August 2008

Friday, August 29 - Crystal Langhorne recaps her break.

The week started off pretty well. Tasha, Kia, and I went over to Alana's house for dinner. It was actually pretty good, she cooked chicken and dirty rice. She also made carrot cake from scratch. I love carrot cake, it is one of my favorite desserts. She even made the frosting too which impressed me. It's always funny over at Alana's because of her crazy dog. Her dog is psycho and flips out at everybody else's pet when she sees them. Then when you compare her dog to Kia's and Tasha's well behaved dogs, she seems like the devil. But Alana loves her and thinks the world of that crazy mutt lol.

I was thinking about getting a dog, but I think I'm going to wait.

Laura Harper just got a dog this week and he is sooo cute. She named him Bruiser. The only thing is I don't want to have to worry about carrying around a dog with me all the time. Of course it will keep me company overseas, but I don't feel like taking it out for walks, especially when it's freezing outside and I'm going to Lithuania for the off-season and the winter there is outrageous I have heard.

This Olympic break has been like living overseas anyway. Well, not really, but during this month, I've been watching DVDs like crazy. When I would come back from practice, I would usually just nap and then watch some DVDs. Like for example, this week, Tasha and I watched about 2 seasons of Reba. There wasn't enough shopping in the world for me to go everyday so I just watched some movies too. Of course, I did other things here and there, so don't think I'm a total loser lol. I know people really wanted to find out what some of us were doing during the break, so there was just a little taste.

See you tonight

Crystal

Thursday, August 28 - Greg Bibb checks in.

Finally! The 2008 WNBA season returns for the Mystics tomorrow night when we host the Chicago Sky. After a month-long hiatus, our ladies will play eight games in seventeen days in a flat out sprint to the finish of the regular season. Here’s what’s on my mind this 28th day of August, 2008.

Playoff Picture

We enter post-Olympic break with a 10-16 record and we trail fourth place Indiana (12-14) by two games for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth. Like the Fever, we will play four home games and four road dates. I believe Indiana will finish no worse than 16-18, therefore we’ll need to go at least 6-2 during our final eight games to match the Fever’s record. To own the tiebreaker against Indiana, one of these six wins must come against the Fever when we play them here at Verizon Center on September 2nd.

I’m really excited to see what we look like as a team following the installation of head coach Jessie Kenlaw’s system. The players have referred to the past 30 days as “Camp Kenlaw” as coach has worked them hard…really hard. I think our fitness level is the best it has been all season and I’m eager to see our high-energy, baseline-to-baseline approach to the game.

Chicago is first up for us tomorrow night. This will be a much different team than the Sky side we beat in the Windy City on June 13th as Sylvia Fowles has returned from injury. The rookie may just have been the best player on the United States Olympic team and will certainly be playing with a lot of confidence on Friday night.

We need this game on Friday if we are going to make a run at the playoffs. One of the things we haven’t been able to do so far this year is “find a way to win” close or tough games. We will need this ability down the stretch if we are going to play beyond September 14th.

Train Trip

Obviously every game is important as we try to catch Indiana. This includes our September 13th date at Connecticut. We continue to offer a great road game package for this game that includes round-trip train transportation, ground transportation to and from the Mohegan Sun Arena, a ticket to the Mystics-Sun tilt, and a commemorative t-shirt. If you are interested in rooting on the Mystics from the road, contact Eboni Tyler at 202-527-7518.

Season Ticket Holder Party

It was great seeing over 200 of our season ticket holders at our annual STH Party on Saturday. Dave & Buster’s provided a great atmosphere for our players and staff to spend time with our most dedicated fans. I hope everyone had a good time. Thanks to Dana, Eboni and the Mystics staff for putting on a great event.

A Golden Sweep

Congratulations to the United States Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams for their gold medals in Beijing. Both squads were fairly dominant throughout their respective tournaments while demonstrating the depth of talent that separates the U.S. from other countries on the global basketball stage. I thought the women’s team in particular provided us with a “passing of the torch” tournament as young stars led by the aforementioned Fowles were introduced to the world.

Reunion Weekend

The Labor Day Weekend has long hosted the annual Bibb family reunion. This event always is held in a park near my childhood home in Hershey, PA. I’m especially excited for this year’s event because it will be the first time many of my extended family members will meet Adelyn. Last year we missed the picnic because Adelyn had just arrived and we were living in Michigan. I’ll be sure to have a good story or two for next week’s blog as reunion always provides good material!

Quote of the Week

“With your heart you believe, with your mind you lead.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Sad to see the Olympics end, but I’m excited to see where Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt are come the 2012 Games in London.

• The Democratic National Convention has opened in Denver and the Republicans get their party in Minneapolis-Saint Paul next week. Now is when the fun really begins. It should be an intriguing two-plus months to election day.

• I’m still having a hard time getting my head around the fact that September arrives on Monday and the Tampa Bay Rays, yes the Tampa Bay Rays, are in first place, leading the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

• After nearly a year, I think we finally have sold our Michigan home. Keep your fingers crossed for us on this one…I will be very happy when my family can finally close this chapter of our lives.

• Hard to believe, but Caps training camp opens on September 20…just 23 days from now.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, August 27 - Rebecca Hunt is ready for some Mystics basketball!

Hi Mystics fans!!!

Hopefully everyone has recovered and caught up on sleep from watching all of the Olympic action. I do not think I could have taken another week of late nights! I know I really look forward to the Olympics and was so excited for all the medals including the gold for Women’s basketball. Hard to believe as I watched the closing ceremonies that the Beijing games are over BUT I was not sad for long, we are gearing up for some more Mystics action!

Speaking of Mystics we are really excited about the game this Friday, not only are we hosting a Career Fair from 3-5pm but we are also hosting Ladies Night from 5-8pm, both events should be fun! I will have to admit we are having a little office competition based on ticket sales for each event-lets just say as the numbers climb for both events, I see different account executives buying breakfast & coffee for one another…In other Mystics news, make sure to sign up for the Amtrak Train Trip to Connecticut on September 13th. The deadline is next Monday, September 1st. Last year’s trip was awesome! In front of a sold-out Connecticut crowd Monique Currie hit a last minute shot to defeat the Sun which kept the Mystics playoff hopes alive and sent the Connecticut fans home brokenhearted. I bet this year’s train trip will be just as exciting, plus we are working on some pretty awesome t-shirts so everyone will know the Mystics fans are in the house!

In other news, I snuck home this past weekend to surprise my folks. I grew up in rural southern Virginia so I do not get many opportunities during the season to see my family. We always have a great time; this weekend’s activities included grilling out, hanging a hammock in the backyard, working in the yard, a trip to Home Depot and church. I am happy to say we doubled church attendance from that date a year ago, there were 10 of us! My mama loaded me up with fresh cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes from the garden and a chocolate pie for the trip back. Life is good.

Well, I hope everyone has a great week and I cannot wait to see you at the game on Friday!

Becca

Tuesday, August 26 - Nikki Blue shares her faith.

“We’ve got faith, yes we do… we’ve got faith… how about you??”

A true competitor is one who will never back down to anyone or anything. It is one who proudly faces a challenge and will fight and compete with that challenge no matter what the circumstances are. I just want to let it be known that the Washington Mystics are competitors and even in the midst of confusion or tough circumstances… we will always fight! Our playoff push may seem slim to some, and impossible to others, but I guarantee everyone on the Mystics bench is full of optimism, hope, faith, and most importantly overflowing with the attitude of a competitor.

I believe that the attitude of a competitor blossoms from a faith based source! In the bible 2 Corinthians 5:7 is a verse that tells us to “walk by faith and not by sight”. To me, this means that despite the circumstances we should keep our eyes focused on our goal, and continue to believe that anything is possible. Clearly things might not look pretty right now for the Mystics hopes for a playoff spot this season, but thank God I walk by faith and not by what it looks like. My faith in my religion and in my team is so strong that I know the future will entail great things for us. We can still do it! On the jumbo screen before the games when we say “I believe”, this statement is meant to be taken literally! We still believe! We do not give up! We are competitors! We have worked so hard during this Olympic break that our fans are in for a treat! Our team is as hungry as ever for these eight wins and a playoff bid. Coach Jesse has quickly molded us into a bunch of feisty competitors and has made us realize that it is a treat and once in a lifetime opportunity to be apart of such a special Mystic organization. I am excited to show the world what we competitors on the Washington Mystics are all about!!! Now, I might not be able to promise eight wins in a row (although that would be nice), I can promise that everyone wearing those seven letters across their chest (MYSTICS) will work their hardest and will continually to have faith in our team and organization because we are all competitors!!!

Nikki

Monday, August 25 - Crystal Hudson still BELIEVES.

Hello out there!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. The weather has been absolutely amazing lately, and this weekend was certainly no exception! I had a wonderful weekend spending some classic quality time with a college friend of mine that I don’t get to see very often. We went out for drinks, food and more drinks (hooray for bottomless mimosas!) … and shared plenty of laughs. I’m glad I was able to fit some down time into my schedule, just before it starts to get hectic again.

While the Olympic break has certainly been refreshing, it hasn’t slowed things down as much as I had anticipated. Over the past month, I’ve had time to do a few things I’m usually unable to do during the season – like eating out a bit more, catching a few movies and even sneaking in a weekend getaway – but by no means have things on the Mystics front actually slowed down. Along with the Humphrey/Murphy trade keeping us busy for a few days, our players have been out and about in the community, we’ve held numerous basketball clinics, a Mayhem dance clinic, and most recently we hosted over two hundred of our season ticket holders at Dave Buster’s for a fun-filled afternoon.

Now as our first game back is upon us, things are starting to pick up again – and I’m really looking forward to it! This Friday at 7pm, a brand new Mystics squad will take on the Chicago Sky, and I bet I’m not the only one anxious to see them run, pass, cut, pick, shoot, rebound, cheer, scream, sweat, and WIN out on the floor as a new and cohesive unit! Twenty-nine non-game days and counting … and I still BELIEVE.

Friday, August 22 - Tasha Humphrey talks about moving to D.C.

Hello from the Nation's capitol,

It's been in a while since I spoke to you guys lately. Things have been a whirlwind going from being traded to packing up my apartment in less than 24 hrs to being introduced to a new city, team, and system. All in all the transition has been smooth. My new teammates have been really great at showing me my way around and showng me the ropes. Having a prior relationship with C Lang, Mo, and AB gave me some familiar faces in an otherwise difficult situation.

First of all, let me say that I am going to miss my Detroit family dearly. I learned a lot in my time there and had the oppurtunity to develop a lot of long lasting friendships with some great people. However the WNBA is a business and I have been given an opportunity to play with another team and hopefully help another team in being sucessful. Like Mom says, everything happens for a reason and I'm going to work hard to capitalize on the opportunity I have been given.

Being able to be traded during the Olympic hiatus has been a positive because I have two weeks to learn the new system; even though two weeks may sound like a short period of time, in the professional basketball world it's like an eternity. So hopefully I can be like a sponge and soak up as much as possible. So wish me luck!

Tasha

Thursday, August 21 - Greg Bibb checks in.

To say it has been an interesting past few days here in Mysticsland would be an understatement. It seems like it has been ages since we last played a game and I’m excited to know we resume the 2008 WNBA season a week from tomorrow.

A big thank you to “The Washington Times” for the daily’s Tuesday article on the growth the Mystics have enjoyed this season relative to ticket sales and corporate partnerships. While the season has not gone as planned on the court, we have been fortunate to experience growth in all of our business segments.

We are working extremely hard as an organization to present the best product, both on and off the court. I’m very proud of the young, but extremely talented and dedicated front office staff we have built and I’m very eager to see where we go as an organization in 2009 and beyond.

The team’s on-court results have been much more disappointing. While I have been with the organization less than a year, I understand how frustrating losing, and in particular, losing for a long period of time can be. That’s why we have become very aggressive in our decisions and actions….you can’t improve without change, even if that change isn’t the most popular choice in the near term.

I have liked what I have seen during our Olympic break practices. The sessions are fast-paced, intense, and productive. I’m very eager to see how the team performs now that coach Kenlaw has had nearly a month to install her system. I think you are going to witness a team that plays hard at both ends of the court, brings significant defensive pressure, and looks to score in transition as much as possible.

Sometimes less is more and I certainly think the offense has been simplified. I also think you’ll see a new defensive scheme or two that will provide a lot of flexibility in terms of personnel. Look for a healthy distribution of minutes as coach Kenlaw’s style of play demands a deep rotation.

Young and talented players like Bernice Mosby, Crystal Langhorne and the newly acquired Tasha Humphrey should all see meaningful minutes. To me, this is a good thing on two fronts. First and foremost, I think we are going to provide challenges for the opposition in terms of our athleticism and ability to run. Secondly, this will give us the opportunity to evaluate the young players to assess where we are in terms of their development.

I also believe Alana and Monique are going to benefit from the new system as we look to score early in our possessions. I think you are going to see more scoring, a higher shooting percentage and fewer turnovers from the post-Olympics Mystics. Paired with a re-commitment to defense, I believe we’ll be a better squad than most think. We’ll see if I’m right starting on August 29th.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, August 20 - Maria Giovannetti joins the millions of Olympics watchers.

Hi Mystics Fans,

I haven’t blogged in a while so I hope this finds everyone doing well and enjoying the last few weeks of summer. If you’re like me, you’ve been absolutely glued to the television, obsessed with the Olympics. I’m not normally a television fan. Sitting in front of the tube for hours on end is not my idea of fun by any stretch of the imagination. However, since 8/8/08 I’ve been hooked to my television watching everything possible…basketball, power lifting, diving, gymnastics, track and field, water polo, badminton and, of course, swimming (a.k.a. The Michael Phelps Show). My favorite summer Olympic sport to watch is beach volleyball. Until you get out there and try it for yourself, you have no idea how incredibly difficult it is for two people to cover such a large area in sand!

Quickly changing gears, I want to let everyone know how eager I am for the WNBA to start up again. I’ve seen a few practices over the past week and the level of intensity and focus our players are showing is exciting! You’ll see on August 29th that Jessie and Crystal have been doing a great job in preparing these women for the final eight games of the season. These coaches are great leaders and have been demanding accountability. It’s exciting to see the team in action! I’ll see you on August 29th!

Tuesday, August 19 - Linda Hargrove checks in from Beijin, China.

Hey All ...

All of my concerns about whether I would be connected while in China were unwarranted. I haven't had to pull out the world phone, which I haven't had much luck with in the past; my Treo has worked better here than it does in the Verizon Center. Go figure.

The USA has really looked great. I can't see anyone even challenging them in this Olympics. I shouldn't look too far ahead, however, as I was a part of the staff in 1992 when we won all of our pool play games by at least 30 and then got upset in the semi finals by a team that went into a match up zone and we didn't shoot the ball at all. We got so tight in that game that we started missing lay-ups and even free throws. Anything can happen, but I just think this team is too talented. Australia looked like the team to beat as they took care of Russia yesterday afternoon. Becky Hammon was terrific in the first half as she came off the bench and had 16 points for Russia. Once Lauren started hitting shots for the Aussies it was over. I also have to give a shout out to Tom Mauer and the job he has done with the Chinese National team. He has them playing very good basketball at the right time.

The city of Beijing is really beautiful and the old and new seem to flow together seamlessly. I'm staying in a very Chinese area within walking distance of the WuKeSong basketball venue. There is a fresh fruit stand across the street and food at the hotel has been OK for breakfast. I did bring my peanut butter and jelly from home and made use of it several times, especially at night after returning from a day in the gym. Concession stand food just hasn't had much appeal, cold hotdogs on a stick without a bun, catsup and relish nowhere to be seen, just isn't going to do it for me.

I was really sad to see Taj leave. She has been such a bright spot for this team and I do believe that her professionalism will rub off on our young players for years to come. I only had a chance to meet Tasha and Shay before leaving for Beijing so I'm really anxious to get back to D.C. to watch practices. I know that Jessie was really impressed with them during the first couple of workouts. Practices have been so good during the break. Jessie and Crystal are so organized and the enthusiasm in the gym is just so refreshing and exciting to see. We are getting better and all the players have responded in such a positive way to Jessie's leadership. I only hope it pays off in the win-loss column when we start play again at the end of the month.

I'm not too excited to get back on that plane for the 13 hour flight back to D.C. but there is no place like home. At least, I will be traveling in the dark this time and can get some sleep. It seemed really strange to leave Washington at 12:30 pm, fly basically with the sun and land 13 hours later at 1:30 pm in the afternoon in China.

See you in a gym ...

Linda

Monday, August 18 - Vishny Dzidzienyo shares his thoughts on the trade.

Well Mystics fans, I’m back for another round of WNBA analysis. The trade…let’s talk about it. First, I’m going to miss Taj both on and off the court. Sure, we can recite her statistics, 13 points and 7 rebounds a game. We’ve all heard about how she brings exceptional locker room leadership, mentorship and coach-like instruction on the floor. Still, what I learned to admire about Taj was the way she made people smile. I admired the way her teammates talked about her and what she meant to our fans, not just as a player, but as a human being. I wish “Mama Taj” all the best in Detroit, and with everything she chooses to do, even after basketball. She had a tremendous impact on the fans and Mystics supporters here in D.C. area.

So with that kind of person leaving the Mystics, you have to be wondering who we got in return, right? Well, if you didn’t see a University of Georgia Women’s Basketball game these last four years, you missed some good games. The Bulldogs had some talented teams with players like Sherrill Baker (still one of my favorites to watch), Cori Chambers, Alexis Kendrick and Tasha Humphrey. If you go back and view my blog that preceded the WNBA Draft in April, I described Humphrey as someone who reminds me of Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons.

One obvious resemblance is that she is a post player that shoots well from behind the 3 point line. Even more, she has a nice mid-range shot to compliment her inside play. She handles the ball better than most of her power forward counterparts in the WNBA. Her ball handling looks a little like Antoine Walker’s if you are an NBA fan. She can get inside position on the boards and do a solid job rebounding, which is what you would ask of any power forward. All that being said, I welcome Tasha Humphrey to the Washington Mystics and look forward to the rest of 2008 with her on our team.

We also acquired a second round pick from Detroit and Shay Murphy. Shay is someone I did not see too much of in Minnesota and Detroit, but do remember watching highlights of her at University of Southern California. She is someone who I think fits the defensive approach of Coach Kenlaw and can get up the floor on offense. She is solid in the open court and definitely put together some nice games in Minnesota running the point and filling the shooting guard spot, and made good on her defensive assignments in Detroit. Both players can succeed with the play scheme being run here in D.C.

Now, as far as what the Mystics have done this season in terms of getting ready for the future, I have to say I am impressed. Next year we will have four picks in the first two rounds (at this moment anyway). You are looking at some dynamic players coming out of the college ranks (Marissa Coleman and Kristie Toliver from Maryland, Kia Vaughn from Rutgers, Renee Montgomery from UCONN and Angel McCoughtry from Louisville to name a few). Of course, Courtney Paris is the headliner of next year’s class and I believe she will make a big an impact as Sylvia Fowles (that will be a great match-up for years to come). I can’t forget about Abbey Waner from Duke, who I still think will be a great player on the next level.

So, with four picks (two first-round selections) the Mystics are in great shape. I mean, lets not get crazy, the playoff push in 2008 is still on and popping, because we are only two games out. I’m just saying to add to that; I am excited about 2009 as well. That is why I may have to buy a couple of M-Class seats myself!

Vishnu

Friday, August 15 - Crystal Langhorne checks in.

I realized this weekend more than ever that I need to get a gps system. I got lost once again. I've never been so lost in my life, I figured because I went to school in the area I would be ok but boy was I wrong. I get lost everytime I have to go to some new destination, which is all the time. It's pretty sad that I still haven't gotten one yet. Maybe I should stop shopping for clothes and just pick one up.

Later on in the week, we had a trade and got Tasha and Shay from Detroit. I've known Tash since we were sophomores in high school. We played on a team that took a trip to France. Ever since, her and I have been very close. I'm excited that we can chill and hang out like we used to back in the day. When we first played Detroit, I took her out to my old stomping grounds, College Park. We had a good time hanging out and I'm looking forward to more of that type of stuff.

During the break I've been gettin a lot better at cooking. I've been trying new stuff and everything I've cooked so far has come out well. I made salmon the other night and it was delicious. I have to start gettin good at cooking complicated things like lasagna and stuff like that. But I need to let myself get better with the small stuff until I try to do it big.

Thursday, August 14 - Greg Bibb checks in.

In a lot of ways, the sports business is like any other industry…fans (customers) watch (consume) games (products). In other ways, however, it is very different. For example, could you imagine General Motors trading a top executive or salesperson to Ford for two engineers and a college graduate to be named later? The trading of players (employees) is one of the unique aspects of our business…and also one of the toughest.

On Tuesday we dealt Taj McWilliams-Franklin to Detroit for Tasha Humphrey, Shay Murphy, and the Shock’s second round pick in the upcoming 2009 WNBA draft. Trust me when I tell you it was hard to part with Taj. In doing this deal, we lost our most consistent performer, a savvy veteran, and a respected leader. Taj has been everything we thought she would be, and more, when we acquired her from the LA Sparks prior to the start of the season.

Reality, however, tells us things were not working. It has been a challenging season. We have 10 wins and 16 losses. Some nights we look great, more often we do not. It seems that each step forward has been accompanied by two steps back. Time is running out on the 2008 campaign and we have not been heading in the right direction. Moreover, moving to absolute terms and asking the question, “could the Mystics roster win a championship?” the answer was no. Thus, change was in order.

Trading Taj allowed us to acquire two promising young players and a draft pick. This now gives us five picks in the upcoming draft…two first selections, a pair of second round picks, and a third round choice. I strongly believe volume is good when talking about draft picks. The more you have, the more likely you are to acquire talent to make your club better. By having five picks in the upcoming draft we give ourselves plenty of options and put ourselves in position to have a truly meaningful draft.

As for Humphrey and Murphy, they fit into coach Kenlaw’s up-tempo philosophy. Humphrey was a collegiate All-American and four-time All-SEC selection while at the University of Georgia. She started 16 games for the Shock this season while posting 7.3 points per game. She has 3-point range, is very versatile, and has all-star potential. Shay Murphy was the 15th overall selection in the 2007 draft and brings depth to the three-spot for our club. She is quick and athletic, plays tough defense, and will push for minutes.

Change is hard. Most people don’t like it….that’s human nature. We have taken some heat for this deal and I expect that to continue. I would ask those who question the move to think big picture. Think beyond the end of this week, month or season. This franchise has spent far too long muddled in mediocrity. Sometimes sacrifice and tough decisions are necessary to move to where you want to go.

I know our fans have heard much of this before, but our organization cannot allow our history to dictate our future. I still believe in this team and I know our organization is moving in the right direction.

I think you are going to enjoy watching the Mystics over our final eight games. We will push the ball. We will defend aggressively. We will be successful. Most importantly, we will continue to work tirelessly to improve and move forward.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, August 13 - Ketsia Colimon checks in.

Hey Mystics fans,

Hope you are all doing well and enjoying this summer. I must confess, I hate summers. I HATE the weather, can’t explain it but this island girl hates being hot. There is nothing like fall and winter in my opinion. Let’s see, what has been going on in my world? Well, there was a nice feature on Krystal Vaughn in the Washington Post recently. Hope you all had a chance to read it, if not, click here.

So last week was our Lincoln Holdings picnic in Alexandria. The peanut gallery of Nicole Boden, Linda Hargrove, Jessie Kenlaw and Crystal Robinson were passengers in my car. On our way back to the city, I was speeding…a little. Unlike my passengers, I had never been pulled over so when I saw the radar, I immediately hit the break, a move according to CRob that is an immediate admission of guilt. So the gentleman kindly asked me to pull over. Immediately after, he came on the loud speaker saying something, I couldn’t understand as Linda’s phone started ringing and she had to answer in her normal voice. Let’s set the scene for a second: pulled over, police on loud speaker, I can’t hear, Linda’s on the phone, and oh Jessie is telling me what to say (I am supposed to ask for a warning). Once everyone quieted down, I got a ticket for going fast when I shouldn’t have and a lecture from everyone in the car on being too nice to the cop (I said thank you…WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO SAY?)…I won’t mention how hefty the ticket was but let's just say I am not buying lunch for a while.

I went home to Miami (talking about hot, goodness) two weeks ago to see my nephew. WHAT A CUTIE!!! Sam flipped all by himself and the best part was I was the first one to see it. Of course, we made the poor kid flip like eight times after that and he was exhausted. He is really tall (25 inches) but doesn’t weight much (15 pounds). I changed my first diaper which was very exciting! Anyhow, here is my little man at four months old. Enjoy!

Ketsia

Tuesday, August 12 - Nakia Sanford recaps her Wonder Woman day.

Today I did a press conference to help launch this year’s 1-800-QUIT NOW CAMPAIN. I was in the esteemed company of Darrell Green (hall of fame, and ‘Skins alumni), Justine Love (WPGC), and the members of MAMBO SAUCE (popular DC go-go group). I also got to meet members of DC Tobacco Free Family staff and the Department of Health. It was really cool, because it was such a good cause. I hadn’t realized that the poster they made was going to be on the back of buses!! I really wish they would have chosen a cuter picture of me!!!!! But seriously it was really a humbling experience to be chosen to represent the Mystics and be part of a campaign to save lives in DC. I have personally experienced the effects of smoke related cancer. It was nice to meet other people that had been affected also. I won’t get on my soap box for this blog, but I really hope that the people who are exposed to this campaign realize how quitting will not just positively affect them, but also the people that loves them. I learned a lot from Mr. Green’s commercial spot. I knew cigarettes had a lot of harmful things in it, but not how many and what all of them were!!!! Today affected me in such a positive way. It gave me a sense of responsibility to spread this message, and educated me even more on the dangers of smoking.

Afterwards, I had to kick off my heels and rush back to practice. I felt like wonder woman doing a whirlwind change. I had to be a little late. I was already pumped from having to rush, but when I walked in the gym, I was soooo Hype!!!! We were scrimmaging against a group of men. It was a nice change. As Taj said “I am so glad I don’t have to practice against y’all today”. My sentiments exactly!! We have been killing each other in practice. The whole mood of the team is different. The energy. Coach J has us in check. Even in our scrimmage, every singe mistake was corrected. I missed a box out and got pulled immediately, and she let me know exactly why. I feel so good. This break gave me a chance to rest my body and my spirit (AND SHOOT FREE THROWS!!!!). The scrimmage was great because guys are so much quicker; we couldn’t do the things like make lazy passes or not box out. They would make us pay. But it was great seeing their faces when we took it to them. It was fun. After my exciting day, I came home and ate, and before I knew it I was knocked out sleep. Dog tired, the way it’s supposed to be. We have been working hard so we can give you guys something better to watch. Thank you thank you thank you to all the fans that have stuck it out with us. Thanks for the encouragement and even the kicks in the butt (yes we do get to hear your emails from time to time, and not just the nice ones!!). It just means that you care and support us. And we appreciate it. Please support the TAKE THE PLEDGE CAMAINGN. Spread the word if you know any smokers who have had trouble quitting. And please continue your support as we head into these last 8 games of the season. See you on the 29th!!! Smoooches!!!!

Kia

Monday, August 11 - Megan Burda recaps a fun-filled weekend.

The Olympics. Summertime sunshine. Weekend trips to the beach to see all of my favorite people. With Labor Day right around the corner, my favorite season of the year will come to a close in a matter of weeks. This summer by far has been one of the most memorable ones since I have had the pleasure of working in such a great organization as well as enjoy my typical summer routine. In the beginning of May, I knew I had an adventurous 3 months ahead.

With this past weekend being one of the many trips, it was one of the top ones by far. My sisters and I took a mini vacation to VA Beach in celebration of my little sister’s birthday. We had a blast. With the beach and sunshine all day, followed by great nights, we had quite the sisterly bonding weekend we haven’t had in a while. We skipped down there mid afternoon on Friday and got back late last night due to unbelievable 95 traffic. My little brother was disappointed he couldn’t tag along but unfortunately, he is the only boy in the Burda household and maybe next time we will consider a Burda weekend instead of strictly girls only. With being the only boy, he takes it like a champion and loves all the attention he gets from all the girls in the house. He’s a classic kid; he keeps us on our toes for sure. He stayed home with dad and they enjoyed their own weekend doing the things that can only make them happy; xBox, dirtbiking and fishing on the boat.

With five days standing between now and yet another eventful weekend, I will be enjoying the Olympics and watching the USA gymnastics team hopefully reach gold!! As well as working hard to kick off the first annual Washington Mystics Career Fair and Jr. Mayhem Dance Clinic!

Until next time, enjoy the beautiful weather and get excited for the girls to get back from break to finish the season strong!

Megan

Friday, August 8 - Crystal Langhorne recaps her break.

Whewwwww, this week has been crazy. My weekend away was wonderful. It was so much fun that I didn't want to leave. I went to Atlantic City for a night. I decided to gamble. I lost five dollars and I quit. I just couldn't let myself waste my money. We went out to the the water and it was funny because Jade never saw waves before. I didn't think how people from the midwest only dealt with lakes and rivers. She didn't want to leave. The next day, we went to Philly. Laura Harper was having a bbq at her mom's house. It was nice to get some good food and just relax. Later on that night we went out to a lounge and that was cool too. The weekend was one of the best weekends I've had in a long time.

I was scared to come back because I rested the whole week. I knew the week was going to be tough and it definitely was. Mannnn, our trainer, Navin, killed us with everything that we did. I was so sore that I could hardly move my body. We had the day off yesterday and I didn't even want to do anything. I did get bored later on and made a trip to the mall of course. I got a leather jacket 75% off and was too excited. That one purchase made my trip. Overall my week was very tiring but a very good one at the same time.

--clang1jersey

Thursday, August 7 - Greg Bibb checks in.

It’s been two weeks, but I’m back. I hope you enjoyed Sheila Johnson’s entry last week. I must say, having someone of her stature fill in for me creates a bit of pressure, but I’ll do my best to meet the high standard. Here’s what’s on my mind this seventh day of August, 2008.

Thank You!

As we take a break from WNBA action, I wanted to extend our organization’s sincere gratitude to the League’s best fans. This year has been a banner one for our team from a business perspective. Here are a few of the highlights:

• 2008 will mark the first year of ticket sales growth after five consecutive years of decline

• Average attendance is up 15% from a year ago to 8,995 fans per game

• The Mystics have already sold more tickets in 2008 than in 2006 and 2007

• The team has welcomed 938 new season tickets in 2008

• The Mystics lead the WNBA in tickets sold increase

• The organization will finish with its best ticket sales figures since 2004

These statistics are very encouraging, but we have a long way to go to return the Mystics to the top of the WNBA attendance ladder. Together we can get there. Remember, if you have someone who you think may be interested in Mystics basketball, bring them to a game. Thanks again for your unbelievable support and belief!

Corporate Partnerships Trending Up

The positive news isn’t limited to our ticket sales department…thanks to great support from the corporate community, our sponsorship sales are up over 20% in 2008. Moreover, our organization has improved to third in the WNBA in sponsorship revenue.

Season Ticket Holder Event

If you are a Mystics season ticket holder, be sure to join us at Dave & Buster’s in White Flint on August 23 for our annual season ticket holder party. Here you’ll have the opportunity to eat, drink, and play with the 2008 Washington Mystics. For more information or to register for the event, check out our website or give us a call.

Renewal Season

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again. While we still have eight games left in the 2008 campaign, we are now accepting deposits and payments on 2009 Mystics season tickets. If you are a current season ticket holder, you should receive your information packet in the mail within the next few days. Please make special note of the fabulous incentives we are providing for early renewal, including the chance to win a $2,500 gas card and a 46-inch flat screen television. If you aren’t a season ticket holder, what are you waiting for? Call us today at 1-877-DCHOOP1.

Happy Birthday!

It absolutely amazes me, but our daughter Adelyn celebrated her first birthday on Tuesday, August 5. Milestones such as birthdays provide an opportunity to look back and it is hard to believe how much our little one has grown in the past 12 months. She’s now walking, talking and providing her mommy and me with endless joy and happiness.

Adelyn celebrated her birthday last Saturday with a party in PA attended by great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. On Sunday, she enjoyed birthday cake for the second straight day as her first cousin, Kyra, celebrated her second birthday. Adelyn and Kyra share August 5 as their special day.

Visiting San Francisco

The WNBA held the League’s annual Inspiring Women’s Luncheon in San Francisco on July 31. This year’s honoree was Robin Roberts. In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of the “Good Morning America” co-host, the WNBA also staged a send-off for the women’s Olympic basketball team and held two days of COO meetings. I had a great time at the luncheon and learned a lot at the meetings. I even had a chance to see my Aunt Emily who lives in nearby Marin County, CA. Special thanks to WNBA staffer Lindsay Amstutz and her friends for showing me “The Mission” part of the city.

Quote of the Week

“A stone that cries out when hit with a chisel and a hammer can never become a statue.”

Website of the Week

If you are looking for a way to cut human consumption of goods, or simply need to find a cheap (as in free) gift, visit www.freecycle.org. The mission of this site is to “build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources, and eases the burdens on our landfills while enabling members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”

Here you can find almost anything you could possibly want, slightly used, and it’s free. More importantly, you can be part of a worldwide network that is keeping over 300 tons of stuff a day out of landfills while helping to spread the spirit of generosity. Happy gifting!

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• When will the Brett Favre saga end?

• I can’t wait for the Olympics to start…go USA!

• Speaking of Olympics, is there a more amazing athlete on the planet right now than Dara Torres? This woman is 41 years old and setting records…unbelievable.

• Baseball is gearing up for an exciting finish with five of the six divisional races and both wildcard competitions up for grabs as we head through August.

• WNBA action returns to Washington in 22 days!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, August 6 - Danielle Watkins shares her excitement about the upcoming Olympics.

Hey Mystics fans! We are already a week into the Olympic break. It’s finally time to kick off the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. On Friday night, thousands of athletes from around the world will come together in Beijing for three weeks to compete for the glory of their homeland, or in some cases their adopted homeland. I honestly think that I am the only person that will actually be watching every possible minute of coverage of it on TV and the internet!!!

I am addicted to all kinds of sports! I also love to sit and watch regular people competing to see, who is the best in the world in their respective sport, especially if that sport is 20-km race walking. Not only do I watch the more promoted events like swimming, track and field and basketball, I love to watch the unusual sports like badminton and handball. Of course, I am a huge fan of Michael Phelps and will be one of those rooting for him to win a historic eight gold medals. I’m also hoping that this year’s “Redeem Team” can live up to their promise and bring home gold, Kobe should win at least one championship this year. So for the next three weeks, let’s cheer on our men and women in Beijing who are hoping to make their dreams come true by winning Olympic gold!!!

Until next time, GO MYSTICS!!!

Tuesday, August 5 - Linda Hargrove checks in.

Hey All ...

I can't believe we are into August. The summer has really flown by and I would have to say that it is one of the toughest summers that I have been involved in. Playing at an inconsistent level all summer has resulted in a poor record and replacing a coach midseason just adds to the upheaval.

The Olympic break should be really good for us. Jessie and Crystal will have several weeks to put in their offensive and defensive philosophy and get all the team on the same page. I would have to say that I am really impressed with how the players have responded to the added discipline. I really believe that players at all levels want discipline. They want to be told what is expected of them and when they all are held accountable it just becomes a very healthy situation.

Individual workouts will end on Thursday and then full team practices will begin on Friday. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone gear up for a final push for the playoffs during the last eight games. It will be really tough to make this all happen but I still believe in this group and feel that if they work really hard together good things could still happen for the Mystics.

I'm finalizing my trip to Beijing next week. I will see 18 games in 6 days and hope to find some players that could help improve our roster. I know that Zane Teilane played well against the USA team earlier this week and I will have a chance to catch up with her. I know that she has gotten much stronger than she was when she played for us a couple of years ago and she was already very skilled so I am anxious to see how she has developed.

I've had a chance to go to my nieces' wedding and see my grandkids the past few days. The wedding was beautiful and I always get emotional when I see two individuals come together to start a new life together. Everything is so new and exciting and I just hope and pray that these young people can beat the odds and live a happy, committed life together. I have another niece getting married in early October so we will definitely enjoy wedding cake this fall.

See you in the gym ...

Linda

Monday, August 4 - Nicole Boden gets ready for the party of the year.

Hello Mystics fans! It looks like it’s my turn again to check in with a blog. Where do I even begin? It has been a very busy season thus far but definitely a fun one to say the least. This is my fifth season with the Mystics and I don’t remember a season going by this quickly.

So now that we have embarked on the August “break” some of us here in the office have decided to take some time off and just relax. I’m taking off Friday and Monday and as I mentioned before I’ve been so busy with the season that I didn’t even make plans for my time off. My best friends from college have been planning a trip to Vegas and have been asking me since May to buy my ticket and I never got around to it. Of course I started looking early last week and now it’s too expensive so I’m not going and I love Vegas!! I actually don’t like to gamble but I love the buffets, the shows, sitting out by the pool, the nightlife. I love everything about Vegas. So my friends will have to enjoy themselves in Vegas without me.

I’m going to try to spend some time at the beach with my two best friends from high school. They are my oldest and dearest friends and although we are all very different we always just laugh and have a really good time together. There’s never a dull moment with the three girls from Northern VA.

I know you are all waiting for an update on my little man Charlie. This Wednesday he’s turning three years old! Yes, I’m having a birthday party for him. Last year I went all out. I invited all of his friends over and we had doggie cake, doggie beverages, goody bags, hats and decorations. This year will be no different. If you’re wondering, yes you can send Charlie a birthday gift. He’s registered at Chateau Animaux and Pawticulars on 8th Street on Capitol Hill.

Well Mystics fans, enjoy the August “break” and I hope to see all of you back in the Verizon Center on August 29th.

Nicole Boden

Friday, August 1 - Crystal Langhorne checks in.

This week has gone by wayyyy too fast. Of course the days we have off for the Olympic break are just flying right on by. Its nice to get away from basketball because we are playing year round, so any kind of break is always great.

The highlight of this break is coming up this weekend, the last part of my break. Harp, Kristi Toliver, and Jade Perry are taking a nice weekend getaway. We're heading to Atlantic City tomorrow, we're going to do a little shopping, head to the beach, and probably squeeze in some good food there too. Then I might do a little gambling. I don't really like wasting my money so I think I'm only going to put up 20 to use on that. Of course we will go out somewhere that night. Then on Saturday, we're heading to Harp's house in Philly to a big get together her mom is having for her. After that we're going to get a hotel and go out once again. So I'm really excited about this weekend it should be a really good time.

I miss my teammates, just a little bit though lol. I'm so use to seeing them everyday that when I don't see them for two days it seems like forever. I know this upcoming month of August I'm going to see them a whole lot because we don't have any games. That is going to be a tough month of practice, I feel like its going to be training camp all over again. Sheesh, let me just focus on this weekend.