Feb. 24, 2012
BY MATT MAGILL
Freshman Trym Nagelstad has been at Tennessee for almost two months now, and he's enjoyed the experience so far.
The freshman from Oslo, Norway, arrived in Knoxville in January to join the tennis team in time for the spring season.
He was among the better players in Europe growing up before a series of injuries kept him sidelined off and on over the last few years. While he has not seen any match action yet for the Vols, Nagelstad has been working to get in shape and continue developing his game.
In between the weight training and the individual practice sessions, Nagelstad found time for an interview to discuss his improved fitness on court, punishments for losing at soccer video games and his skiing career.
Q: You've been here over a month now. What do you feel like the transition has been like?
A: It's been a big change, but I really like it. Now I've started to get to know the guys better and better and we're getting closer and closer. That's really good for me to make friends and feel comfortable.
Q: What's the team aspect been like for you?
A: We're really close and I think that's one of the best things with this team. We always support each other. We make a lot of jokes and make fun of each other, but it's all at a certain level. You don't feel bad about yourself in any way. When it gets too much, the guys know when to stop. We're having a lot of fun.
Q: What do they make fun of you about?
A: They don't really make fun of me, but they do joke around. They call me "The Viking." I can make fun of myself. Like when we play outdoors, I call myself "The Snowman," because I'm so pale.
Q: Outside of the tennis and team aspect, what's been your favorite part of UT so far?
A: You get to create a new group of friends and that's exciting to see what kind of people you end up with. I think that's really cool to see what kind of guys you get a good connection with. Outside of the team, it's the guys I meet in class that I hang out with. I've met two or three swimmers here from Sweden, so we can converse in language since they're almost the same. I love having some friends; it feels like I'm at home when I can speak my native language.
Q: How different are those two languages?
A: They're really alike. They're almost the same. It's different kind of words and accents, but we can understand each other. It's kind of weird because Norwegians understand Swedish, but Swedish have trouble understanding Norwegians. We have to speak Swedish. My coach in Norway, he's from Sweden so it makes it easy for me to speak Swedish with these guys.
Q: Was there any culture shock coming here?
A: No, not much. I thought it was going to be warmer. Actually, the weird thing is that one day we'll practice outside and the next day it's snowing. That could never happen in Norway.
Q: Do you miss Norway?
A: Of course you miss your family and friends. I hate to miss the winter in Norway because we'll always go skiing and I love to go skiing. So far, I'm having a great time here.
Q: Did you ever do competitive skiing?
A: When I was younger I did. I competed in downhill. That was when I was like 12 or 13. Now I just jump around and have fun with friends. It's not competitive at all. I'm just trying to have fun with tricks and big jumps without hurting myself too much. I actually hurt myself once and my coach was really mad.
Q: What were you trying to do?
A: It was a really big jump and I tried to turn two times around and I landed the wrong way. I felt pretty bad and hurt my knee. I couldn't practice for a few weeks and it still bothered me for three months. I was kind of upset with myself. It happens.
Q: Is skiing something everyone does in Norway?
A: Not everybody, but almost.
Q: Is that the main winter sport?
A: Not so much skating; maybe long-distance skating, but not jumping around. There's cross-country skiing.
Q: Between Facebook and Skype, are you able to talk to your family much?
A: I Skype with my mom and a lot of my friends as well. When I'm done with Skype, you use Facebook. Your second life is Facebook.
Q: When you had that series of injuries, what was it like not getting to play?
A: I was struggling a lot with motivation and that kind of stuff. It wasn't fun at all. You can only practice one or two times a week. When I got better, I started practicing more. It took me two or three weeks and then I got injured again. It was really demoralizing, but now I'm here and I'm not injured anywhere.
Q: How have you felt your game has developed here?
A: It's been developing pretty well I think. It's a lot of hard work of course. It makes me get in better shape. I'm starting to get there. I feel like I can go longer and I don't get tired as fast. That's good for my game; it makes me get in position.
Q: Coming into the semester, I imagine that's one of the difficulties. Guys have been in the program longer.
A: It's all on you. They support you though. It has been a big change, but I like it so far. The guys are really good to me.
Q: The team all post on Facebook and Twitter about your lack of FIFA skills. Are you trying to improve?
A: I've been playing at Gibbs with the Swedish guys. When I play with them, I feel really good because sometimes I win. We play with these rules. If you lose 3-0, you have to bow to the other person. If you lose 5-0, you have to post an apology on Facebook. 7-0, you have to call the other guy's mom and apologize for wasting her son's time. . . . I brought those rules over to Vol Hall playing with Colton, but he's been ranked like 300 in the world. He just kicked my butt. I've called his mom four times now. I think she doesn't like it anymore. Every time I'm over there we play and I have to call Colt's mom. I have to Skype Ed's mom as well, but I haven't yet. I have to improve my game. It's a lot of fun though.
Q: Do you regret bringing those rules to Vol Hall?
A: I don't regret it, but I don't know. You never want to call anyone's mom. It's fun though; it makes the game more competitive. You get more into the game. I'm happy I brought it over.
Q: What's your team of choice?
A: We play random teams. You can push the button up to ten times and take the best team from there. When I can choose my team, I probably go to Premier League and choose Arsenal or Manchester United or go to Spain and get Barcelona. I need the best teams or I'm going to lose.
Q: In terms of American TV, what are your favorite shows?
A: I haven't been watching a lot of TV actually. I have some shows on my computer. I really like the shows called Hung and Californication and Entourage. Those are my favorite shows. And I really love Friends. I watched them all in Norway before I came here.
Q: Are you familiar with the Minnesota Vikings?
Q: It's an American football team. You haven't got to see football here. What are your expectations?
A: I think it's going to be really, really cool just to see 100,000 people going to a football game. I've heard a lot of great stuff about it. I actually seen a basketball games yet either, but I probably will go pretty soon. (Trym attended Wednesday's game against Mississippi.)
Q: What's the biggest crowd you've been a part of?
A: The biggest stadium in Norway takes 25,000 I think. When I've been, it was around 20,000 people. I think the basketball arena takes more than the largest I've been to.