Cash's Memorable Off Day
Kevin Pelton, stormbasketball.com | June 23, 2010
Seattle Storm players usually spend days off from practice catching up on errands or resting from the WNBA's busy schedule. Swin Cash got a bit more out of the team's break on Monday, visiting the White House. Cash took a redeye flight to Washington, D.C. after Sunday's win over San Antonio to be in the nation's capital for President Barack Obama's Father's Day Mentoring Barbeque, which brought 150 local high schoolers to the White House's South Lawn.
Cash was invited to help represent the expansion of President Obama's Fatherhood Initiative to emphasize a mentoring component. Cash has been involved in mentoring through her foundation, Cash for Kids, which made her a natural choice.
"I got a request from the White House, from the President's office," she said. "I've done some events in the past, so they probably had me on the radar as someone who does a lot of community service initiatives like mentoring and speaking to young girls. It was a good experience."
Cash has become something of a regular at the White House, visiting after winning championships at the University of Connecticut and with the Detroit Shock as well as for last April's Easter Egg Roll. What made this visit unique was her opportunity to go before the scenes.
"This time was really special for me," she said. "Chafie (Fields, her partner) and I got a private tour after the event was over. I appreciated that because I've been there a few times before. To see it and learn the history and be able to take pictures inside certain places was really nice."
There was also the opportunity to say hello to President Obama, which Cash used as an opportunity to try to get on his famed basketball games with staff.
"When I first met the President, I told him I'm still waiting for my invite to the pick-up games," she recalled. "He started laughing about it. He said, 'We can go right now.' That was cool to have that interaction."
In addition to Cash, the basketball community was represented well with NBA player Etan Thomas and retired players Allan Houston and Charles Smith, the executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association.
"It was funny because the guys were taking shots," said Cash. "I said, 'You guys take shots all the time.' They responded, 'Not on the White House court.'"
While that was nothing new to Cash, who set foot on the White House court when she visited last year, she got a good laugh out of playing with one of President Obama's personal basketballs.
"One of the kids ran up to me and said, 'Ms. Cash, Ms. Cash, this is the Obama ball!'" she said. "I just busted out laughing and said, 'We have to take a picture.' It was good to interact with the kids."
Cash enjoyed the opportunity to meet other community-minded celebrities in attendance.
"A lot of people exchanged contact information, hoping we can follow up in the future," she said. "There in the moment, it was just kind of talking and getting to know each other - what it is you do and what initiatives you're involved with.
"One of my faves, she's really cool, is Tracee Ellis Ross. I'm a big fan of Girlfriends; I love that series, so it was nice to meet her. She was so bubbly and fun. We were the only two women who were there. There were other people there from the sciences. Steve Harvey was there."
Crossing the country did mean a lot of travel for Cash, since the Storm had just returned from an East Coast road trip. Cash flew back in time to attend the Storm's practice on Tuesday, and the team's four-day break before hosting the Indiana Fever on Friday (7:00 p.m., 1150 AM KKNW, LiveAccess, ) gives her time to rest up.
"It was obviously tough, the travel part of it," said Cash, "but it was so worth it."
Storm point guard Sue Bird, working her way back after hyperflexing her knee during Sunday's game, returned to the practice court on Wednesday.
"She practiced all of practice today," said Storm Head Coach Brian Agler. "When we knew that she wasn't going back in, she started icing it."
"It's OK," Bird said of her knee. "I'll take it day by day."