February 2009

Friday, February 27th - Crystal Hudson talks about surviving jury duty.

Hello there Mystics fans!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve last blogged for Pass the Ball. But in my long absence, everything (life, mainly) has certainly kept me busy. Here’s a quick rundown of my most memorable experiences over the past month or so…

I know I’m a bit late, but I too, was out on the Mall with two million of my closest friends to witness an historic occasion: the presidential inauguration. I had a wonderful time the entire weekend, enjoying the company of friends I don’t get to see very often, and just being out on the town soaking up all of the excitement and inspiration abound in the District.

More recently, I was summoned for jury duty. I hear they get us non-DC natives fresh out of the voting booths; and while it’s clearly too late now, I’m still kicking myself for registering here and not just sending in an absentee ballot. And please don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing against the District as a place for dwelling, dining, and living the good life (which is just the life I’ve convinced myself I’m living); but had I known I would’ve been immediately summoned for jury duty in a court that seats me right next to the (alleged) criminal, I would’ve been the first to send in my absentee ballot. While I know that (alleged) criminals come in all shapes and sizes, from various backgrounds, and with a variety of crimes similar to that of Baskin Robbins’ 101 flavors, the dude in my courtroom was intimidating. And I don’t think the lack of restraints or security presence helped much. To say the least, the process was grueling. Thankfully I wasn’t chosen as a juror for that case (or any other case), but the seemingly endless wait in a room with 100 strangers having loud conversations on their phones, limbs spread across 3 chairs, deep sleep snoring, and not-so-entertaining movies playing on 10 inescapable televisions wasn’t much consolation. I will say, however, that with many friends and family in the law profession, I fully understand the importance of having competent jurors sit on a case. I guess I should petition some of them to do what’s in their power to change the juror selection process so people like the woman sitting behind me who suggested the courts “recruit all the homeless people, give them a shower and pay them $30 to do this” aren’t so turned off by the system.

On a much brighter note, I went home to visit my mother last weekend and enjoyed a relaxing trip, which included a night at the New York City Ballet, an afternoon spent wandering around the exhibits at the Brooklyn Musuem, and a Knicks game that ended with a (rare) win for NY. I’m glad I was able to fit that trip in now, as we’re pretty much back in full swing for the upcoming Mystics season, which is sure to be what we’ve all come to expect from such as powerful city as this. It’s AS REAL AS IT GETS in 2009!

Be well,
Crystal

Thursday, February 26th - Tim Gallant is pinch hitting for Greg Bibb.

Hello All,

Greg is unfortunately out for the day, so I, will be blogging in his place. However, I will try to keep with his format, in hopes of drawing similar comparisons. I did want to take this opportunity to point out something that I believe goes overlooked by many about our Front Office staff.

I remember on my first blog, I wrote about how everyone was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and encouraging. And today, I would say that those are the exact same characteristics that I would associate with our staff. Each and every worker here has a genuine interest in the Mystics that extends far beyond the dollars and cents bottom line. The effort seen on a consistent basis is extraordinary, and I hope that season ticket holders and fans alike see this effort for what it is; a passion to develop and grow the team from the attendance, to the play on the court, to the work in the community. Everyone here cares. And while there have been some tough years in the past for Mystics fans, I can assure you that each decision now is made with the intention of bettering the Mystics on all levels, to ultimately win a championship and give enjoyment to all who watch. Just know that while you might get a bazillion emails and phone calls from the Mystics, it is because we care, and are always striving to better our product and our performance.

Mystics Team:

Can anyone dispute the fact that our team has drastically changed for the better? Ummm, I didn’t think so. To add Lindsey Harding and Chasity Melvin to our roster is like the Celtics adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, and that is not an exaggeration.

My Basketball skills:

While I am undisputable the biggest trash talker on the basketball court to my fellow co-workers, I am certainly not the most talented, and between air-balls on my part, the only time I see the ball go in the hoop is when one of my more talented workers are raining threes down on me. My trash talking days are numbered…until we hit the links, then I am in your head.

Final and Sometimes Random Thoughts:

Tiger is back? Get your did-he-really-just-do-that meter out and wait for it to hit the unbelievable mark. Oh wait, it already went there when he went three under after his first two holes….IN EIGHT MONTHS.

Lonely Island CD is in one word: Hilarious

This has been the longest winter, and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, or day, whichever you prefer.

Wednesday, February 25th - Dana Simonelli talks about working out and visiting with family.

Hey Mystics Fans,

It is nice to be back in the blogging world. I always feel like so much time passes between my blogs.

The latest thing happening in the world of Dana is that I just signed up for a 5k race. I felt the need to get myself motivated to work out more and what a better way then to sign up for a race. I have to admit I do not have a runner’s body and my knees are always questioning why I must do this to them. But, then I think of my 63 year old mother and how she walks 8 miles twice a week and she just took up Zumba class. She is definitely my motivation. Now I will admit that I have also tried this little class called Zumba and I even had a great partner in crime for the first time around, as Nicole Boden joined me for my first class. Boy was it fun and confusing at the same time. I could not get my feet going with the beat all the time, but it was still a workout.

On another note, I was able to have a home made dinner with my aunt last night. She lives right around the corner from the Verizon Center, so it makes it easy to drop by for dinner. She made a great salmon dish with peppers. It was quite good and even better that I did not need to cook. It also gave me a chance to play with Marnie their five year old husky/Shepard mix. This dog is so smart. We were able to go for a walk and we played fetch for a while, which gets her tired out. She is such a lovable dog. Since talking about dogs I must also give a shout out to Nicole’s dog Charlie. Maybe one day Charlie and Marnie will have a play date at the dog park.

Well that is all for me. I also want to send out a big thank you to all the Mystics fans that answered our two surveys this past month. Your feedback is much appreciated and has allowed us to become better informed. Thanks again and until next time!

Dana

Tuesday, February 24th - Coach Julie Plank checks in and talks about evaluating players.

Hello Mystics Fans!

This is an exciting time of year…March Madness!!!

Our staff has been extremely busy evaluating the top players in the 2009 college draft. Since the trade for Lindsey Harding and the free agent signing of Chasity Melvin, we have focused our attention on the #2 pick. Countless hours are spent watching game film, talking to college coaches, and seeing games and practices in person. It is amazing to see the very best players in the country elevate their games at this time of year. As seniors, they recognize that this is their last chance to bring that National Title to their respective universities. Also, many of them are trying to solidify their positions in the upcoming WNBA draft.

When evaluating prospects, here is what we are looking for:

• Versatility…with roster sizes being cut down to 11 players, being able to play multiple positions becomes a tremendous asset. We will look for players who are able to do many different things. Prospects who can play inside and out, play both ends of the floor, can handle the ball, pass and shoot, can make an impact on any team.

• Talent…what are the things that players do best? What are the things that they can bring to the table? How can they contribute to our current roster? Where do we see them helping our team in the next few years? Are they a long term player in this league?

• Athleticism…we look for players that can match the WNBA as far as speed and quickness. Can players run the floor, defend on the perimeter, handle the ball, and score against the very best?

• Competitiveness & Toughness…who plays big in the big time games? We try to see the best games possible, to see how players react to adversity. How do they react when their teams need them the most? Can they step up and handle the pressure against the best competition?

• Work Ethic…who has improved their game throughout their careers? Who is willing to make the commitment necessary to make themselves and their teams better? Who is willing to do whatever it takes for their teams to win?

• Attitude and Team Player…we look for players that love to win every drill, players that bring out the best in their teammates, and players who are very unselfish. Who has the intangibles that are invaluable to a team? With limited roster spots available, who is able to fit into a specific role, and what players are “true winners”?

Other factors that we must consider in the evaluation process are:

What type of coaching have they had? Do they play for a coach that values offense or defense, up-tempo or ½ court game, structure or free play? What is the caliber of competition they have played against? Have they played at a high level, either in high school, college, or USA basketball? How have they contributed to their team’s success? Are they a franchise player in the WNBA? Do they fill a true position for our Mystic’s roster? Do they fill a need for our team?

The conference tournaments beginning March 5th should be a great time to finalize our thought process, after evaluating these players for the last few years. We are anticipating some outstanding performances, both in the conference tournaments and in the NCAA tourney. Our staff will be glued to the television watching all of the tournaments at one time. There is one thing that is certain…our #2 pick will be a big factor in our team’s success for a long time! Stay tuned…

Coach Plank

Monday, February 23 - Chris Waldmann shares this weekend’s sports news and his impending unclehood.

Hello Again Mystics Fans,

It’s been a while since I got a chance to blog here, so I’m sure I’ll be able to find a few things to talk about…

It was a good weekend to be a Terp, that’s for sure! Not only did the men’s team upset perennial national champion contender and #3 team in the country UNC on Saturday, but the women absolutely demolished Duke on Sunday routing them in the second half and winning by almost 20. I was lucky enough to be at the game on Sunday and the lady Terps looked good enough to beat just about anyone in the country…anyone but UConn that is!

I did manage to stay up past my bedtime and watch the entire Oscar show last night. Normally I’m not that into the whole Oscar “thing” but I was able to watch just about every nominated film this season (thanks to my roommate’s persistence) which did make the show more interesting. As much as I try not to go with the mainstream picks, Slumdog Millionaire was the best movie I saw this past year, and I’m glad it won. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out, it’s worth it! (I’d also like to make mention that I won the small Oscar pool I was in – keep an eye out for my new weekly movie review column coming out soon! Ok, not really…)

Last time I posted I mentioned that I will be an uncle for the first time in July. Just a quick update on that note, it’s going to be a boy! My sister and brother-in-law are not the types to be surprised in the delivery room so they wanted to find out as soon as they could, and luckily the little guy cooperated last week and the ultra-sound revealed a boy. According to the update emails my sister sends, he’s about the size of a large heirloom tomato (I feel like just yesterday the kid was the size of a kumquat, they grow up so fast!)

Well I wouldn’t be able to end this blog before I mentioned that its late February now, which means March is almost here, which means March Madness! I must say that I love watching the Tournaments. The Big East tourney at MSG is going to be as good as anything the Sweet 16 will produce this year, and the men’s and women’s ACC tourneys should be a lot of fun as well as we head to the big dance. I’m feeling a repeat of 2004 when UConn won ‘em both…make sure you’re watching! And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that after March comes April and that means baseball is back! As always, Lets Go Red Sox!

For those few season ticket holders who are yet to renew this is the last week to get in on those 2008 prices for ’09, call your rep today and lock in those seats! We have a lot of great options and locations available for new season plans as well, so bring a friend and enjoy the summer months with the Mystics…and me!

Til next time…

Go Mystics 2009 – As Real As It Gets!

Friday, February 20th - Maria Giovannetti talks about some of the amazing things she has seen.

Hi Mystics fans,

I witnessed the most ridiculous thing this past weekend. I was walking down the sidewalk when I noticed a police officer writing a ticket for a car that was double parked outside of the grocery store. As I approached I couldn't believe my eyes...there was someone in the passenger seat! To my amazement, the person in the passenger seat made no attempt to stop the officer or move the car. I stopped in my tracks to watch in utter disbelief that this person would allow a ticket to be placed on the car she was sitting in! Sure enough, the officer finished writing the ticket, put it on the windshield, walked back to his squad car and was on his merry way. Come on! How on earth could you allow a police officer to put a ticket on the car while you're sitting in it?!? Use your head!

Speaking of using your head, will someone please explain to me how a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction collides into another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the second largest ocean in the world! Maybe we should have set aside some of the $787 billion in stimulus money to purchase the book “Driving Submarines For Dummies” for Britain and France. Although, I’m not sure we have much room to talk after running one of our own naval ships aground in Hawaii just a couple of weeks ago.

While we're not navigating naval vessels or allocating economic stimulus money, here in the Mystics office we're doing what we do best...basketball! It's been well covered and written about, but everyone is excited to have added new members of the Mystics family both on and off the court. We have made excellent roster additions and welcomed several new Women2Women business partners and season ticket holders! We’ve also been talking to groups about playing on the Verizon Center court, participating in the fan tunnel and bench warmer programs, and doing fundraisers with the Mystics. Do you have your tickets yet?

Next time you hear from me there will be a new NCAA champion and we will have made our #2 draft selection. It’s an exciting time for basketball!

Maria

Thursday, February 19th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Hey everybody. With Monday being President’s Day, it has been a light news week here in Mystics land. Nonetheless, there are a few things to discuss. Here’s what is on my mind this 19th day of February, 2009.

Welcome Heather
I’m pleased to welcome Heather Locke to the Mystics front office. Heather will serve as a ticket account executive focused on the sale of season tickets, min plans and special packages. Heather will begin her Mystics career on February 23.

Mystics High School Team of the Week
The Mystics continue to visit local high schools to honor the respective schools’ girls basketball teams. Recently, Mystics General Manager Angela Taylor and staffers Rebecca Hunt and Maria Giovannetti have made appearances at Bishop McNamara High School and Howard High School. You can catch-up with the Mystics at James Blake High School on February 23 and the Howard County District Championship Game on February 24. To learn more about the Mystics High School Team of the Week program, visit www.washingtonmystics.com.

Welcome Back & Thank You
We are honored to welcome back RLJ Development as a Mystics corporate partner for the 2009 season. RLJ has been a devoted supporter of the Mystics for several seasons and continues to serve as one of the nation’s leading hotel investment companies. We certainly appreciate their partnership and support. To learn more about this Mystics partner, visit www.rljhotels.com.

Draft Day Approaching
We’re now just seven weeks away from the 2009 WNBA Draft. We are fortunate to hold a position of strength in the draft with the second overall selection. There are a number of outstanding collegiate players who would undoubtedly make a positive impact on our roster. We also have the option to trade out of the #2 pick if the right deal comes along. It will be interesting to weigh our options over the next seven weeks. I have complete faith in our GM Angela Taylor to make the right decision for our organization. Stay tuned.

A Shout Out to the Ground Hog
After being away a few weeks ago and with much to report last week, I didn’t have the chance to give a shout out to a fellow Pennsylvanian and world-renowned weather forecaster, Punxsutawney Phil. As always, Phil emerged from his slumber on February 2 to provide his annual forecast. Unfortunately, my favorite varmint saw his shadow. Thus, there will be six more weeks of winter. Thankfully, spring training has arrived for baseball, so warmer temperatures can’t be too far away.

Las Vegas & Detroit: What’s The Connection?
While I was in Las Vegas the other week, I couldn’t help but notice all of the construction projects that seemed to have been stopped in mid-stream. Like everywhere, Las Vegas is feeling the effects of the recession, with business being dramatically off in America’s #1 tourist city. What is shocking, however, is just how bad it has gotten. A recent report on Yahoo identified Las Vegas and Detroit as America’s two emptiest cities based on a combination of rental and homeowner vacancies. Having lived in Detroit for two years I saw first hand how bad things had gotten, largely due to the decline of the American auto industry. To think one can now draw a comparison between the all money, all glitz, all-the-time Las Vegas and Detroit, the metropolitan symbol for US economic hardship, is scary. Just further proof, nothing is immune to the current economic climate. Here’s a link to the article if you want to read more: http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/americas-emptiest-cities.html.

Quote of the Week

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts
• I’m back on my Utah bandwagon…watch out for the Jazz during the second half of the NBA season.
• Congrats to Alex Ovechkin on scoring his 200th career goal.
• Speaking of the Caps, congratulations to Mike Greene for becoming the first defenseman in NHL history to score a goal in eight consecutive games.
• A note to Manny Ramirez: take the $25 million from the Dodgers and work your butt off for a multi-year contract next season.
• Does anyone have a clue what team is going to win the NCAA men’s basketball national championship? If so, please share, because I surely don’t.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, February 20th - Ketsia Colimon checks in.

Hey Mystics fans,

Basketball
Hope you are all doing well. College basketball is in full swing and if you had told me that my Florida State Seminoles would defeat UNC, I would have asked if this is Coach Semrau contract year? Have you noticed that coaches and players have a tendency to have career performances in years where their contracts are up? I just think it's a weird coincidence. Anyhoo, turns out that Coach Semrau is having a great year just because of great coaching and great players and I couldn't be happier. It would be nice to be considered a powerhouse; to always be knows as Cinderella is getting kind of old!

Bowling
This weekend I decided to partake in the American tradition known as bowling. I have bowled maybe four times in my life and when I say bowled I mean bowled a frame, sat down and went back to talking to my friends. Who knew this was an obsession??? There were people willing to wait for hours for a lane. As I am not a devotee of the game, I left and decided to go back the next day where I STILL had a 30 minute wait!! Nicole Jones our resident bowler had a great laugh when I shared with her my experience. There were a few highs and so many lows. I mean after two games my combine scores were 109. Ouch!!!

High School Team of the Week
In case you didn't know, the Mystics have partnered with local top high school girl's basketball teams to give recognize them and give them a chance to learn from our basketball folks. I read this story this morning which reminded me that as we recognize the kids, lets not forget the coaches who teach them about what matters in life. I shed a tear; feel free to do the same.

Sam Update
Sam is now 10 months! In a couple of months our baby is going to be a toddler who won't want to be held. From what I understand, he is not quite walking yet but he is taking lots of steps-I am not so sure if they are assisted or not but when this little boy will be ready to go, we all better watch out!

Take care

Ketsia

Tuesday, February 17th - Nakia Sanford talks about American politics in Russia and the art of walking on thin ice.

Since my last blog, I have managed to avoid getting mugged by old women and I haven¡¦t even been on any hitchhiking expeditions in Moscow. Oh but don¡¦t think for a minute things have been dull in Kia world. Well, actually most days they are. I mean, I AM, in the middle of friggin¡¦ Russia. However, sometimes things happen that make me tilt my head to the side, and make a face like ¨Really, did that just happen.

Here is an example. When we travel, we have to take an 8 to 9 hour train ride into Moscow, and then fly to our final destination. We leave at night. Usually, about 9ish. So Lori (Moore) and I talk a little bit (lately we play Uno because I brought them back with me after break), watch a movie or something, then call it a night. When we wake up, there we are in Moscow. The Sunday before the inauguration of our 44th president, we took such a train ride. So early Monday morning about 5am on Dr. Martin Luther King¡¦s Birthday (Russian time) we arrived at the train station. I bundled myself up in my coat, put on my gloves and my funny little hat with ear covers and a little puff ball on top. As I stepped off the train, I flipped the hood up over my head, and braced myself for the morning cold. Head down, dragging my bag behind me like the rest of our herd, my mind was blank. I was just trying to make my way to the bus, and some heat. All of a sudden I feel someone in my path. I lift my head up and to my surprise there is a smiling little Russian man (with much less than 32 teeth in his mouth, much, much less), standing in my path. He has his hand raised like a Native American in an old cowboy western, his palm open to me and elbow bent. He yells in his happiest loudest voice. ..Barack Obama! Barack Obama!!!!!

Y'all I almost fell out laughing. I was so caught by surprise!!! I bent over, laughing off all my sleepy. Oh my goodness. As we walked away laughing, Lori, (who by the way was walking in front of me and received no such greeting) made a very true statement. ¡§Kia this stuff only happens to you. A funny after note is, we went through Moscow again and the same man was there. This time he said Barack Obama as a hello greeting, because he remembered me. His tone was different, but the smile was the same. Snaggle toothed and heart warming.

Now I had to re-learn how to walk over here. Even though the winter has been pretty mild, I have had some run-ins with some not so mild ice. This is what I have learned:

While walking anywhere in Russia, it's a very good idea to walk with your head down, shoulders straight, and arms out wide. Why do you ask? This technique has been proven and tested by both of my butt cheeks, and my side, and my elbow, and my... ok just joking but you get the point. You see, on several occassions, I attempted to walk as I was taught, with my head up. Because of this I missed spotting the slick ice waiting to take me down on the sidewalk outside my apartment. Not using this technique also put me into a slide that resulted in a less than graceful split, which left me flailing my arms, and reaching for the side of the bus that was just out of reach.

I thought for awhile that having my head down and shoulders straight was enough to keep me upright, but added the arms out to the side, after yet another tumble and roll in which I wasn¡¦t ready to handle an especially slick patch of pavement. I know I probably look really silly to observers, but so far it has kept me vertical. I think I look even sillier when I am falling and slipping everywhere trying to get up. I'm still trying to figure out why I am the only person who has to do this. Russian women have mastered walking on slick surfaces in 3 inch heeled boots without so much as a wobble...hmmmm, to each his own I suppose. They ain't got nothing on me and my heels in the summer though, so I am not jealous, I just keep on truckin in my Ugg boots.

I really do hope that ¡¦09 has been good to everyone so far. Y¡¦all keep me in your prayers, chants meditations...lol, whatever, send me all that good energy to Russia. Oh!, cant forget!!!!! C-murder (Chasity Melvin) is back!!! I am so hype, I know Coach Plank and Angela are taking all the credit, but you can thank me and AB for the recruiting work. Y¡¦all can take the tape off the 44 jerseys now. I can¡¦t wait to kick her butt in practice again! Yeah I said it! Lol. No seriously, I am so excited about this summer. Thank you to all the season ticket holders that are keeping in touch (Susan especially, for the funny pictures), just goes to show we really do have the best fans in the WNBA. I will try to get some new videos up for you guys on my website soon. Till next time take care and GOOOOOOO Mysitcs!!!!

KIA.

Friday, February 13th - Erin Mitchell talks about the upcoming Professional Women’s Networking Night.

Hello Mystics Fans -

It seems like just yesterday since I was able to share my thoughts with you – I guess the old cliché stands true since time really flies when you’re having fun! Yes, we are having lots of fun in the office (don’t worry, we’re working hard too). The excitement factor during this off season has been quite high. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about us acquiring Lindsey Harding from Minnesota and the return of Chasity Melvin to DC. We’re still two months away from the draft and already our roster is looking GREAT for the upcoming season. I hope all of you season ticket holders have already staked your claim to your seats for 2009 because the Verizon Center is going to be the place to be this summer. If you’ve yet to become a Mystics Season Ticket holder, now is the time to do so! You are not going to want to miss out on the action this year – June 7th will be here before you know it and we want you in the house!

Last season we had our 1st Sports and Entertainment Career Fair which gave over 500 people the opportunity to land that job in the sports industry that they’ve been dreaming of. This year we are hosting our 1st Professional Women’s Networking Night. The “Speed Networking” event will give women in the DC Metro area the opportunity to meet other professionals and discuss ways to grow in their careers. They’ll also have the chance to hear from industry leaders, grab a bite to eat and of course enjoy Mystics basketball. Mark your calendars for July 21st!! Feel free to email me for more information – emitchell@washmystics.com.

I guess I’d be remiss if I concluded this blog without mentioning Valentine’s Day. The big day is tomorrow. Although I wasn’t expecting flowers or candy this year from a significant other, I still received a beautiful bouquet of cookie roses from someone that I KNOW loves me – thanks Mom, xoxo!! I’m going to take this opportunity to extend love to all of you for loving the Mystics the way you do! Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Until next time,

GO MYSTICS!

Erin

Pass the ball will return on Tuesday, February 17th

Thursday, February 12th - Greg Bibb returns to Pass the Ball.

It’s good to be blogging again after a week away. I spent most of last week on the road, first at League meetings and then I headed west for a little R&R over the weekend. Since last we met, much has happened. Here’s what’s on my mind this 12th day of February, 2009.

Welcome Back

On Monday we announced the signing of former Mystics center Chastity Melvin to a multi-contract. Chastity will provide us with veteran leadership on and off the court while serving as a proven player for our post rotation. She is an all-star caliber performer who will make us better. I think it is important to remember that we are extraordinarily young right now and most likely will start the 2009 season as one of, if not the, youngest teams in the WNBA. We needed some experience and Chastity will provide that. We are excited about her arrival as we continue to build what we believe will be a much improved team for 2009.

WNBA Board of Governors Meeting

The WNBA Board of Governors Meeting was held last week in New York. The biggest news for release out of the meeting involved the use of replays by on-court officials. Most notably, referees will now have the ability to review replays of a made field goal where there is doubt on whether the basket was for two or three points. I personally like this rule change as I believe it will only help our referees, who by the way, do a great job officiating a very fast-paced, high-level game.

Viva Las Vegas

I had the chance to spend the weekend in Las Vegas for a bit of a boys retreat….just another example of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful wife. While I had a great time catching up with friends from home, I also came to a depressing conclusion….we are getting old. I think collectively our group’s mid-day naps to recover from staying up way past our normal bedtimes outpaced the number of adult beverages we consumed. By Sunday, everyone was ready to head home and to recover from our “vacation.” Even though we can no longer stay up as late, or go as long without sleep, we still had a great time and it was really nice to spend some time with the boys.

Milestone

On Thursday of last week, Adelyn hit the 18-month mark. It is hard to believe that our little girl is now a year and a half old. In some ways it seems as if we just left the hospital. Adelyn is now 33 ¼ inches tall and growing like a weed. Our little preemie who was in the third percentile in size when born is now in the 90th in height while eating everything in sight. It is quite amazing to watch her grow and there really is nothing better than being greeted by her when returning from a long day of work.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

Thanks to the University of Maryland, our honored guests and all of those individuals who helped make our inaugural National Girls and Women in Sports Day event a huge success. We look forward to making this celebration an annual tradition and we hope to continue to work with our partners in College Park on this initiative.

Valentine’s Day Reminder

Mystics’ fans…Valentine’s Day is this Saturday. The card shop is running low on inventory. The flower shop is down to daffodils. The candy maker is running out of chocolate. Make sure you get there soon.

Quote of the Week

“Patience in planning, when combined with impatience in execution, creates great results.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Pittsburgh Steelers….six-time Super Bowl Champions…enough said.

• University of Connecticut men and women are both #1 in the NCAA basketball polls while the University of Oklahoma men and women are both #2.

• Can the NBA All-Star teams combine to score 300 points on Sunday?

• Will the steroids issue in baseball ever go away?

• The WNBA draft is just eight weeks away from today!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, February 11th - Megan Burda checks in.

Hello Mystics fans,

A lot has been going on around here since we last talked. The past few weeks have been jammed packed with Mystics and UMD basketball. This weekend was the second Junior Mystics Mayhem Dance Clinic at the University of Maryland and it was nothing less than a success. We had 150 children perform a dance routine in front of hundreds and with one week to prepare, the dance group came in third place! It was a spectacular event and the next one is in the works for April!! Stay tuned for the details.

Last week the Mystics also celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports day at the UNC vs. UMD game. We had guest speakers from our basketball operations as well as Cat Whitehill from the Washington Freedom. They spoke before the game about the importance of women empowerment in sports and how it is growing enormously.

On a more personal note, life has been busy, busy, busy. I am one month into the big 24 years old and I am not looking forward to the next. A quarter of a century old?! Birthday plans were low key this year which consisted of celebrating with my friends here in DC at my house then having reservations downtown. It’s usually a long day because it’s the day after New Years day and only a week from Christmas. On top of all that, three of my best friends all had to be born the first week in January also. It’s a tiring week.

As the New Year is in full swing, many changes have been going on, especially with the team. With new coaching staff, GM, and roster changes, it’s a big season for the Mystics and I hope to see you all this summer.

Until next time,

Megan.

Tuesday, February 10th - Julie Plank checks in.

Hello Mystics Fans!

I have some exciting news for you all…Chasity Melvin is back!!!

We are very happy to announce her free agent signing, as she will be playing for the Mystics this summer. While evaluating our current roster (during the interview process), it was very obvious to me that we needed to add more help at the point guard and center positions. Well, we have our “bookends” (Harding and Melvin), who will provide both talent and experience to our current roster. Chasity brings veteran leadership to our team, and is a player hungry to win a championship. Her inside presence will compliment our other post players. In recruiting Chasity, the one thing that she kept mentioning about DC were the fans…she loved the atmosphere here in the arena!!! So, thanks to you all for your support, patience, and energy. We will make things happen this summer!

As far as Lindsey Harding goes…I am ecstatic to be coaching her again. I had the opportunity to work with her this past summer in Minnesota. I can tell you this…she is a competitor! She is back to being 100% healthy, playing extremely well over in Turkey (Mersin), and is so excited to be coming to DC. Lindsey is extremely talented, fast, loves to push the tempo, and plays with great energy at the defensive end of the floor. She can create her own shot, loves to get to the paint, and will penetrate and kick to her open teammates. I know she is anxious to play with her former Duke teammates, Alana and Monique. Look for great things out of her in 2009!

Congratulations are in order for Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt, for her 1,000 win. I can’t even imagine the accomplishment when you really think about it! The most impressive thing about it, is the outstanding competition she faced year in and year out, playing only the very best in the women’s game. Her 100% graduation rate, and the fact that every Lady Volunteer player has been to a Final Four is astounding!!! I am looking forward to win #1 as a Head Coach!

I was in Oklahoma City last week, watching the Tennessee – Oklahoma game. What an atmosphere! The game was really good, as both teams showed why they are truly the best in the women’s game. Oklahoma has the Paris Twins, but their supporting cast is pretty good as well. Sorry to see Courtney’s double-double streak come to an end. She has had an awesome career for the Sooners, and also just broke the Big 12 all-time scoring record, previous held by Sophia Young from Baylor. What a nice player…

How funny is this…

There was a HUGE game in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. My 11 year old nephew, Matthew, called me after his big accomplishment…He took his first charge of his career! I am sure he will be a play-by-play announcer one day, as he talks to me about every play of the game. And after I heard about his game, he told me about his seven year old brother Timmy’s game. Timmy ended up with “a huge effort…four points, and four rebounds”!

Saturday is Valentine’s Day, and I am sooooo excited to have my Mom and sister Jane visit the DC area! They are here for the long weekend as I have big plans. I am taking them to the Rutgers – Maryland game on Sunday at 1pm! Trust me…that will be the highlight of their trip perhaps, as we are definitely a basketball family. I am also looking forward to their help, in putting together my many “purchases” from IKEA!!! And NO, I will not be cooking at my apartment…that is why there are restaurants, and I am big on helping the economy!

I am truly excited that we have added Natalia Isaac to our staff, as our coordinator of basketball operations. Although she has just started with us, I can already tell she will be tremendous! We are very fortunate to have her, and I am sure you will all see her somewhere along the way…

Congratulations to Alana Beard and Crystal Langhorne, for being named to the EuroLeague All-star game. They will be competing as teammates in Paris, France on March 8th. The game will feature Europe taking on the Rest of the World.

Talk to you soon…

Coach Plank

Monday, February 9th - Tim Gallant shares one of his best Sundays of 2009.

Hello Mystics Fans,

I have been instructed to write an emergency blog, meaning, if this blog doesn’t surface on our website, the world as we know it will come to a cataclysmic standstill. Fear not, as I will recount my weekend, which should be entertaining enough to keep the world on its axis…or maybe not.

Nonetheless, with a lack of inspiration on this early morning, it is my duty to tell you that I had one of the best Sundays of 2009. The day went as follows:

8:30am - Alarm goes off and henceforth goes flying across the room as said alarm setter is upset he was awoken.
9am - I get ready for church and realize that jeans and tee won’t cut it, so I double back to my bedroom where among the battleground; I find a suitable outfit, (slacks, and a sweater).
10am - I am sitting alert in church when the 5 year old next to me takes his toy truck and uses my foot as a ramp. (Side note: I tried to make sound effects as the truck reached maximum altitude).
11am - Breakfast with the folks where I run into some friends from high school who tell me they have stomach aches that have nothing to do with the food they are eating, and that they had an “eventful night”. Leaving the table, I feel good about going to sleep at 10.
12pm - I go and hit some golf balls at the driving range. Thinking I am Tiger Woods before I hit my first ball, I soon am relegated to challenging the 6 year-old girl next to me to a longest driving contest, which I sooooo won!
2pm - I play some tennis with my roommates in 50 miles an hour wind. 10 balls over the fence later, we decide that we are in fact getting worse.
3pm - Feeling I did not get my full work out during tennis, I decide to run a few miles. The techno music is not enough to sustain the run, and by mile 2, I am clutching my side gasping for the seemingly non-existent air.
5pm - My nap is thwarted by phone calls and sunlight.
7pm - Ravioli Dinner. Need I say more?
9pm - My roommates and I start researching for spring break trips along the western coast of Mexico. After much deliberation, we come to the conclusion that we should start an illegal business to finance this trip, and leave the computer feeling tired and discouraged by our findings.
10pm - Lights out, and a smile of the day of bliss.

Friday, February 6th - Marty Lerner shares tell us her top ten reasons why she is excited today.

Hello Mystics Fans! I hope that you are well and enjoying this crazy weather we’ve been having. It was freezing cold yesterday but it’ll be in the 60’s tomorrow.

Let me tell you why I’m really excited today.

1. We hosted an event on February 5th with University of Maryland for National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This event showcased how far women have come in the 37 years since Title IX.
2. We’re about to announce an exciting partnership with an oil provider which includes a Student of the Week program where we will be honoring girls who are excelling in the fields of math and science.
3. We are starting to gain momentum for the Women2Women package. The program centers on using the Mystics to build your business. Call us today for more information.
4. We have a platform to meet anyone’s needs: Dads & Daughters, Go Green, Go Red for Women, High School Team of the Week, School Day and Mystics Rising Stars.
5. On January 22nd, President Obama passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act giving women like Ms. Ledbetter and other victims of pay discrimination the opportunity to effectively challenge unequal pay.
6. The energy from our new coaching staff is infectious and we WILL be better than last year.
7. February is American Heart Month. Come to Verizon Center TODAY for the Sister to Sister Women’s Heart Health Fair. It’s a free, informative and engaging event that features lifestyle presentations, cutting-edge information on medical issues of importance to women and their families, and complimentary heart-health screenings.
8. While we’ve been welcoming new members to the Mystics family, please know that we have not forgotten about our Founding Fans who have been there for our franchise since Day 1.
9. “A Powerful Noise” is coming to a theatre near you on March 5th. The documentary produced by Sheila Johnson will be shown followed by a webcast featuring celebrity panelists focused on the global issues facing women today.
10. SIXBURGH!

Have a great day and see you soon at a Mystics game!

Marty

Thursday, February 5th - Vanessa Nygaard checks in.

HI MYSTICS FANS!

It’s me, Vanessa Nygaard one of your new Assistant Coaches! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this great organization and am ready to do anything and everything I can to make the Mystics number one on and off the court!

Now, I am not afraid to tell you that I am a true West Coaster. I like flip flops, fish tacos, skateboarding, grande non-fat lattes, Yoga, Keith Olbermann, sushi, recycling, David Sadaris books, In-N-Out Burger, saying, “Awesome”, the Chargers, Brunch, “Aloha” Fridays, Piñatas, paddle tennis, Wavy Gravy, Facon, planting trees, hoodies for my dog, and high fives.

Did I mention that I am a Vegetarian...

Don’t worry; I know I am going to fit in great in DC. In fact I was just in town last week to get some work done and had a great time. It was a little cold for me but my Mom knit me a new scarf in Mystics colors so at least my neck was warm.

I got a chance to meet everyone in the front office. They were all very welcoming and helpful. GM Angela Taylor and Head Coach Julie Plank and I got a chance to take in several college games during my visit. We evaluated some great players that will go very high in the draft. I really enjoy going to new arenas and was very impressed with Maryland and Virginia. They both have an awesomely enthusiastic fan base and first class facilities.

The funniest thing that happened was when Coach Plank and I drove to Virginia for a game. Neither of us had ever been there so we just popped on the GPS and started out. The British lady in the navigator, I believe her name was Phyllis, seemed to know where she was going so we just followed her instructions and zoomed along chatting and eating Cheez-Its.

All of a sudden we were out in the middle of nowhere-Virginia. It was all rolling hills and farmhouses. Coach Plank turned to me and said, “Are we going the right way? It looks like we are heading to the pumpkin patch!”

This totally made me laugh as I noticed us rolling through a Civil War Battlefield complete with a line of Cannons. We did eventually arrive in Charlottesville, maybe a little tardy. But as I told Julie, I found the ride delightful. It was quite beautiful and I have always wondered where James Madison lived. Besides you should all see the pumpkin we got...

Till next time, GO MYSTICS!!!!

Wednesday, February 4th - Sheila Robinson recaps an exciting Super Bowl.

I’m back sports fans! Let’s talk Super Bowl XLIII...

I must say, this year’s Super Bowl was the best ever! Starting with Faith Hill, I enjoyed her rendition of, “America the Beautiful”. She has the voice of an angel. However, Jennifer Hudson moved me to tears when she sang the National Anthem. She looked great, but also looked as if she was telling herself, “you can do this”, and yes she did. I have not heard a voice so beautiful; not one note missed. I had chills. Jennifer sang from her soul and I believe everyone in the stadium felt something. I imagine that a few of the players needed a minute to gather their emotions when she was done. Now on to the game: I could not tear myself away from the TV. I have not watched a game in it’s entirety in a long time. Ok, maybe I wanted to see Coach Mike Tomlin, but I really did enjoy the game. The Steelers were awesome! And, “yes” I was rooting for the Steelers if you can’t tell. To be fair, I have to admit that the Cardinals looked great as well and they played like champions. They received a lot of flags (some not justified), but it did not stop them from pressing on. For a minute, I thought the Steelers were going to hand the championship to them. I guess the Steelers realized how close they were coming to losing and stepped up. What a finish! Who knew that a game would be won by the tips of ones toes?

Halftime was great! Bruce Springsteen did his thing. He is a crowd pleaser, a true entertainer and has been for a long time. I guess that’s why he is “The Boss”. Bruce is 60ish and still looks good, but it’s time to let the young Bruce go and stop wearing tight britches! When he did his trade mark slide across the stage, I was surprised that he still had the energy but even more surprised that he did not suffer a wardrobe mishap. I just knew a tear would follow the slide. I’m just saying, “Bruce you might want to consider going up one pants size to give you room to breathe”. Well, that’s my time. We will catch up this spring.

Sheila Rob

Tuesday, February 3rd - Angela Taylor recaps the week in sports.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Can you believe that it’s already the 3rd day of February? Wow, this year is already flying by. I guess that just means that we are creeping closer to March Madness and the WNBA season!

Well, last Friday started out pretty quiet and ended up on a high note when we acquired Lindsey Harding in a trade with the Minnesota Lynx. We were ecstatic when the deal was finalized and are excited to have the opportunity to bring Lindsey in to be part of our core nucleus for many years to come. I personally am excited about having the opportunity to continue to work with Lindsey for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, I think that she has the potential to be one of the best point guards in the league as she continues to develop and work on her game (which she is doing overseas in Turkey this off-season). Additionally, Lindsey is someone who illustrates what is great about the WNBA…the multi-dimensional aspect of our players. For example, she is very active in the community (working with organizations such as the Special Olympics since her days at Duke), which is a trait that I value tremendously.

Here’s a link to a YouTube video the WNBA posted last year during NBA All-Star in New Orleans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoPFzZOgn-s. Hopefully, this is an indication of how well she’ll be able to break the press this season since she only has to worry about dribbling one ball!

Less than 24 hours before we acquired Lindsey, thousands of friends and family members gathered to honor Coach Yow at her memorial service. I was unable to attend the service, but have heard that it was one of the most amazing services you could imagine from several of those who were fortunate enough to attend. Coach Yow not only left her imprint on many very fortunate young women who went through her program, but she also continued to bless many through the words she shared during her final goodbye last Thursday. Thank you for touching our lives Coach Yow!

Hopefully if you are reading this now, you were able to tune in last night for Coach Summitt’s first attempt at reaching 1,000 wins. The atmosphere was electric as she and Courtney Paris both tried to take their records even further out of reach of the people in 2nd place. Despite the final outcome, it was a wonderful night for women’s basketball.

While I was impressed that ESPN felt that this game was important enough to promote extensively over the last week and to place the legendary Brent Musberger and Bobby Knight on the game, I was somewhat disappointed that they felt that the best way to commemorate this game would be to bring in two individuals who haven’t called a women’s game recently (if ever).

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with how Bobby and Brent handled the game (and enjoyed Bobby’s appreciation of the women’s game), but I still thought that there are several women and men who have faithfully been calling women’s games over the years who deserved to have the opportunity to witness history from the courtside commentators booth more than Knight and Musberger.

In addition to the end to Courtney’s double-double streak and 1,000 victories being held at bay, it was also sad to see Vicki Baugh go out with what seemed like another serious injury to her knee. There are simply too many knee injuries in the women’s game and I hope that one day soon, we will have better research into how we could prevent these injuries.

I personally think that Coach Summitt will reach this amazing milestone on Thursday against Georgia and am glad we will be able to catch it on television as well. We all have simply been spoiled by Pat’s success over the years, but when I took a moment Monday night to think about 1,000 victories…I was astonished at what an accomplishment that will be. I mean…a thousand is a lot of anything, but ONE THOUSAND victories is just amazing!

For those of you who don’t know me very well yet, I am a huge football fan, so one would think that I would have been all over the Super Bowl this year. Unfortunately, the match-up didn’t really get me that fired up. Probably because both teams ended up beating my Cowboys with some late game heroics this year. Despite my ambiguous attitude going into Super Bowl Sunday, when I watched the feature on Larry Fitzgerald, I instantly became a big fan of his.

I was truly impressed that he could admit on camera that his biggest regret is that he didn’t resolve a disagreement with his mother before she passed away. It was touching how he looked right into the camera and didn’t hesitate to own up to it while talking about how much he wished she could see him play in the biggest game of his life. How could you not want someone like that to catch the game winning TD…and he almost did.

While I didn’t spend countless hours watching all of the pre-Super Bowl hype, I did spend countless hours this past week waking up at 3:30am to catch some great action in the Australian Open. Not only was it great to see Serena return to her dominance from a few years ago, but it was also nice to see the commitment Safina has made to elevate her game. But I have to say that the excellence that was displayed on the court during the match between Federer and Nadal was only surpassed by the graciousness displayed by these two future Hall of Famers during the awards ceremony. You have to love the emotion that Roger showed and the compassion that Nadal expressed. That’s what I love about sports. The raw emotion.

Well, if you haven’t already renewed your tickets or talked a friend (or two) into buying Mystics season tickets for 2009…now’s the time to do so. National Women and Girls in Sports Day is this Wednesday (February 4, 2009), so thanks to all of you for giving all of us the opportunity to follow our passion through sports. The future is possible because of your continued support!

Until next time…

Go Mystics,

Angela

P.S. Stay tuned for Vanessa’s Nygaard’s first blog. Hopefully it lives up to expectations. I anticipate that it will be quite entertaining!

Monday, February 2nd - Lauren Lafayette remembers unprecedented traffic during the Presidential Inauguration.

Good Morning Mystics Family!

It has been quite an exciting month in the DC area. Your wonderful district (I say your because I am a Detroiter for life!!!) had the privilege of hosting one of the most historical events to take place in United States history…the Inauguration of President Obama. While I have never taken a huge interest in politics, this entire experience for me has just has been surreal. Seeing people from all walks of life (celebrities, political/social figures, local residents, etc.) come together in below freezing weather on the National Mall to celebrate a new president over three days of diverse events was a beautiful sight to see.

However, the aftermath of the travelers leaving the District of Columbia was completely dreadful. Daily commutte around the Metro DC area is bad enough and with the addition of the Inauguration traffic, it was just too much to bear. For example, I spent an hour and a half in traffic only to advance five miles down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. This was just too much for me!!!

Tell me your inauguration stories and what you did to avoid the DC traffic…

Well, friends and family I will speak to you again at the beginning of the season. So as always be safe and see you behind the box office glass when the season starts!!!!

Lauren