I just caught a glimpse of the U.S.-Germany men’s volleyball match from the Olympics and I can’t help but wonder if somewhere in Albany Markus Kuhn is hearing it from his teammates.
The rookie defensive tackle was born and raised in Germany and told me yesterday that even though he doesn’t have a television in his dorm room at training camp he’s still keeping up to date with how his country is doing at the Games.
“I try to check on the Internet to see what is going on,” he said. “Germany always does pretty good in the Olympics. We have very good athletes for being a smaller country and not as many people as China or the U.S. We still always produce quality athletes and do pretty good.”
Of course his teammates do talk a little trash whenever they can.
“We always joke around when something is on,” he said. “They’re like ‘Markus, did you see the Americans won gold again? And oh yeah, the Germans came in second.’ Stuff like that. That’s always going on, but it makes it fun.”
What’s also fun for Kuhn is actually playing football. He had to wait for his work visa to be processed before he could participate in practices, so that meant Kuhn wasn’t able to do any field work in OTAs or the minicamps. This training camp has been the first time he’s been on the field.
“That’s what I’m here for, that’s what I was waiting for,” Kuhn said of the opportunity. “To finally get everything straightened out and do what everybody else is doing, I love it.”
The holdup came because Kuhn could not apply for a work visa until he had a job, and he didn’t have a job until he was drafted. The Giants selected him out of NC State in the seventh round of the draft, which was on a Saturday. He filed his paperwork that Monday. But there is a rule that you cannot simply go from having a tourist visa to a work visa, Kuhn actually had to leave the country and return to German, go to the American Embassy there, and have his passport stamped.
“I’m here to make the team and that’s what I’m working on every day,” Kuhn said. “I did the best to make the best of what I could do over the summer when I was at the facility, and now I have to take what I saw and learned and put it on the field.”
Oh, and as of right now, the U.S. is beating Germany in that volleyball match, 2-0 in sets. It’s going to be a rough off day for Kuhn.