In my last post I talked about heroes and the people I looked up to as a young girl. Like my appearance over the years, my heroes too have changed. I no longer idolize college basketball stars or Olympic athletes (read: Marion Jones before I found out she took performance enhancing drugs) but still hold high admiration for Steve Nash, Michael Jordan and Annika Sorenstam. Though these pro athletes have helped me dream and set goals, I’ve realized it’s my family and friends who truly inspire me. These are the people I consider my heroes. In one way or another they all have helped me become a better person. I’m so thankful for my supportive family and great friends. Unlike Michael Jordan and Steve Nash, these are the people that are there for me, the people I can talk to and who can offer advice. They’ve helped me set goals and allowed me to realize what I am capable of. You might not see them in Sports Illustrated, gossiped about in US Weekly, or talked about on TV, but they are awesome people who are doing and going to do great things.
People like Amy Taylor who after graduating with a degree in Physical Education and playing a season of pro basketball decided it was time to give back. She will be starting nursing school at the University of Rochester in May. Amy is going to be a great nurse because she’s a great person. Right now she’s coaching high school girls basketball, which she will continue when she’s a RN. Amy’s someone who taught me not to sweat the small stuff. She’s outgoing and has a positive outlook on life.
Kayla Burt was the first person to make me feel welcome at UW. I was a freshman who didn’t know anyone and she was a cool upperclassman well known to the public around Seattle. She invited me out with her friends, picked me up from the dorms and was willing to lend an ear when I needed to vent about college stresses. Since that day she’s been a great friend who I still remain close to. Kayla taught me perseverance – something she oozes with. This is someone who had cardiac arrest as a sophomore the night before a basketball practice. Someone who after a year of enduring tests, being poked with needles and having a defibrillator inserted into her chest returned to the basketball court and played once again in the purple and gold. Currently Kayla is the assistant coach at the University of Portland and plans on becoming an EMT when she’s done coaching.
I lived with Kelly McDonald for 2 years while attending the UW. It wasn’t until our second year in the 5556 that I realized she was actually really cool. I don’t know what took us so long to click (maybe it’s the fact she’s 5’1 ☺) but I’m glad we did. I consider Kelly one of my best friends. I mean, I’m practically part of the McDonald family! Kelly taught me how to be spontaneous and how to make any situation fun. Kelly’s a clown…but for real, she’s an acrobat/performer for Franco Dragone’s Le Rêve at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. Go check it out, you won’t be disappointed!
Holly Robertson is good people. While she probably knows more about me than she needs to, she’s been a constant friend over the years. We met in 2003 while on the National Team and have been close ever since. Though we don’t see each other a lot (she’s from Cochrane, Alberta and went to Brown in R.I.) our communication has weathered the storm and we’ve kept in great touch. Holly is extremely intelligent (graduated in Biology/pre-med from an Ivy League school – hello!) and is someone who keeps me humble and in line. She’s currently playing basketball in Germany after playing 2 seasons in Italy.
Brian Bauer is someone you can feel comfortable with. Whether I’m covered in sweat from a long workout or dressed to impress, Brian has never made me feel out of place. He’s a great guy, someone I’m thankful to have in my life. He pushes me and is the only reason I run the outside of Greenlake rather than the inside loop ☺! He’s full of energy and has a love for endurance sports. The future will see him completing an Ironman and climbing Mt. Rainier. Don’t doubt it.
Kara Mulflur and Katerina LaMarche are two awesome girls that I lived with my senior year of college. We had never met before living with one another, and what an adventure that became. The three of us clicked instantly and you will rarely find one of us without the other two. I think it’s our different personalities that makes us so close. Kara’s a bubbly outgoing character that always make you smile, while Kat’s serious side and factual knowledge definitely keeps you on your toes. The two of them showed me how to live senior year to the fullest, and how friendship can survive its ups and downs. Kat’s currently working for the King County Prosecutors office and is off to law school in the fall, while Kara plans to be involved with the marketing of a pro sports team in Seattle.
Jason McDonald is the kind of friend you can sit in a basement with for hours, not utter a word and still have had a great time hanging out. I think we have a lot in common (besides his extreme intelligence and dry humor.) Whether going out on Oasis Island, cooking fried chicken or grabbing drinks at the K&K, we always have something to talk about. He’s someone who has shown me how to make things happen and bring people together.
Where do I even start with Jill Bell? My sister from another mister showed me how not to take life so seriously and just have fun. She is probably the funniest person I’ve ever met and her impersonations are dead on. I keep telling her she needs to be on SNL or something…currently Jill is playing pro ball in Spain. Miss you girl!
Courtney Thompson – the name says it all. She is the most dedicated, passionate person I’ve ever met. Living with her for 2 years taught me how to determine what matters most in life and how to pursue it with reckless abandon. Right now she’s enjoying the beaches of Puerto Rico where she is playing pro volleyball. Expect to see her holding it down as athletic director at a big time university in the next 10 years.
Nicole Castro and Sarah Keeler are 2 former teammates I hold close to my heart. While Nic is far away in Australia, I believe she’s someone I will be friends with forever. Nic is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She always puts others before herself and taught me how to look for the best in people. It’s no surprise that she’s gone back to school to become a teacher. She believes everyone has a right to education, not just people with money and wants to be a part of that solution. Keeler is free spirited and a great friend. She always finds a way to make you laugh and just being with her brings a smile to my face. She’s my music connoisseur and someone who knows how to make country cool! She took me to my first rodeo and it’s become an annual event (Let’er Buck!) A true Husky; don’t be shocked to see her at UW events in her purple foam Husky head.
I never thought I would befriend a Cougar. However, I knew I’d eventually cross paths with a WSU grad. Believe me when I say I had no plans to become close with one of them. Well that went out the window! Kate Benz and I have become good friends despite our different choices in color. Though extreme rivals on the court (yes we guarded each other twice a year for 4 years) it’s through basketball we became such good friends. Avoiding the crimson crew while staying at the same hotels on road trips became a thing of the past when we finally shared our mutual respect for one another’s game. It was an odd friendship from the start as we wouldn’t talk a week before we played each other, received glares from teammates and coaches and routinely made fun of each others school and colors. However, we have grown closer over the years. Kate’s very ambitious and has showed me what independence is and how to take a chance. She packed her bags and without knowing anyone moved to Austin, Texas. She’s working for a TV station as an editor and plans to write a book in the future. Ameri-CAN twins for life baybeeee!
Though only recently meeting this summer, Lindsey Wilson is someone I’ve felt I’ve known for a long time. An impressive basketball player (34th overall pick in the 2003 WNBA draft – played in Greece, Turkey and presently Slovakia) Lindsey helped me prepare for my first season overseas and talked me through the tough times. I think the reason we get along so well is because we share characteristics such as competitiveness, determination, hard work and desire. I met my match when I started working out with Linds; she pushed me to another level and I’m grateful for her very honest personality.
And Finally my two girls from home Julie Little and Lani Gibbons. Sadly, I’ve lost touch with a lot of people from my high school days, but these 2 rivals on the bball court (Lani at SFU and Julie at UBC) are thankfully still present in my life. Julie graduates this spring as a RN and plans to take her nursing skills to developing countries around the world to help those in need. J-Li and I share a sacred love for the Spice Girls ☺. Lani plans to continue playing after she graduates this year and will become an elementary school teacher when she’s done with that. I think this is a great career choice for her, because it’s probably the only place where she will be taller than anyone…(it’s all love Pepé!!!)
Of course I can’t leave out my parents and brother. This goes without saying that they are my true heroes. The 4 of us have been through everything together and are always there for one another. I love them so much and appreciate everything they have done for me in my life. Thank you for helping me mature into a respectable young woman. XO
It’s because of the people close to me I’ve developed into the person I am today. Each of them is an inspiration and hero in their own right. Of course there are many more people who have impacted my life in a positive way, but if I wrote them all down, this post would be never ending. Just know I’m thinking of you! Take a look around you – I’m sure you’ll be able to see that you too are surrounded by heroes.