Retiring the Sneakers & Induction into the Hall of Fame…

As many of you know, I graduated with my MBA last December after getting back from playing pro-ball in Australia, Sweden, and Lebanon in 2019. I now have a new degree and a few letters behind my name 😉 …. and boat loads of debt. So this is what it’s like to be an average student not on a full-ride scholarship. haha 


Well, while at my graduation in December I was notified of my election into the Iowa Hall of Fame on March 2nd at the Iowa Girls State Basketball Tournament, hosted in the Wells Fargo Arena. Two amazing accomplishments and honors in one weekend and this time I am actually able to be in attendance. Before I knew I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame I was already debating putting the ball down so I could build my life outside of basketball and the way I see it what better way to go out on top?

So this blog is me announcing my retirement from the game I’ve loved for the last 15+ years. I guess I wasn’t really ready to announce it before this because that would make it too real. This game has been my identity for so long and I poured every ounce of me into it. It’s been a difficult few months coming to terms with it. I was finding back who I am without that ball glued to my hands and re-getting to know myself because I needed to fully believe that I am way more than the game that consumed the last few years of my life.  It has been the air I breathed and what every aspect of my days were planned around. So you can say I went through and probably still am going through a little identity crisis.


Pro-ball for me has been an amazing way for me to make a career of the game I love while seeing the world at the same time, but I think I reached the point where I was asking myself more often, “What’s next?” and “Am I reaching my full potential?” And I found myself answering “I don’t know” and “no” a little too often for my liking. So I’m making a change.  For the past few months I’ve been trying to figure out my next steps and trying to use my connections to start adulting and using that big ole MBA I just got. So hopefully everything falls into place in the near future, but for now I am grinding and figuring out what identity will replace the one I left behind. 


2019 has been a reflection of all that the game has given me and blessed me with. It’s appreciating all of the countries it’s taken me to not only to visit, but to actually live in and experience the culture. I was fully immersed in something completely foreign, but absolutely amazing… and I was paid to do it. Basketball has put some pretty great people into my life even if for a short while. It has given me CAT5 hurricane experiences with no better people I’d rather survive with. It has proven that I find some of my best friends and people in the darkest of times.  It has brought me to my knees, humbled me, and built me back up again. Basketball has also taken me to the highest level of play in the WNBA and it has taken me to some of the lowest moments in my life with injuries. It has broken me over and over (3 knee surgeries later), so I could prove that I could rise time and time again. It has given me an entirely new perspective, shattered my view of the world so I could have a more open-mind and it has shaped me into the stubborn, confident, faith-filled woman I am today. 


This blog feels more like both a funeral and celebration for my pro-ball career and all the amazing stuff that’s left to come. It’s more than just a closing of a chapter. It is more like a starting of an entirely new book. So RIP to what got me here and bring on what’s next. I’m excited to see what God has in store for me when I learn to lean in and trust His process. Let go of what no longer serves me for something greater.

And finally, for any of you who would like to attend my Hall of Fame Induction, it’s on March 2nd at the half-time of the girl’s game at 5pm in Wells Fargo Arena. Thank you guys for all of the support, checking up on me, and following this crazy dream-chasing journey with me! I appreciate you all! Xx

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Shout Out To 2018…

This is a shout out to 2018 as I reflect on all of it’s events, trials, obstacles, good times, bad times, and most importantly the growth that took place. 2018 made me “Level Up” to a different version of myself. 2017 catapulted me into a more mature, more vocal, a harder version of myself. One day I woke up and found a much stronger woman staring back at me in the mirror.

2017 was filled with everything from the hurricanes, ACL rehab, a few questionable people in my life, and a lot of emotions I didn’t know how to handle well. But 2018 felt like I was walking around wearing an extra layer of defense or maybe it was an accessory I picked up along the way preparing me for things/people I’d meet in the next phase of my life. I felt myself walking taller, more fiercely, being more confident in who I was while speaking up about things I didn’t think were right.

One thing I used to avoid like the plague was upsetting people, making others uncomfortable, confronting problems as if they’d go away if I ignored them long enough. This time around I knew the types of people I wanted to be surrounded by and who I knew needed to be kept at a distance. I upset a few people, made them uncomfortable, and spoke out when necessary (sometimes when it wasn’t too… oops) lol. But hey, the most growth doesn’t come from a place of comfort and I can honestly say I felt more ME than ever. I didn’t live to please everyone along the way.

I was called “mean” quite a few times by guys and I actually laugh at that. Because in this season of my life it’s more of a compliment and there’s worse things to be called. It just means that I’ve learned to stand up for the woman I’ve worked so hard to become. I didn’t go through so much, to get this far and have boys parading as men tell me the penny in their hand extended is actually worth a dime. You could also say I was a little bitter towards guys too, but hey I got it out of my system. 😉 I would say it grew from a place of mistreatment from myself and by other people in the year prior.

On the flip side, I accomplished sooo many wonderful things on all levels that I’m very proud of. Many of them that I haven’t allowed myself to sit down and appreciat until writing this. I am proud of everything from the beginning of the year with how I handled the Lebanon situation with a coach that was as toxic as they come and a club that was blackmailing me into staying in less than promised conditions. To my team’s/my performance in Sweden even though I tore my hamstring near the end of the season. To how I handled Australia. Lastly, I’m proud of the MBA I worked 2.5 years to graduate with in December.

You see, anyone who knows me knows I use humor and sarcasm to make things seem smaller than they are; even the bad stuff. Just like many of you reading this, I make self-deprecating jokes and comments to make the good stuff and the bad stuff seem less than it really is. Those little things we all use to make ourselves seem LESS sometimes. What I’ve used to minimize anything from hurricanes, to bball performances, to emotions, or even my MBA.

If I’m sitting here being honest with myself and allowing myself to appreciate it all a bit, I see that I’ve accomplished some pretty great things. I made some pretty amazing friends, as usual, in a multiple countries and somehow along the way I was able to graduate with a big time degree while balancing the ups and downs of it all. I did that! Nobody else did it for me.

I’m using this blog to boast about the badass woman staring back in the mirror at me today. I’m taking a moment to stop worrying about all that I’m not, all that I wish I could be, and all that I have yet to accomplish. I’m using it to let myself reflect and know it’s okay to be proud of what I’ve accomplished and I want you to do the same.

You may not be who you want to be right now or where you would like to be in your job, life, relationship, or even emotionally, but it’s okay to appreciate yourself and all that you’ve become in the last year. It’s okay to show a little love to the person looking at you in the mirror every single day, good or bad! You are the only you and your journey of how you got where you are is no less or more amazing than the person whose life seems near perfect on your newsfeed. It’s okay to hype yourself up sometimes because YOUR journey matters. YOU matter.

My New Year’s resolution is to change the way I talk to myself. I want to appreciate myself more and stop making myself small so others may feel more comfortable. Stop down-talking my accomplishments. Step into myself more because I’m really liking the person I’m becoming. It’s probably about time too because, I mean… it is kinda a forever thing. Lol

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, make sure to recognize how amazing you are, have been, and will continue being. Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see where we grow from here.

Strong Women Today: Seen & Heard…

When you think of strong women in the world today who comes to mind? Serena Williams? Melinda Gates? Your mom? Your sister? Oprah Winfrey? Angela Merkel? Michelle Obama? Becky Hammon? If you don’t know them, look em’ up. Drop some knowledge on yourself.

If you follow the news at all, you know all about Serena Williams and what went down at the US Open. You might even be able to relate to a certain level of what she had to go through. And some of you will look at it and laugh it off as a female overreacting. Using the gender card or the race card, but the majority of it revolves around the fact that gender equality still isn’t where it needs to be and that men get away with much more than women do.

One of the things I’ve learned in these last few years is that many men are uncomfortable dealing with a strong woman. They aren’t used to them. They’re used to women pretending to be dumb to make men feel superior, playing the damsel in distress, the pretty faced bimbo. A lot of guys want to lead all the time and don’t want to follow. Their ego takes a hit. It’s a power struggle. This past year seems to be a year where I am very blunt and direct when it comes to people and men. It had me riding that line wondering if I’m being a b**** or if I’m just being honest? Because if you’re blunt and honest with guys that’s what they tend to classify you as. But why? ….Because you don’t let them walk all over you? Because you don’t give them what they want or act exactly as they prefer? Because you aren’t acting the way society claims a “lady” should act? Just handle everything with grace.

Be seen, but not heard? It could go on and on, evidence trickling from relationships to the workplace. Accept lower benefits or a salary than the man working next to you in the same job position. Put up with powerful males trying to take advantage of the women working beneath them. Men taking advantage of their power and position. Not all men of course, but more and more are being put into the spotlight within the past year.

SPORTS:

I know that in sports seeing a woman throw a fit out on the court is seen as them being childish and over the top. While men are out there in the refs’ faces, getting in fights, swearing, doing far worse than most women dare to. Not saying that’s the way to go, but the repercussions of each person doing it, are very different. For men, it’s accepted as a part of the game and maybe they get a fine or two every now and then. However, women are held to a different, quieter, more restricted standard. I don’t think the world is ready for this generation of strong women, but they better start preparing because one by one women are finding their voice and one by one we choose to put up with less nonsense every day in our fight for equality. Equal pay would be a good start. Equal rights is getting there. I will say that equality is better than it once was, but it still has a long way to go. And as history shows time and time again, we need people who are willing to push against the barriers we have in place, in order to make progress towards something better. We need people to question the present in order to open ourselves up to a better future. A special thank you to the female professionals who are opening doors for the rest of us and future generations to come.

DATING:

One thing I want to set straight in the dating world today is that it’s not that strong women have attitudes, it’s that they have standards. You hear all the time that you teach other people how to treat you. What you allow is what will continue. “Strong women intimidate boys and excite men.” That’s a fact, my friends. It’s okay to know what you want and not be considered a b****. It’s strong women that help boys turn into men. It’s those women that challenge men to do better, to be better. They are the women who push their man to go after his goals and do all the little things behind the scene. Strong women challenge the people around them to be better and stick up for the people that can’t or haven’t learned to do it for themselves.

This past year and half has made me tired of being surrounded by boys calling themselves men. It also makes me appreciate the men that do live up to the name, but I’m tired of guys disrespecting women because that’s what they’ve gotten away with for so long. I’m annoyed that boys think, “Wyd?” is an acceptable conversation starter or that only sending invites to hang after 9 pm isn’t a slight slap in the face. That if you have a girlfriend, no… I do not want to “talk to you and see where it goes” just because you enjoy hanging with me. No, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. That’s not how it is “supposed” to work….but, that’s what it’s become. We’ve let those little/big things slide and in doing so we created a new, lower standard for so many young women growing up today. I was told a few months ago that I need to be nicer to men. I thought about it, but decided that no, I do not. Could be why I’m single, but I don’t think women should have to put up with some of the nonsense guys throw at them. I fully believe that sometimes they need to be called on it. How else are they going to grow and know how to treat the next lady in line? Ladies, don’t be afraid to be vocal. Your voice deserves to be heard, too. Strong is the new single. Be proud you’re an intelligent, outspoken woman that will find a MAN who’s not threatened by it.

FRIENDSHIPS:

Who is your TRIBE? …..Two of my former ISU WBB ladies, Lyndsey Fennelly & Kelsey Carper, own an indoor cycle studio called CampusCycle over in Ames/Ankeny, IA. Their business morale is built around creating an environment that empowers, inspires, motivates, and builds their community and its members up. They call it their TRIBE. It’s not just for women, but I thought it tied in well with this and was worth the recognition.

Strong women lift each other up. They empower each other. Strong women surround themselves with other women who make them a better person. They surround themselves with women who challenge them, women who are there for them when they need a boost. Strong women learn from other strong women. My other former ISU teammate/friend, Allison Lacey has a website dedicated to empowering women. It is broken into 3 different sections: KNOWING strong women, BEING a strong woman, and RAISING your daughters to be strong women. For any of you who haven’t checked it out already, I also highly recommend doing so! It’s called KNOW.BE.RAISE. I’ll include the link to it and Campus Cycle at the bottom of this page. (And if you haven’t noticed by now, the ISU WBB program produces some pretty BADASS women 😉 Coincidence? Or maybe its the standards we were held to/high expectations of some quality coaches that helped shape us a tiny bit. Idk.)

But for all my ladies out there stop gossiping and spreading rumors. Stop tearing other women down for being different, having a different body shape, or wanting something different for their lives than you do. Stop throwing shade at the women you should be sharing your LIGHT with and in doing so, you give them permission to let their LIGHT shine and burn brighter too. A candle loses nothing by lighting another. Who is in YOUR tribe? Who helps you burn brighter? Who helps you tear down those glass ceilings?

What I really wanted to say is, don’t be afraid to be a strong woman in the world today. Give yourself a voice and stand by your morals and what you believe. Break barriers. Ask questions. Raise each other up. Voice your opinion. Create new standards and opportunities for our young women growing up in the world today. Help blaze the way for a better, more equal tomorrow. Because the world needs a little more good to outshine the bad.

Be POWERFUL. Be STRONG. Be KIND. Be YOU.

Check out KNOW.BE.RAISE & CampusCycle in links below:

KNOW.BE.RAISE- Alison Lacey-Otzelberger

CampusCycle – Lyndsey Fennelly & Kelsey Carper

Challenge Yourself to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable…

So I haven’t really written anything really since I got to Australia, a few months ago, and now that our season is done I figure I probably should get on that. Our season here was up and down and we ended up losing in the second round of playoffs. However, our team really came together in the end and we were finally starting to work well together. I’m proud of how far we got and how much we improved by the end of the season. For those who don’t know, SEABL is a fair league during the Aussie winter/US summer months. It is very laid back, very casual compared to most leagues players experience while playing abroad. About two practices a week and 1-2 games over the weekend. The team I played for was the Supercats. They have a great program in Geelong with good people and a friendly fan base. Most of my teammates were very young, goofy, and were a fun group to play this past season with. As for games, I rarely played any more than 15 minutes a game, so I guess you could say I had to be efficient with my time. It was a new experience because never in my life have I ever spent so much time as an import riding the bench. Lol Usually teams are squeezing as much as they can out of their imports and we have to play anywhere between 30-40 minutes rain or shine. So it was a bit different than previous teams/ leagues to say the least but at least my body got lots of rest time I guess lol. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed my time playing with the Supercats here in Geelong and I’m very grateful for them allowing me to play once more in Australia and see so many old friends at the same time.

I’ve got about 2 weeks left now so I’ve decided this weekend to go up to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef. If playing pro ball has taught me anything it’s how to be comfortable doing things alone or if not comfortable, doing them anyway. It’s taught me how to make the most of every spontaneous moment with the random people I meet along the way. So I’m making this trip to Cairns alone to see something I’ve never seen before; staying in a backpacker hotel so I can find other travelers like myself. My plans are to relax, enjoy the warm weather, see the rainforest, and snorkel on the reef. A nice little get away from the norm. Don’t get me wrong I was little nervous deciding to wing it alone, but I never want what I am capable of doing or seeing, to be limited to the people around me or not around me. If your potential relies solely on the people you surround yourself with, you’re limiting yourself in more ways than you realize. Don’t be afraid to walk it alone for a while. Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Stay in hostels, backpacker hotels. Airbnb it. Get out of your comfort zone! Meet other travelers. Talk to those other human beings occupying the world around you. Get outside of yourself, your own life, your head. Listen to other people’s stories. Soak it all in and try not to get taken and sold on the black market in the process. 😉 jk.. but seriously, just learn to be smart. Don’t be like my mom telling strangers on the train all your details and exactly where you’re staying in Milan when you get there. Lol Gotta be careful traveling with Carma… Mostly, don’t limit how vividly, how colorfully you experience life to what you’re comfortable with.

Some of my favorite memories have come from those spontaneous, uncomfortable moments. I took a trip to Barcelona a few years back to meet up with an old friend and one of the nights I was left on my own. That evening I decided to go for a walk and maybe grab a drink at a wine bar down the road. I uncomfortably stood outside the entrance, pretending to look at my phone deciding if I had the courage to sit in a bar alone drinking; worried how it might look. Of course, my awkward self, happened to get in the way of a guy trying to walk in and we had a laugh. He noticed I was alone and invited me to sit with him and all his friends. They turned out to be a group of internationals like myself. Him and his buds were a group of New Zealand Rugby players playing for a team in France. The others were a group of travelers from Ireland. A night I would’ve spent inside my hotel room biding my time until my flight the next day, turned into surprisingly one of the best nights I’ve ever had. Drinking beers, singing, and laughing with strangers I’ll probably never see again; In a city I’ve never been before. One thing that night taught me was that one of my biggest regrets would’ve been staying in my room, playing it safe just because I was scared to experience the city alone. Scratch that, not alone; scared to experience it with a few quality people I just haven’t met yet. So here’s to landing in Cairns, meeting a few more quality people to experience the reef and make some great memories in new place with.

Prayers UP! Praise God for allowing me to experience so much of the world in this way through the game I love!

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

Proverbs 16:9

The “Pain” Behind Those Carefully Masked Replies….

I’m going to take this time to dig into myself, be a little vulnerable, and write down some my past heartaches and my hurts. It seems so distant, yet so current. That dull empty feeling, I want to call it hurt and I want to call it pain, but those don’t quite describe feelings of such disappointed, so raw, so hallow, yet still healing from bleeding out. Bleeding out. What a funny phrase created for something so physical, yet so vivid in a metaphorical sense. Pain is a word describing something felt. It’s not actually something you can see … or so they say. It’s a chemical reaction from stimuli sent to nerves, firing to the brain letting it know there’s an injury or potential problem. But what about the pain that comes from heartache? What about that pain that is invisible inside you and your mind, but is an unbearable heavy weight you feel daily? What about that pain of depression? Anxiety? Sadness? Hey, even too much happiness can be overwhelming some times because we don’t always know what to do with it (aka “tears of joy”).

If you pay enough attention, you can see pain written on the faces of those around you. If you look close enough, you can see them “bleeding out”. From the moments you see them closing their eyes taking deep breaths. To the dull look in their eye that seems to fade a little bit more each day. That sparkle that stops twinkling. A bleeding out with every action that goes unnoticed or even intentionally ignored. Every twitch. That sad look in their eye as they reply “good” to your “how you doing today?” That robotic default answer everyone gives no matter what, because to say “not good” requires an explanation most might not want to listen to. Or even worse that awkward silence where they have to care enough to ask why? It’s an easy thing to do, it’s easy, yet incredibly hard going through our days giving these robotic answers to avoid these encounters of “caring” because those negative feelings are frowned upon or it’s inconvenient to listen to other people’s problems when we already have our own.

You ever go through those phases where something or someone took the life out of you? Where you dread going to sleep because you dread waking up and doing it all over again? Where every time you open your eyes in the morning it hurts all over again. Waking up from a numbness and light and pain flooding you again as reality hits you. Someone did this to me before or maybe I technically did it to myself. Someone made me, gave me that push to just go numb. They made me feel so much, I felt nothing at all. I laugh now at it, because I drove all the way back from Florida last year to be home with those I love and who truly care about me. I was holding in a lot and I remember just wanting to be held. Just wanting a hug from someone who loved and cared about me. I remember just looking at my dad and saying as tears flooded down my cheeks that I just needed a hug and he didn’t hesitate. It was long enough to make me feel better, yet not long enough to get awkward. Lol And.. that’s all I needed. I explained why I needed it and we joked about guys and stupid stuff. And I can honestly say that I never cried over that guy again since then, but what I realized after that was how blessed I am to have a Dad and even a family who I can be 100% me with. Who I can tell when I am hurting. Tell when I need a hug. Can cry in front of. Can laugh about those things and laugh those tears of “pain” out with, that I’d been holding in for so long.

It’s a huge release of pressure, when you can lay your guard down after you’ve had to hold it up on your own for so long. Who you fight your battles with matters. I now understand the phrase “That’s someone I’d go into battle with”. Because life is a battle. How you get through it depends on the people armored up beside you ready to take it on. I find myself filled with so much love whenever I’m around my family whether they be immediate or my amazingly huge extended family, because I know they’re the people that would go into battle with me and me them. My amazing, big hearted mom would bake me any emotionally driven food item I wanted before I could get “I’m on a diet” out of my mouth and I’d probably still eat it. My aunts would be on the phone with me in a jiffy if I needed them for anything. They’re at the foundation of ME and they’ll always have my back. They’re the people I can show my weaknesses to and they won’t use them against me unless it’s at a family gathering and the “jokes” start coming out. Then it’s all fair game because that’s how family works. Lol We find a way to laugh at the good and the bad (even at each others expense) because we can’t imagine a life without a bit of laugher in the face of it all.

I actually wrote this piece a long time ago, but I’m posting it now to challenge you look a little closer at the battles others might be fighting behind that mask they put on for every day wear. Behind that falsely layered response of “I’m good”. Be a little nicer, care a little more, see the little things unseen because life isn’t all Instagram or Facebook “Posts” to be and everyone’s just trying to get through life a little less damaged than what is already promised. Also, I don’t know about you but I really appreciate it when people notice the little things. It makes things easier when you know you have a few big hearted people out there willing to care a little extra and listen to you more than what’s “convenient”. Like the topic of a sermon I recently listened to talking about how we should to allow ourselves to be DISTURBED. It really made me take a look at how I go about my days and my interaction with others. Go out of your way; Give some love and you’ll more than likely find yourself receiving plenty of it in return. ❤

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”

1 John 3:17

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Philippians 2:4

Update: From The Land Down Under…

Update: I’m in the land of oz again until September. Like coming full circle from when I was here 5 years ago. I love Australia, the culture, the people here, and Melbourne so coming back to play in their winter league wasn’t a hard decision. They didn’t really have to pressure me too hard to do it.

I get to see all my old teammates, friends, and adopted family members again. One of the many blessing I’ve gotten to experience traveling the world is making new, different friends and knowing people almost everywhere. It’s funny because I hadn’t realized all the “adopted” family members I’ve accumulated in my travels until my dad mentioned something to me the other day about how I seem to of made that a habit of doing that.

Starting with Australia: I have a older lady who considers me her adopted American granddaughter and she visits and brings her real granddaughter to our games sometimes. There’s also a family who took me under their wing when I tore my ACL for the first time. I met them randomly when my family came to visit and one of them was wearing ISU clothing. Turns out the parents actually used to be athletes at ISU! Small world! They let me babysit their three kids and spend time with them like I was a part of their family. It meant the world to me as I was post-surgery in a foreign country alone.

Puerto Rico: The couple who owned the house we were staying in lived above us. They took care of us and treated my teammate and I as family after two hurricanes destroyed the island and we were stuck there. Also, our neighbor Kathy who always looked so serious and spoke zero English treated us as a typical Hispanic Mom would. Making us lemonade, teaching us how to make lemonade and then scolding us for doing it wrong, telling us to move our car into her garage, making sure we were fed, etc. Etc. She was sweet in a motherly, occasionally scolding us kind of way. haha

Sweden: One day an elderly couple asked to sit at my table for lunch one busy Thursday and it turned into a weekly tradition of having lunch with my Swedish grandparents. They also invited me over frequently for coffee and Easter lunch with the rest of their family and real grandkids. They then gave me tickets to an classical Mozart concert which was an interesting, yet completely nap worthy experience I probably won’t do again. Lol They have no cell phone and the only way I can communicate with them is via their landline phone and the pen pal letters we send back and forth now. My Swedish grandparents told me to tell my parents that they did something right with me because I was a good girl. Haha My dads reply was “how’d that happen?” Lol

I was like, “ I know right?! You guys really did try your best to screw us kids up. From overdosing us on dimetapp, to the countless whoopings, to letting us play in raccoon infested buildings, to shooting our dog, Sunny, in front of me one bright, sunny day.”(Sunny had a tumor and needed to be put down… maybe just not in front of me. lol )Smh Farmer Tony teaching us all young… and Carma keeping us in line and busy with an endless amount of chores.

I am grateful to have such a huge, loving family back home who screwed me up, whooped me enough, toughened me up, and loved me just enough to mold me into a fairly sane human being most days. So for that, thanks Mom & Dad.

In honor of my bball journey coming full circle and reflecting on my travels. It’s an amazing feeling to sit here and be able to say I have family across the globe, even if they aren’t blood.

As of now, I’m living in a house with three other import players. Two guys who are pretty chill and my teammate from Venezuela who is helping me brush up on my Spanish. Our teammates and club people are all really nice and are a fun group, though I forgot how crazy and wild Aussies are. Practices are two times a week with games on the weekend. I just had an interview with a marketing group in town to work with them on the side. We will see if I get a second round interview invite within the next week. On top of all that, I’m still grinding through my second to last term of my MBA program and will graduate in December… hopefully. 😉 In the meantime, I’m just over here keeping busy and having fun while doing it!

Peace, Love, & Happiness ❤

Faith, Family, Basketball… In that Order…

My Swedish adventure is over. First stop back to the states was Gainesville, FL to finish up my 4th term of my MBA program through UF. Second stop, home. Third stop coming up, Australia. When I began this basketball journey I gave myself 3 years. I never thought I’d still be playing, but hey, you love what you love. Though it is a love-hate relationship. Throughout it all I’ve had my ups and downs with all my knee operations, natural disasters, mental trials, living alone in a different country, time away from my family, etc. etc. I love being good at this game I love, but in my time chasing… wait I think I can say living this dream by now; my relationship with it has changed in 3 pretty important ways:

  • First way it’s changed is my perspective and respect for it. As many of you already have come to realize, as you grow up you learn to value your time with your loved ones more than before. Nowadays I can say I miss my time spent with my family more now than ever. That could also be because I have a few, pretty darn cute, entertaining nephews and a little princess beast of a niece who I feel like I’m missing out on while they grow up. I guess you could say I miss their parents/grandparents too from time to time, but mainly those lil beastlings. Haha jk But seriously, when you’re young, exploring the world, and trying to establish your independence, you place less importance on your time spent with your family. As you get older you realize all the love and valuable time you’re missing out on with every second spend away from them. Priorities change, as you grow. Don’t get me wrong, I do still love basketball, but I do also question when I will give it up to enjoy those little ones before it’s too late and they’re all grown up. Before I look back wishing I was around more.
  • Second way it’s changed is my approach towards it is different. My mentality has gone from that stubborn minded, bull headed, play through any/all pain athlete to a more smart-minded, big picture viewing professional. I pay attention to how much I push my body and when it’s telling me I need rest. I’ve had to learn to stand my ground with coaches when they want me to practice or play but my body is telling me no. It’s like pushing a car to drive with no oil. You do more damage than you realize, no matter how badly you want it to work. Your body needs maintenance too. What most people don’t realize is that basketball at this level is a business. Coaches and clubs try to get everything they can out of us. That’s their job as the employer but they will try to squeeze what they can out of you. They paid for a player and they expect to get their money’s worth, but like any piece of machinery, we can break down unexpectedly. We have to learn to walk that fine line between being an athlete wanting to earn our keep, wanting to play, and realizing that our body is our only tool for the career we’ve chosen. Once it’s broken or all used up it’s done. We have to learn that we’re the only ones that are going to take care of our body the way it needs to be taken care of and we have to be smart about it. Learn to rest. Learn to say no. Learn that ball is only life.. until it’s not.
  • Lastly and most importantly, I’ve learned where my career belongs on my priority list. I’ve learned to let basketball take a backseat to my relationship with God. I believe I got knocked down a few times these past few years to be able to see if from a different point of view. Maybe I needed to be humbled a bit. Sometimes we go through the motions of our faith and we don’t realize when exactly we placed God in the backseat. Many of us begin to idolize certain things in our life without realizing it. We get so caught up in our jobs, that promotion, school, running around trying to keep our busy lives together all while let Him fall through the cracks. Maybe we start valuing our Saturday nights out on the town drinking more than we do making it to church the next day. Maybe we fall into a spiral of doing those things that make us feel good but aren’t actually good for us. I think that in the beginning of my career, I let my relationship with Him take that back seat. Basketball became my idol for while; it was my dream. It was that think I wanted more than anything. I got a taste of the WNBA, success, accomplishment, money, and I was putting more energy into that dream than I was into my relationship with God. I was showing more love to that basketball/the plans I had for my life, than I was showing to the man who died for my sins. And sometimes He just has to put His hand on us and tell us to sit down. Like Kendrick Lamar says: “Be Humble… Sit Down.” Lol 😉

On my mission trip to the Ivory Coast last summer we spoke about how easy it is as athletes to begin idolizing our sport. Identifying a huge part of ourselves as “athletes” and when reality hits us and we have to hang up that jersey for a different uniform, it hits us hard. We have to begin learning that there’s more to us than just the sport we worked so hard at. We have to learn that our identity as an “athlete” is a much smaller part of who we are than we thought. I’ve learned that basketball isn’t WHO I am, but it is a big part of who I’ve become. Having that ball ripped from me time and time again was God helping me get my priorities straight. He doesn’t want to be 2nd, 3rd, or anything less. He wants to be #1, because unlike my time as an athlete or your time with that job, hobby, other thing you put so much into, He is everlasting.

So what I’ve personally come to realize, is that ball isn’t actually life… even though it’s a big part of it and what I love doing. I mean, it is my career …but at the end of the day, beginning of the day, and throughout the entire day… God is life. Family is Life. And the love that comes along with realizing that, is worth more than anything else in the world. So while I’m still pursuing my dream, my priorities and my perspective has changed dramatically from when I first started. I haven’t been able to get in the zone and come up with a solid blog for a while, but this is just what came to mind as I tried forcing myself to put a little something on paper. My relationship with God and this sport, the reprioritizing of what’s important to me, and the ability to see the bigger picture beyond what’s directly in front of me.

Faith… Family… Basketball… In that order… ❤

 

Because this is what happens when you’re not around for family vacations…

You get voted off the island and they take cute family photos without you… cool guys…

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