Athletes are often seen in one light: As athletes, and in the physical domain. As a member of the women’s basketball team here at Stanford, I hope to change that.
To state it simply, I hope to broaden the view of athletes, and exemplify the side what most often isn’t seen; in my opinion, these characteristics of people are what builds great teams – not just in sports, but in life as a whole. Here’s a look into the first weekend of the season for the women’s basketball team:
Our first games of the season weren’t losses, despite the final scores. This weekend, we travelled to Columbus, Ohio for two top-10 matchups in Connecticut (1) and Ohio State (5). Even though we were not victorious, there should never be an experience that is viewed as a loss when it can teach us something. As a Stanford student, I’m inclined to explain this like the concept of energy in physics: Where energy is lost, it is gained somewhere else. It is never created or destroyed.
At the end of a game after a loss, the locker room in any sport tends to be eerily quiet, as everyone’s anger and disappointment diffuses throughout the room. We didn’t play our best, that is for sure, but anyone who knows Tara VanDerveer would know that her team’s locker room is everything but quiet, because there is always something to be learned from every experience – good, bad or ugly.
We learned a lot through these past two games, and anyone who thinks we will be the same team in March that we are now might be slightly crazy. What amazes me is how the glue that holds our team together never faltered.
Wednesday, Nov. 8, morning plan: Practice 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., class from 9 to 11 a.m., depart for Columbus promptly at 11:30 a.m. After practice, Maya [Dodson] and I had a math midterm from 9 to 11 a.m. on the other side of campus, and we didn’t have time to grab breakfast. We never asked for anyone to pick anything up for us, yet breakfast was waiting for us in the locker room when we got there (shout out to Nadia [Fingall] for remembering that I love fruit and yogurt).
Thursday Nov. 9: First order of business was coffee club, headed by Alexa [Romano], our resident coffee enthusiast (although we have several contenders for most coffee consumed per week). Every location we travel to as a team, we find a local café or coffee shop and head there for a quick boost before breakfast in the morning.
Then we lost two games in a row. However, the topic of conversation on the bus ride home was everything but complaints and sulking. It was about how our incredible freshmen made their debut in our first games outside of exhibition. It was how we spent time with our families and with each other’s families. It was how we outscored Connecticut in the second half, and how we out-rebounded them 47-40, despite giving up 28 offensive rebounds to Ohio State on Friday. It was being excited about having seen where we want to be. Are we the most talented team in the country? No. Does talent win basketball games? Not by itself. Are we working towards finishing a marathon, with a full-out sprint, on a flight back to Columbus for the 2018 final four? You better believe it.
Contact Mikaela Brewer at mbrewer8 ‘at’ stanford.edu.