On the Road with the Sky - June 18 @ L.A., June 20 @ PHX and June 22 @ SAC

Hey, Sky fans! Welcome to On the Road with the Sky! I’m Ronnie, the Sky’s public relations manager, and I’ll be blogging this season about one of the best parts of my job: travelling with the team to all the away games. I’ll keep you posted on the team’s “life” away from home, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. You’ll get to see a side of the players that few rarely do, and they are guaranteed to entertain you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Today we began our longest road trip of the season. Our west coast trip includes three games: Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Sacramento. The girls started the day with shoot around, and it was decided that Brooke Queenan would be taken off the injury list and make the trip with us - good news for the whole team.

One thing that is really cool about our team is that there are two little ones traveling with us - Reese Crosby, our strength and conditioning coach Ann Crosby's four month-old daughter, and Kanon Catchings, our radio color analyst Tauja Catchings' 2 year-old son. So being the nice person I am, I gave up my seat which was next to Ann so that her husband and daughter could sit with her, which put me in the seat next to Candice Dupree. I won't say that moving seats was a mistake, but I will say that I didn't get any sleep at all on the plane. For those of you who think Ms. Dupree isn't a talker, I beg to differ. She's a talker, and a singer. Which brings me to the newest feature of my blog: Candice Karaoke. As you can see from watching the video, Candice is now taking fan requests for songs you would like her to sing while on the road. Now, you will be doing me and the rest of the team a huge favor if you don't request Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey; however, she claims to sing anything and everything you ask as long as it is on her iPod. So if you have a request, you can email it to candicesings@chicagosky.net.

So after getting no sleep on the plane and checking into our hotel, I hopped in the car with Candice and Chas Melvin to grab a late dinner at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. The dinner was awesome, but the ride there was definitely an adventure. I wasn't sure if we were gonna make it. One of Candice's old teammates from Temple University was kind enough to pick us up at the hotel and drive us there. Candice didn't warn us about her driving -- I'll just say we got lost (in a car with a navigation system)...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008
It's game day!! The team had shoot around at 10:00AM, and then back to the hotel. Most of the team rested for the game, as some were still adjusting to the two hour time change. After realizing that the hotel had wireless at the pool, I headed down to catch some of the LA rays with Assistant Coach Stephanie White. This is the best pool for hanging out, or, working on email, because we always catch a glimpse of a celebrity. Both Steph and I love our celeb tabloids, so we know the celebrities, but she never believes me when I spot them. This time it was Ty Pennington from ABC's Extreme Home Makeover, and once again she didn't believe me.

The next surprise at the pool was meeting the Joens' family. If you don't know already, Cathy Joens has seven siblings and is from Irvine, California, which meant most of her family was in town. I was able to meet six of her seven siblings and her parents. What an awesome family!!! I didn't get to meet her brother, who is in Uganda for an internship.

We all know how the game ended (we lost to LA for the second time this season). Back to the hotel for an early 4:00AM wake-up call to head to Phoenix.

Thursday, June 19, 2008
We got up so early to head to Phoenix that most of the team slept on the bus and then on the plane. Because we got into Phoenix so early, the players grabbed breakfast and then headed back to bed, where they remained indoors for most of the afternoon -- mainly because it was 115 degrees outside!! The players did have to make it out for practice. That's right, even though players keep it fun and positive, even after a tough loss in LA. Especially Armintie Price. She is definitely the ring leader of the comedic bunch. You'll see what I mean on the video, but she could definitely sell a core ball to anyone if she wanted to. I lost count of how many times she's said "Get me, Ronnie, get me!!¨ After practice we all called it a day and stayed indoors as much as possible...

Friday, June 20, 2008
Another game day and guess what: it's coach Stephanie White's birthday (but I won't say which one). This road trip has definitely been back to back to back, just non-stop for the staff and the players. We started the day with shoot around in the morning, and then back to the hotel to stay cool. Although Phoenix was gorgeous, one of the down sides of being there was definitely the heat. The team really had to try and stay energized, at the same time not get too much rest from being indoors all day. I am used to heading to a mall with the players or catching a movie, but this was definitely the first time the team just stayed put in their rooms.

We headed to the game, and the team was definitely ready and itching for a win. You could see it in their faces. The team played with so much energy, but it just wasn't enough to put the Mercury away in overtime. Another loss for the Sky and one more game to go, wake-up call tomorrow at 6:00 AM.

Saturday, June 21, 2008
Another early wake up call, but at least this time we got to sleep in - ‘til 6:00AM. Headed back to California to take on the Sacramento Monarchs for the second time this season. Everyone was somewhat anxious about the game, wondering if Jia would have the same kind of game she did last season when she had a career and franchise record 39 points and 10 assists, leading the Sky to victory in double overtime. But we had to get out of Phoenix first. Sacramento was our third city in four days and the team was a bit delirious, as you can tell by Candice and AP’s goofiness caught on tape at the airport. Seems like most of the time Candice and AP are taking up the airtime on my video blog, and this time Jia got in on the act. She politely said, “Excuse me, Ronnie, can you get this?” So I did, and any single gentlemen out there, now you know, Jia is looking for a date!! There is a tough screening process, as you have to be approved by Jia and the team...

We boarded the plane and headed to Sacramento. Everyone tried to catch up on sleep and then headed to practice. Then coach had a surprise for the team -- no shootaround tomorrow morning, which meant the girls could have their first full night of sleep and be rested for the game (and yours truly would get some extra shut eye, too).

After practice the girls split up, some went to eat Italian, others went to Benihana. Then came a knock on my door: Jia. Jia loves to check her email, and I have internet access in my room and a laptop, so she will check in throughout the evening to see when I am finished with dinner, so that she can check email. And she can check her email forever!! So I got bored and headed to Candice and KB Sharp’s room to see what was going on with them. They were watching TV, some kind of murder mystery type show, a little down and morbid for me, but I was spending quality time with the players. Show ends and the next thing we watch is a documentary on Charles Manson. They were killing me. So note to self, if ever I am looking to be happy and cheerful, steer clear of their room!! Then Candice came up with a great idea: “Let’s look at the dessert menu!” And we ordered dessert from room service: Candice got strawberry and chocolate ice cream, KB got cheesecake, and I ordered the five-layered, super delicious chocolate cake. Then Can had another great idea, after I commented on their creepy taste in TV shows: “Let’s buy a movie.” So we ended up watching Street Kings with Keanu Reeves, and all though it definitely wasn’t a comedy, it was a good movie. Well, at least KB and I know thought it was a good movie -- about 10 minutes into the movie that she wanted to buy, Candice sat up said, “Well, that’s it for me, I can’t hang late at night, I’m going to sleep.” Ms. Dupree was out for the rest of the movie.

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Third and final game for this trip. We already beat the Monarchs earlier in the season, so we were looking to do it a second time. Before the game, the girls stayed loose, went out to grab lunch, took their usual naps and loaded the bus. Everybody wanted a win, no one wanted to go back to Chicago without getting at least one “W” on this trip. It was close for a while, we came back at the half and could have taken the lead back, but the team fell short, and the Monarchs went on to beat us. It was definitely a tough loss, for everyone. We loaded the bus and headed back to the hotel and called it a night. Everyone was anxious to get back home.

Monday, June 23, 2008
3:00AM wakeup call, last time packing our bags and last time waiting in an airport. Something caught my eye on the first flight to LA but I didn’t want to mention it to ya’ll unless I got it on camera. So I kept my eyes open and it happened again. You see, Tye’sha Fluker is definitely one of the most stylish players on the team. Being from LA, we wouldn’t have expected anything else, right? For example, for today’s 3:00 AM wakeup call, Tye was dressed up, while most of the other players were in jeans and a t-shirt or in their travel sweats. So I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw her latest fashion statement. Please keep in mind, it was for comfort, not style. Tye was wearing open-toed sandals and right before she boards the plane, she adds on one last accessory – socks. Not just any old white socks. These socks were bright yellow with stripes, then she slides her feet back into her sandals and boards the plane. Her reasoning? She doesn’t like her feet to get cold on the flight. You just have to see it for yourselves.

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