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Basketball - More Than Just a Game
By Olivia Pineda

Digi Girlz 2009
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Tweet Tweet… Not So Sweet?
Pathways to the Seattle Storm

If you were given the opportunity to ask one question to two Storm basketball players, what would you ask? This was the question that a small group of girls faced when they were given the chance to speak in person with two players, Ashley Robinson and Shannon Johnson. Many of the girls asked questions to get to know both players better as people, when they were off the court and involved in their daily lives. One interesting aspect of basketball is to see what types of relationships these women form with basketball, how it has shaped them to become better, stronger people, and how they’ve helped to shape the sport themselves. During a question and answer session with Robinson and Johnson, a question was posed to the players which asked them how they think basketball has shaped them as people.

“If I had to explain basketball, basketball would be that best friend in your life that’s always there for you, never leaves you hanging, even when you’re upset with her,” Robinson answered. For Ashley, the word “basketball” means so much more than a game and a ball. She sees basketball as her equal, a relationship no different than one between her and her best friend.

“Basketball has become me,” Ashley went on to say. “Being so tall, it gave you a place to fit in,” she describes, explaining how her 6-5 height made her feel different than many other people. Her relationship with basketball has gone beyond practices, games, teams, and coaches. Basketball is woven deeply into her, has provided her with a support system and made her a better person.

“Basketball has given me a sisterhood; I’m part of a group,” Shannon explains, “a group that I’ve become a vet in now. It’s a group (through which) I’ve made friends throughout the world and I’ve been given the opportunity to see the world,” she continues.

Through basketball, she’s received amazing opportunities that have helped her become stronger in basketball, providing her with a network of players that she knows that she can rely on and who are her sisters. Without basketball, she would not have the knowledge of the world that she currently possesses.

“I’ve been blessed,” she says, “and I try to go throughout the world letting people know that I’ve been blessed.” For Shannon, basketball has functioned as an open door of opportunity, allowing her to meet people from different cultures and see the world through a new set of eyes.

Ashley and Shannon both have developed a different, yet truly unique relationship with basketball. For Ashley, basketball has helped her face many challenges in her life, stayed with her throughout all of her ups and downs, and in the process become an integral part of who she is as a person today. For Shannon, basketball has functioned as a window of opportunity, one that she wouldn’t have without the sport. Basketball has helped her to see the world, explore new cultures, and make lasting relationships with fellow basketball players throughout the globe. One thing that these two women share is an undying passion and love for the game that will never fade, no matter what happens throughout the rest of their lives. This passion is what fuels their success, and despite times when their relationship with basketball might be tested, they’ll always know that they’ve got basketball, and that basketball’s got them.