Merchants all came over to the house to visit. We laughed and joked, and it seems to me that the older I get the more important these times become. When you go home for the holidays as a winter athlete, your time is minimal. You have to make the most out of everyday, but at the same time you need to relax and take a couple days off.

This year, a couple of old friends and I got together and played a little. I got to go back to my high school and practice with the team. Boy, is it different than when I was in school. We all just seemed so much bigger then the players there now. It just seems so funny to me how in the last four years I have changed so much, but every time I go home it still feels the same.

Well, I guess a little has changed. My best friends, Merch and Kate, are engaged, Chris and Mike are really tall, Becky and E are so mature, my cousins have all gotten so big. For some strange reason my dad has become infatuated with his flower garden in the backyard. Oh, and my mom, she has a really cool haircut. But everything else just seems to be the same.

My family has been to every home game except for two in four years, so I am really lucky to see them a great deal, but there is no place like home. Although I really missed my teammates, the longer you're away from home the more you change, the more you come to appreciate home for what it is and there is just no place like HOME.

Drive from Connecticut to Vermont = $22
Food for two women (me and my sister) for three and a half days = $500
Time at home with family and friends = Priceless!!!!!