Kayte's online journals opened the door for her new pen pal in the U.S. Marines

Christensen Correspondence

NEW YORK, April 16 – Post something on the Internet, and it’s out there for everyone to read.

For Kayte Christensen of the Phoenix Mercury, the last few weeks have shown her in a whole new way just what the phrase “global community” can mean.

The story begins out at sea, in a location that for reasons of military security cannot be told, where a U.S. Marine without access to television spends his free time online and comes across Kayte’s weekly reviews of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” Laughing at her commentary and sarcastic asides, he thinks to himself, this would be a fun person to talk to.

Kayte Christensen enjoys writing with U.S. Marine Garrick Rard.
B. Gossage/WNBAE/Getty Images
A quick search on the Mercury Web site and a letter is on its way from United States Marine Garrick Rard on the USS Bonhomme Richard to WNBA Player Kayte Christensen, care of the team’s offices.

“At first, it was just very basic,” Christensen said. “He just talked a little bit about stuff that’s going on and what he does every day. He said that he talks with a lot of people, people he’s never met, because it’s something to do.”

Christensen and Rard have since exchanged several letters and emails, including a photo of Rard standing on his ship next to one of the fighter jets.

At times, the correspondence sticks to everyday topics – sports, the difficulty of maintaining long-distance relationships, the accomplishment of graduating from college, and whatever else is on their minds.

But at other times, the reality of war emerges.

“He said it frightens him,” Christensen said. “He said that every time he flies, they’re being shot at, and every time you go out, it’s really questionable whether you’re coming back.”

But when Christensen shared her thoughts that sometimes it feels strange to be worrying about the season or focusing on everyday things when there are so many things going on in the world, he told her that everyday life was exactly what she should be focused on.

“He said he wished people wouldn’t feel bad because that’s why they’re over there, so that people can go on with their daily lives and that people shouldn’t feel bad. He said that it’s good for them to know that we can just go on and do things normally.”

And that’s just what Christensen is trying to do, when she’s not taking a few minutes out of her day to correspond with her new friend.