March 2008

Monday, March 31 - Dana Simonelli shares the latest happenings in her world.

Hello Mystics Fans,

New Addition

Welcome to my second all-time blog entry. It has been quite entertaining to read the ramblings of my fellow co-workers. They have some good insights and fun stories to tell. With that I am going to dive right in and share some exciting news for my family which is that my sister is pregnant and will be having a baby boy. She is due at the end of July and I am super excited. She even recently asked me to be the child’s God mother which is always a nice honor. I accepted and of course I will look forward to the new found responsibility. Of course my entire family is really happy and excited. This will be my parent’s first grandchild, so I hope it will give them some new activities to engage in as well.

New Office

On the office front I happy that we will soon be making the move to the Verizon Center and settle in our new digs, except I am not sure how well the commute will go on 395N. I am anticipating it will take a least a ½ hour on the way in and God only knows how long on the way home. But nevertheless it will be nice to be in a brand new office space and close to the basketball environment. I am very thankful for Sheila Johnson’s contribution and support to make the new space happen. She is a very dedicated owner who really looks out for the betterment of the staff. I am also pleased to announce that we will have a new addition to the Ticket Sales staff with the hiring of Lauren Lafayette who will oversee ticket operations for the Mystics as our Ticket Operations Manager. Her first day will be Monday, April 7 and we look forward to her arrival.

New Brunch Spot

Going with the theme of “new”. I have been frequenting a special brunch spot in Shirlington called Busboys and Poets. Many of you have probably heard of the one on U Street in the District. The second one opened in downtown Shirlington months ago and I always heard about the brunch, but a month ago experienced it for the first time and I am hooked. You can usually find me there on a Sunday morning at the bar with an order of their egg wrap or French toast which are my picks. They also have bloody Marys served up the entire time, but I really do not care for that drink, but it looks interesting. I highly recommend checking out either location and a bonus is the free wi-fi!

Well thank you for reading my little corner of the world and I look forward to next time as we will be in our new offices and the season will be well underway. Remember to purchase your season tickets or at least come out for a couple games over the summer. It will be sure to please. Till next time!

Go Mystics!

Dana

Friday, March 28 - Check out Nikki Blue's "bucket list".

Recently I saw the movie “The Bucket List” here in Athens, Greece. For those of you that have never seen this wonderful movie, the term “Bucket List” is simply referring to a list of things to do or accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” After watching that movie I was inspired to create a little list of my own; not necessarily of things that I want to do before I “kick the bucket” but more so things I wanted to do before I turned 24 (March 29th)! I call it my “Before I turn 24 list”… creative huh?

My list included things like:

1. Travel to Venice, Italy and ride a gondola while sipping a Pepsi
2. Score 50 points in a Greek basketball game
3. Purchase an expensive wrist watch to wear while I travel so I won’t have to keep my cell phone turned on during flights
4. Learn how to play the piano
5. Be a part of something majestic (like in the movie)

My list seemed to be panning out perfectly! We had a week off from practice so I could possibly go to Italy and ride the gondola, we were playing the worst team in Greece so I was going to probably score 100 points and not just 50, I set aside a little money just so I could purchase my elegant watch, and I bought a portable keyboard that is perfect for people learning to play the piano. The fifth thing on my list posed as a mystery as to how I was going to accomplish it. In the movie, the majestic thing that they witnessed was the Himalayan Mountains, but I have no desire, time, or patience to travel and see them in my entire lifetime let alone before I turn 24. So instead I thought I could do something like give the gypsies that beg for money; that I am always running from and ignoring, a 50 euro bill and witness the joy in their eyes. Or maybe I could feed one of the thousand hungry stray dogs around here a meat patty and watch them silently devour it as if saying “Thank You” to me. Whatever it would be, I was sure it would complete my “Before I turn 24 list.”

Then of course the fate set in. I couldn’t get a flight out of Athens to Italy during my week off, not to mention I gave up drinking soda a few days prior so the gondola idea was out. Then my coach only played me a total of about 10-15minutes in the entire game against the worst Greek team, thus resulting in me only scoring six points. Next the entire city of Athens went on strike for about two days, and all the shops and stores were closed including the exact place in which I planned on buying my wrist watch. Then after about two days of two-hour lessons (taught to me, by me of course) I gave up my aspirations to becoming the next Alicia Keys. Learning to play the piano by ear is nearly impossible, and anyone who has done it I commend you… you are better than me! Finally, on the side of the roads there weren’t any gypsies in sight and I changed my mind about feeding a stray dog when one approached me foaming at the mouth. So bad news after bad news kept coming, and my birthday was finally in a week’s time. My “Before I turn 24” list seemed unfeasible. That is, until the most majestic, wonderful, self gratifying thing happened to me… my mother came to visit me in Athens! You might say, “Well how is that so ‘majestic’?” But if you could have seen my mother’s face on top of the ancient ruins of the Acropolis looking over the entire city of Athens. The joy, the relief and the excitement in her eyes is what brought me the most majestic feeling of gratification that I have ever felt. I was an essential part of this great feeling that my mother was encompassing. She would have never experienced that wonderful moment had I not introduced her to it. It was an amazing feeling to know that I had brought my mom all the way from our small town of Bakersfield to the historical city of Athens, Greece. I then realized that this is what it was all about! That 5th item on my “before I turn 24” list was far more rewarding than any other item on my selfish list! Sharing the journeys that we go through in life with people we love is far more important than the physical things that we wish for everyday. I hope my list will inspire someone to set aside their individual desires for physical things, and replace them with desires to bring joy to another’s life. Everything happens for a reason…believe me!

Nikki Blue

Thursday, March 27 - Greg Bibb checks in.

We are just 13 days away from the 2008 WNBA Draft. The Mystics currently hold the sixth pick in the selection process and we are poised to take a player who will help us improve our team. Here are some other thoughts on my mind this 27th day of March, 2008

Draft Party

Speaking of the draft, the Mystics will once again host our annual WNBA Draft Party. This season’s festivities will be held at The Green Turtle Sports Bar and Grille, located at Verizon Center in downtown Washington. The event runs from 12 noon to 3pm and will include a discussion with the Mystics general manager Linda Hargrove, head coach Tree Rollins, and the rest of the coaching staff. We hope to see you there.

MystiKids

I’m happy to report the Mystics have launched a brand new kids club, the MystiKids. Children who enroll will receive a ticket voucher to a pair of 2008 Mystics games, an exclusive autograph session with the team, a picture with the team mascot, a monthly newsletter, and more. For more information, or to register, visit WashingtonMystics.com.

New Crib Update

No, I’m not talking about Adelyn’s sleeping arrangements … the construction of the Mystics office space in Verizon Center is moving forward ahead of schedule. Finishing touches are being completed to the build-out and furniture will start to arrive in the next two weeks. We should be in our new home starting April 15. See you there!

In Search of the Cherry Blossom

On Saturday, Tara, Adelyn and I joined a few friends for a walking tour of Washington. We had hoped to catch the cherry blossoms blooming. Unfortunately, we were probably about a week early. We were lucky enough to see a few, but we certainly were witness to many more trees which looked poised to bloom in the next week or so. We had to do our little tour early because we’re moving next weekend (more on that later). Nonetheless, it was a nice Saturday afternoon walk around our nation’s capital.

Surviving the Single Life

Wow, how things change. It was not that long ago (a few years to be exact) I was living the single, bachelor lifestyle; however, last week I realized I have become absolutely accustomed to, and spoiled by, the married life. Having Tara and Adelyn out of town for a few days sure was a bummer. Two of my favorite ladies were back in Michigan packing our house for our permanent move to Arlington. It’s sure good to have them back. Life is lonely, even for just a few days, without them.

Nice Job Marist!

The Marist Lady Red Foxes ended their 2007-08 season with a loss to LSU in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Monday. Marist advanced to meet the Lady Tigers by beating DePaul in the opening round on Saturday. The Lady Red Foxes ended the season with a 32-3 record. Congrats to the team on a fantastic season.

Website of the Week

If you struggle to remember birthdays, anniversaries, or other special days, then I have the site for you … Birthday-Reminders.com. Here you can register all of your important dates and then receive electronic reminders to make sure you are always known as “the thoughtful one.” You can even have the reminders sent to your cell phone. By the way, my birthday is October 31.

Quote of the Week

“It is better to crawl in the right direction than run in the wrong.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Alex Ovechkin…61 goals (and counting)…amazing.

• Here’s your Utah Jazz update as of Wednesday: 47-25, fourth in the Western Conference.

• Last week I mentioned my two sleeper teams for the NCAA men’s tournament…Butler and Davidson. Butler lost a hard-fought second round game to the Tennessee Volunteers; however, Davidson came through with a big upset of Georgetown. As I mentioned before, I like Davidson to beat Wisconsin and advance to the round of eight.

• I cannot believe April arrives on Tuesday…remember to be wary on April Fool’s Day.

• Training camp opens in 24 days…do you BELIEVE?

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 26 - Sheila Robinson shares her 'Bucket List' with us.

Hi All, I am back. I was not sure what I wanted to talk about today, then I remembered the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, the Bucket List. I decided there are things I would like to do in the years to come.

So here is my Bucket List in no specific order:

Sheila Rob’s Bucket List:

(1) Own a house with a big back yard: My son Spencer would love that
(2) Buy my dream car, convertible Mercedes in Red
(3) Have all my nieces, great nieces and nephews visit at the same time: What a blast that will be.
(4) Own my own business: I love event planning and my favorite event to plan is weddings. I would love to own a wedding favors shop offering unique gift ideas.
(5) Spend more time with my son.. The young years are so important and with puberty lurking, I don’t have much time before he kicks me to the curve.
(6) Conquer my fear of heights: not sure how I will accomplish this. Suggestions are appreciated.
(7) Go back to Disney world, but with my son and husband.
(8) Be in the audience when Oprah does her favorite holiday things
(9) Make a difference in the world: I believe in giving back, no matter how big or small
(10) Write an autobiography

Thank you for letting me share a small part of my life with you once again!

Believe it and you will achieve it.

Tuesday, March 25 - Linda Hargrove checks in.

Hey All ...

Well, I made it to DC after over 1,350 miles of bonding time with my husband, Ed. He is really a trooper. He has been having a lot of hip trouble and getting in and out of my little car was not always easy for him to do. He drove the whole way and after a rough start the first day, 15 hours on the road with two major stops to have a leaky tire fixed, the second day was just a very enjoyable 10 hours driving across Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia. I love the hills, trees and blooming flowers. We live in such a beautiful country and I think this trip just reinforced many of those feelings. I will say, however, that some of the best roads that we traveled were right here in good ole Kansas. The pot holes we encountered in some other states were really unacceptable.

On Friday night we needed to find somewhere to watch the Kansas State/USC game so we walked over to Bar Louie. It was packed and guess what? Ed and I were both carded before they would let us in. I have one question, is there some other reason than age that you would be carded? I know that Ed's grey hair and my wrinkles were a sure giveaway, so what gives? Michael Beasley was great in the second half and the Wildcats took care of USC. The magic ran out though in the second round. But I have a feeling I will have the chance to watch Beasley play for many years in the NBA.

The new office space for the Mystics is really taking shape. It will be so awesome to have our own space. I have been a part of the Mystics organization now for six years and sharing space with the Wizards and the Capitals has enabled me to meet some really great people. But to now have the chance to feature our great organization on our own is really special. I can't wait for you to see what I'm talking about when we have our house (office) warming party. Kudos to Greg Bibb for overseeing the project. It looks great.

The games have been great. I loved watching Coppin State play so well against Maryland. Rashida Suber and Shalamar Oakley just flat out played against one of the best in the tournament. They showed so much desire as they put their team on their backs and pushed Maryland all they could. Rutgers had to get balanced production from everyone to knock out Iowa State last night. It was good to see George Washington advance once again to the Sweet 16. I think California was just shocked down the stretch. The Cinderella story with UTEP has finally ended but Keitha Adams, a local small town Kansas product, has put together a program to be proud of and one that has an international roster not seen on most teams. And how about Greg's Red Foxes finishing on a 32-2 run to beat Notre Dame in the first round.

Don't you just love this time of year?

A couple of the Maryland/Mystics fans told me that they thought that some of the fans felt that I was a bit depressed after reading my last blog. Let me assure you that I am anything but depressed. I feel that we are on a great path to put together a team that you will be very proud of. Not everything works out like you hope but you just keep working hard every day and try to do the right thing for your players and things will be good. We have some wonderful women in our franchise, a committed staff, passionate owner and some of the best fans in the WNBA. I look forward to starting each day and work hard to put together the best team we can.

The coaches and I will be moving back to DC for good beginning on April 1st. It will be good to get everyone together and feed off each others energy. The pre-draft camp is just around the corner and then the draft will be here, training camp, preseason games and then the start of the 2008 season. WOW.

See you in a gym.

Linda

Monday, March 24 - Sarah Novak shares her belief in the Washington Mystics.

The things that I am passionate about have always been near and dear to my heart. A few things: finding a cure for cancer, my family, shopping and of course the Washington Mystics. However my passion can be a very strong emotion, I give my all and believe that anyone that I come in contact should have the same passion and the same enthusiasm as I exhibit. I BELIEVE in the Mystics! I believe that what we offer on and off the court is nothing but first class. The packages that we have to offer to our season ticket holders and also future season ticket holders is nothing but a great deal and a great time. We have a few different options that we are offering for this upcoming season. Whether you are a season ticket holder looking to gain exclusive perks with our Dish & Swish program or a corporation looking for excitement to entertain your clients, the Mystics can cater any package to your needs. Our entertainment (Small) Business package is grouped with VIP tickets which allow you to gain access to the exclusive Johnny Walkers Coach’s Club, a Suite night to entertain your high dollar clients and also a concourse table on the main level of the Verizon Center. I believe that this package is great for any business whether you are the smallest of companies or the largest. It is all about entertaining and also rewarding your employees for a job well done. You can do this all for a fraction of what it would cost you to purchases two courtside seats at a Wizards game or less than leftfield baseline tickets at the new Nats stadium. I BELIEVE in the Mystics and our organization’s ability to offer our fans nothing but great packages and also great entertainment.

On a more personal note…… As you know from my last blog I moved. Needless to say the Burrow, from which it has been nicknamed, is completely broken in and feels like home. We christened the house this past weekend to Celebrate St. Patty’s day. It was a great time kicking everything off with tapping the green kegs at noon! I can tell you that green beer and Pink UGGS do not mix. However I did spill a bit more resulting in little green splotches throughout my pink UGGS. Other than the little green splotches the party went off without a hitch and everyone had a great time!

Friday, March 21 - Mikhail Ovechkin tells us about his recent trip to Russia.

While it is always good to go home, traveling to Russia, especially during winter months, has its pitfalls. With an eight hour time difference between DC and Moscow, I suffered with severe jetlag for the first two weeks of a three week stay. Traffic in Moscow was brutal, which is usual. I thought I was going to spend my entire first day trying to get from the airport to home. The weather was unpleasant: murky, cloudy, raining or snowing every day. On the positive side, I was able to watch several basketball games while I was there; some more interesting than others. I watched UMMC beat CSKA 81-74 and 94-90 to advance to the final four of the Euroleague. I also watched Spartak crush my home club, Dynamo Moscow, 98-58 and 96-57. Consequently, Dynamo was eliminated and Spartak advanced to the final four along with UMMC. The two Russian teams will compete for the Euroleague Championship along with Bourges (France) and Brno (Czech Republic). The final four will be held April 11th-13th. FIBA announced that Gambrinus Brno will play host to the event. Additionally, the Euroleague Women's All-Star Game was in Russia. Team Europe was victorious over the Rest of The World team by a score of 111-86. Spain's Amaya Valdemoro posted 25 points and was selected as the MVP. New Russian citizen Becky Hammon totaled 17 points for Team Europe.

Thursday, March 20 - Greg Bibb shares the many events that occurred since he checked in last week.

Spring begins today, the cherry blossoms are blooming here in Washington, and March Madness is underway…what a great time of year! Here’s what’s on my mind this 20th day of March, 2008.

Welcome Amber

Last week, we made a contract offer to restricted free agent guard Amber Jacobs of the Minnesota Lynx. Minnesota chose not to match the offer, therefore Amber is now a member of our family. A Boston College graduate, Amber will bring experience to our backcourt and we are excited to have her arrive in the District. A third round pick in the 2004 draft, she has averaged just under five points and two assists per game during her four-year career.

Breakfast at Tiffany

On Thursday of last week, the Mystics participated in an event hosted by the women’s business networking society, Uptown Scoop. This posh awards breakfast brought over 100 area women business leaders together at the Chevy Chase Tiffany & Co. for a morning of food, fun, and networking. Sheila Johnson provided the keynote speech and Mystics Director of Corporate Partnerships, Marty Lerner, also spoke. This was a great event to meet so many strong and successful women business leaders.

Kegs and Eggs

The next morning I had the opportunity to participate in a slightly different type of event as our friends on the DC 101 FM Elliot in the Morning Show invited me to their annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Kegs and Eggs. Needless to say, this was quite a unique experience. I arrived to the host facility, the Clarendon Ballroom, around 10am and it was clear the party had been underway for a few hours. Everyone was having a good time and I enjoyed spending a few minutes talking to Elliot on the air about the lesson his crew is going to receive during our April 24 basketball game. As always, the folks at DC 101 were great sports and the event was a blast!

Thanks Shirley!

On Saturday night, we welcomed Mystics season ticket holder Shirley Knight and 30 or so of her closest friends to the Wizards game for a season ticket holder influencer event. A good time was had by all, and most importantly, the Mystics season ticket base grew again. A big thank you to Shirley for organizing the group and helping bring prospective fans to the game.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

On Sunday Adelyn, Tara, and I headed to Constitution Ave. in downtown D.C. to watch the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Tara’s youngest brother, Connor, marched with his school, Randolph-Macon Academy. We were joined by Tara’s dad, stepmother and sister. Despite slightly chilly temperatures, we all had fun. Adelyn enjoyed the early part of the parade, but decided to snooze through most of the second half.

Lucky Seven

The NCAA women’s basketball tournament selection committee awarded Marist’s fine season with a seven seed. The Red Foxes will face tenth seeded DePaul in the opening round in Baton Rouge, LA. A win there would likely create a showdown with powerful LSU in the Tigers backyard…it should be an interesting weekend.

Just Me and the Easter Bunny

The family is once again getting ready to move. This time from our temporary apartment in Pentagon City to a condo in Rosslyn. Unfortunately, this means Tara and Adelyn are heading back to Michigan to meet the movers on Sunday. Thus, I will be without two of my favorite ladies on Easter. As a result, I’m considering a quick trip back to PA to see mom, dad, and the rest of the Bibb family.

Website of the Week

Looking for advice on an everyday task? Need a tip on something? Visit www.daytipper.com. Here individuals post tips and how to do’s on anything and everything imaginable. Recent examples range from how to save money on laser jet toner to how to know if you should stay in a relationship. If you are in need of help, take a look…chances are you will find the answer. If you have some good info to share, post it…someone will benefit. Check it out.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t let your successes go to your head and don’t take your failures to heart.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Congrats to the Maryland Lady Terps who grabbed a one-seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Fear the Turtle.

• Here’s your Utah Jazz update as of Wednesday: 45-24, fourth in the Western Conference.

• I like the UNC Tar Heels to win the NCAA men’s championship; however, I have two sleepers…Butler and Davidson advancing at least to the elite eight.

• Candace Parker is the women’s college game’s player of the year, but every time I see Candice Wiggins I am more and more impressed with the Stanford standout.

• Training camp opens in 31 days…do you BELIEVE?

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 19 - Meet the Mystics’ newest member: Director of Corporate Partnerships, Marty Lerner.

Hi --- It’s Marty. I just joined the Mystics as Director of Corporate Partnerships. I will admit that I am a blog virgin. It has been a crazy few weeks in my world as I try to learn many new things --- office, co-workers, and apartment. You name it; it’s all new to me. So I just moved here from St. Louis, MO. Well, I actually lived in NOVA several moons ago, but that’ll be in another blog. My husband, Al, and daughter, Alexa, will be joining me in June after our season starts. Thank goodness for whoever invented the webcam, it has been a godsend to connect to my family.

Top 3 Things I’ll Miss about St. Louis:

1. Hodak’s (best fried chicken in the Midwest)

2. Seeing fans bleed Cardinals Red

3. Little to NO traffic

Top 3 Things I Love about DC:

1. Variety of places to eat (even after midnight)

2. Energy/vibe of the city

3. Seeing the monuments set against the Cherry Blossoms

Also, I’m proud to say that Alexa will be “Star of the Week” at her pre-school. As the “star” she gets to tell everyone about her family and favorite things. She also gets to choose the “Movie of the Week”. Congratulations Alexa!

I have to tell you that I’m quite impressed with the Mystics. I went to an event the other night and we had our owner, Sheila Johnson, and Head Coach Tree Rollins speak to season ticket holders. Dr. Johnson was also in the suite talking to our partners for over two hours. Where else do you get that access? Only at the Mystics.

Did I tell you how welcoming the staff is? We have a passionate group that is dedicated to women’s basketball. I tip my hat to them.

Until next time ...

Tuesday, March 18 - Linda Hargrove checks in.

Hey All...

Well the bracket is done. It seems just a few weeks ago that the college season started and while teams personnel look a lot different, injuries have really taken a toll this season, some teams just keep on clicking. I guess it really helps when you have a Maya Moore and Tina Charles on your team. I'm really happy that Maryland got a #1 seed. They deserved it and now just need to go out and play. They have as much talent and depth as any team in the tournament and I have liked their chances to reach the Final Four from the beginning of the season. Good luck and let the games begin.

We have made a lot of personnel changes over the past few years in an attempt to put together a group that can contend for a Division and ultimately WNBA championship. Over the past three years we have added veterans Nikki Teasley, Charlotte Smith, Crystal Robinson, Delisha Milton-Jones, Latasha Byears, Monique Currie and Stacey Lovelace to our young draft picks. Tweaking the roster each year to try to get the chemistry right, a balance with the depth and overall a combination that can win consistently has been a challenge. Over the past four years we have finished right around .500 and made the play-offs every other year. Trying to move up to the next level where we are in the play-offs each year and vying for a title is our goal and we work really hard in the off season to put the pieces together to reach this goal. Last year we beat the eventual champ, Phoenix, each time we played them but couldn't advance to the play-offs after losing out in the tie breaker. We have been reluctant to make wholesale changes but maybe it is time to shake up the roster.

The part of the game that we never have complete control over is injuries. We currently have three players coming off major surgery. Alana is now in Poland, playing and working hard to get herself ready for the start of the Mystics season, and our two rookies from last year, Gillian Goring and Bernice Mosby, are now in DC working with our trainer each day to try to be ready for the season. We have very high expectations for both BMo and GG but these injuries have slowed down their development and experience. I hope they can make a complete recovery and be able to contribute more in 2008.

Tomorrow my husband, Ed, and I will begin the long drive from Wichita to DC. We have never driven this before and I'm sure it will be a challenge. The biggest problem is trying to figure out when to stop to try to watch the games that we are interested in. Will Kansas be playing on television if we are in Kentucky? What about Kansas State? You know I love Michael Beasley and really want to see him perform on the big stage. I guess we just try to find a sports bar and hope for the best. I'm also a little nervous about whether or not I will get good phone reception. My phone is like another extremity this time of the year. Oh, well.

See you in a gym,

Linda

Monday, March 17 - Nicole Jones shares her thoughts on Y-ME and breast cancer.

Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society, three out of every four American families will have at least one family member diagnosed with breast cancer? That’s a 75% chance that it will affect you. Think about it, we all have a connection to a woman. Your mother, your sister, your daughter, your aunt, your cousin, your wife, your girlfriend – all women. What do you do when it happens to you and your family?

Personally, several questions ran through my mind when my family essentially became a statistic. What goes through your mind when you first felt that lump? What do you say when you’re told that a loved one has been diagnosed? How do you cope with the wait time after the biopsy? How do you deal with the stress associated with being the caregiver? These are just a few examples.

Luckily there are several organizations that have taken on the call to serve as a resource for those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones. The Y-Me Breast Cancer Organization is one such organization. Y-ME is a breast cancer organization that provides programs and services free of charge to anyone touched by Breast Cancer. Y-ME was founded over a kitchen table in 1978 by the late Ann Marcou and Mimi Kaplan, two breast cancer patients who sought to provide support for fellow breast cancer patients and their loved ones. The organization has transformed into a national organization that helped revolutionize the way breast cancer patients access information and make decisions about their healthcare. Nearly 30 years later, Y-ME is a premier resource for breast cancer information and services, all provided completely free of charge.

There are too many people who think that dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis is something that can never happen to them. But then it does. Why not get in front of it and be an active participant so that you have an outlet for support and information when (and if) it ever strikes your circle? Everyone has the power to be proactive. Whether it is volunteering, donating, or advocating – there is a place for you.

In an effort to support the fight against breast cancer, the Mystics have teamed up with Y-Me this year. We will take part in their annual Walk to Empower. The Walk to Empower is a 3-mile non-competitive walk with over 3,000 participants and is scheduled for Sunday, May 11th at 9:00 a.m. on the National Mall. We are dedicated to help Y-Me raise $5,000 by offering a special Y-ME package. Fans purchasing the package will join the Mystics walking team. They will also receive a t-shirt, a ticket for both the team's Breast Health Awareness game on July 13th and the post-game reception. The Y-ME package can be purchased by calling 1-877-DC-HOOP1or by clicking here. I’ll be there, will you?

Friday, March 14 - Team attendant Tim Heidenberg talks about his love for the Mystics.

In 2008 I will start my tenth year as a team attendant/ball boy for the Washington Mystics. My first year was in 1998 when we won three games and I’ve worked each year since. My game day duties start about three hours before tip-off and include organizing the Mystics locker room, assisting the trainer and handling any and all pre-game player requests. Requests on a nightly basis could include anything from getting a player a new pair of socks, helping them warm up with shooting drills or running to their car and grabbing their basketball shoes.

During the games I work on the bench with the players, coaches and the training staff, handing out towels, picking up jerseys and shouting encouragement to the players. Although this has never happened, I have had the urge on many occasions to ask the referee, “ what play were you watching?” After the game, my duties include cleaning up the bench area and locker room.

In addition to my job with the Mystics, I’ve been a financial planner for the last 11 years and a team attendant with the Washington Wizards for the last 20 years. Although I’m getting a little older and people tend to give me funny looks, nothing can take away the love I have for basketball, the Washington Mystics front office and the players. This has been a dream job and I hope I never wake up!!

Thursday, March 13 - Greg Bibb shares first words.

It’s 7pm on Wednesday night as I write this blog and there is still light in the sky…I love daylight savings time! Here’s what’s on my mind this 13th day of March, 2008.

Thanks CareFirst and DCYAC

On Sunday I joined Mystics Director of Community Relations Nicole Boden and our mascot, PAX, at the District of Columbia Youth Advisory Council (DCYAC) Sneaker Roundtable/Reception. This event, hosted by the YMCA National Capital, welcomed youth leaders from across the country to the District for a fun night of activities, education and networking. Many of the youth leaders in attendance were in town for the National League of Cities Congressional City Conference.

We had a great time and I personally wanted to thank our partners at CareFirst Blue Cross/Blue Shield who purchased a block of Mystics tickets to be distributed to this important group of tomorrow’s leaders. A special thanks to Janice Ferebee, the Director of DCYAC, for the invite to participate.

Wizards Event #1

Tuesday night I had the pleasure of joining Sheila Johnson and Mystics head coach Tree Rollins in speaking to a group of Mystics fans prior to the Wizards-Milwaukee Bucks game. We had a great time talking to such a devoted group of fans, who I look forward to seeing at Verizon Center during the upcoming season.

Wizards Event #2

Later in the night, Sheila, Tree and I joined Mystics Director of Communications Ketsia Colimon at a gathering for local media. Once again, a good time was had by all. I also benefited from the event by having the opportunity to meet so many media members at one time. Thanks to all those who attended.

Another Conference Championship

My favorite collegiate basketball team, the Lady Red Foxes of Marist College, completed their mission on Sunday by capturing another MAAC Championship. This was the third consecutive tournament championship for Marist as the Red Foxes will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 31-2 overall record. It will be very interesting to see where the selection committee seeds this now dominant mid-major.

Mystics MVP Update

Our dynamic volunteer sales staff continues to produce. To date this 24-person dynamo has produced 65 tickets. Congrats and thanks!

Music to Our Ears

Adelyn surprised us over the weekend by muttering her first sounds beyond screams and shrills. To my delight, it was “dadadadad.” Of course, she really doesn’t know what she is saying, nor can she deliver this sound upon command or when spotting me. Nonetheless, it was a great moment for us and another sign that our little girl is growing up, and quick!

Website of the Week

Do you like sweet treats? Do you have a special place in your heart and belly for cupcakes? If you answered yes to either of these questions check out this fun blog: cupcakestakethecake.blogspot.com. Here you can find practically anything and everything you could possibly ever need to know about one of life’s best little treats. Included on the site is a great city-by-city directory of where you can find the best cupcakes in towns across the United States.

Quote of the Week

“You get credit for what you finish, not what you start.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• It was a shocker to me to see Maryland lose to Duke in the ACC Women’s basketball semifinals last week. More proof it is really hard to beat the same team three times in the same season. The Terps, however, remain my pick to cut down the nets in early April.

• Here’s your Utah Jazz update as of Wednesday: 42-23, fourth in the Western Conference.

• The Caps playoff prospects took a hit after two tough losses over the weekend, but I still like the team to figure out a way into the post-season. The home team has what you need…talent and great coaching.

• So, do you think UNC owns Tobacco Road this year or what? The Tar Heel men beat Duke on Saturday night for the ACC regular season title and then the Tar Heel ladies down the Blue Devils on Sunday for the ACC tournament championship. Tough weekend for the Dukies indeed.

• Training camp opens in 38 days…do you BELIEVE?

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 12 - Rebecca Hunt shares her excitement for March Madness and the upcoming Mystics season.

Hi Mystics fans!!

We are starting to get into tournament time for college basketball, March Madness is upon us! I know our coaches and GM are doing some serious scouting and that means the WNBA draft and 2008 season is right around the corner. While the Mystics staff is hard at work and busy preparing for the season we know we cannot have a successful year without the help from some of our partners. SO as a "thank-you/get excited" event we hosted some of our corporate sponsors and media partners at the Wizards game last night. Head Coach, Tree Rollins and Managing Partner, Sheila Johnson did a great job of answering questions and talking about preparations for the upcoming season. Some new corporate sponsors attended such as Under Armour and Chevy Chase Bank, as well as some returning sponsors, Amtrak and Austin Grill. Under Armour will be the presenting sponsor of the block party and Mystics Mayhem this year. Chevy Chase will be sponsoring the Hometown Hero award (more details to come!); we are always excited to have new faces on board. Amtrak sponsors team travel to New York as well as the Mystics fan trip. Austin Grill provides yummy press room food on game days and we all know the media writes more stories about the Mystics after they have been fed. Speaking of media, Elliot and Tyler form DC 101.1 were there and already talking smack about the banners that will be hung from the rafters of the Verizon Center after they defeat the Mystics...yeah right. Oscar Dixon, formerly with USAToday, now with AP, John Taylor from the Washington Times and Stan Saunders of Baltimore's WJZTV, were a few of the folks representing the media.

Thanks again to all the Mystics fans and partners that help make our team a success. In the meantime be sure to catch all the college hoops action, I am predicting the Lady Vols to go all the way and Candace Parker to win Player of the Year. Yes, I am a Tennessee fan.

BELIEVE

Tuesday, March 11 - Linda Hargrove shares her travel woes.

Hey All ...

Travel can be such a pain. On three separate occasions in the past few months I have been on Delta when flights were either cancelled or delayed for whatever reason and I had to spend the night. I got stuck in Greensboro and couldn't get into Hartford in time for the games on Sunday. My flight on Saturday evening was cancelled so I was rebooked for Sunday morning. I got to the airport at 4:30am on Sunday morning only to have the 6:00 a.m. flight delayed to 9:30 a.m., the pilots needed their sleep, and then the flight from Cincinnati was delayed for another three hours and I ended up just coming back to Wichita. The frustrating part was watching my colleagues on other airlines jump on their flights and get there with no problems. Delta wouldn't move me to the other airlines as they were all booked. What a mess. The good part was that I got to catch up with Marynell Meadors, new Atlanta Dream coach, who was at the same hotel Saturday night. I'm really going to miss working with her but expect her to do a really good job with Atlanta.

I saw some great performances on Friday at the ACC tournament. Larkins, Pringle, Langhorne and Harper all looked like legitimate first round picks. I have to say that the ACC really knows how to put on a great tournament. The stands were full for just about every session and the half time entertainment was just that, entertaining. I didn't see Maryland get beat on Saturday, as I was at the airport, but I sure wouldn't write them off anytime soon. It is tough beating a team three times and Duke really put it together for this game. I still like Maryland's chances of making the Final Four.

The Rebounder's, a booster club for Maryland, invited me to one of their get together after they beat Boston College on Friday night. It was great meeting some very passionate people for the Terrapins and having the opportunity to talk about the Mystics, the draft and women's basketball. Some members of this group are very passionate about the Mystics and have been very helpful in making sure we are very aware of the Maryland players in the draft. We have been watching now for four years and believe me when I say "WE LIKE THEM", but we will just have to see how everything falls on April 9th. It will be here before we know it.

I will be at the Comcast Center for the games on March 23rd after a long road trip from Wichita, KS to Washington, DC. This will be a two-day drive and the hard part is going to be working the games I need to see on Television into the schedule. Once the bracket is announced Sunday things will become more clear.

This is really a crazy time for me. Getting ready for the draft, finalizing any moves that we may make, bringing players to DC early to work with our trainer, getting contracts signed, finalizing team travel and getting our staff all in place is pretty hectic. I know things will begin to fall in place soon but the uncertainty has been a bit trying. The next couple of weeks should be a lot of fun.

See you in a gym,

Linda

Monday, March 10 - Crystal Hudson talks about her weekend in Atlanta.

Happy Monday! I know it doesn't have quite the same effect as the "Happy Friday!" greeting, but I'll say this much: I'd rather have a happy Monday than one spent moping around, dreading the next nine hours of my day.

For some reason, however, Mondays always seem to come the quickest; just when you're getting settled into your weekend routine, it's Sunday night and you're preparing for the week ahead. Traveling also seems to shorten your weekends, especially if half of your time is spent waiting around in the airport.

That's precisely how I spent my weekend - waiting around in the airport all afternoon on Friday and then again on Sunday. I went to Atlanta this weekend, traveling for work. I went to the Hawks vs. Heat game on Saturday night and had the privilege of meeting up with some game operations folks from both the Hawks and the WNBA's newest addition, the Atlanta Dream. I was given a wonderful tour of Philips arena, met many of the Hawks game presentation staff (which included some quality, one-on-one time with the Hawks in-arena host, Mike King), and enjoyed watching the Hawks get two wins in one night with my counterpart from the Dream, Sarah Davis, and their CR Manager, Tameka Garrett. A big THANKS to everyone - especially Matt Payne, who arranged the behind-the-scenes tour on a game night that was way more hectic than usual (considering the unique opportunity given to Miami to replay the last 51.9 seconds of the December 19th game against Atlanta) - for their southern hospitality.

I'm not sure about everyone else, but I always use traveling as another opportunity to try some great restaurants outside of my usual stomping grounds. For anyone with travel plans to visit Atlanta, you must check out these two breakfast/brunch spots: 1) Thumbs Up, which unfortunately, I didn¡¦t discover until I was almost out of college, but it still remains one of my favorite Saturday/Sunday morning dining experiences; and 2) Social House is the newest addition to Lorenzo Wyche Restaurants, who brought Rare and Harlem Bar to Atlanta.

In addition to good food, I was also able to make a quick trip over to my alma mater, Spelman College. During my brief visit, I witnessed some of the major construction the campus is currently undergoing. Although growth is not always well-received, I'm proud to announce that when all is said and done, Spelman will be home to the first green residence hall of the 21st century, and "will be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, making it the first of its kind at a Historically Black College or University, as well as the first in the state of Georgia."

I'm glad to know that my Spelman sisters are leading the way in green living!

Friday, March 7 - Tamara James checks in from Turkey.

Hello everyone. Sooo it has been 5 months and I'm still not use to the way of living over here in Turkey. The driving is horrible. They honk their horns before the light even turns green. For some reason, everyone is always in a rush. Oh yeah, and the way they stare at the americans like we're 3 legged animals makes me mad. U would think I would've adapted to this by now, but I haven't. They follow us around the malls and grocery stores like they've never seen one of us before. I kno they have television. My favorite thing to do is to pose like a statue while they sneak and take pictures since they stare so much.

My teammates say that I embarrass them, but oh well.

On the flip side, the city where I live, Mersin, is beautiful. It's a really laid back city. I live on the beach, but I never go to the water. I'm afraid of the sea water. Isn't that a shame? I do shop, online.

Turkey doesn't have the type of clothes and shoes that a "diva" like myself would wear. Me and my teammates go out and have a good time and dance with the turkish men. Turkish men are...interesting to say the least. I won't elaborate, but hey, they love me over here. My family is coming to visit at the end of the month so I am really excited. I do miss the mystics, and America, and I can't wait to come back and get started on another season. Another thing that I miss, BACON. I can't wait to get back and eat bacon EVERYDAY. Matter of fact, can someone send me a pig?!?!

~Tamara~

Thursday, March 6 - Greg Bibb raves about the Red Foxes.

Happy March! Just three days to the start of daylight savings time and 14 days until the beginning of spring! Here’s what’s on my mind this sixth day of March, 2008.

Koehn Returns

The Mystics announced on Monday the team has re-signed guard Laurie Koehn. One of the League’s best shooters, Laurie will provide added depth to our roster and a much-needed offensive spark off our bench. She joins Alana Beard and Nakia Sanford as recent team signees and continues our recent run of success in re-signing key personnel.

Feedback Welcome

Last week I designated Unclutterer.com as my weekly website of the week. To my pleasant surprise, I received an email from an unclutterer.com staffer on Friday thanking me for the props. I appreciate the feedback…it’s nice to know someone out there is reading!

Air and Space

On Saturday Tara, Addy and I visited my favorite Smithsonian stop…The National Air and Space Museum. I must have been to this awesome facility at least a dozen times as a child, but have not returned in almost 20 years. It was great seeing all of the old favorites, plus a host of new exhibits. While Adelyn is still a bit young to truly appreciate the museum, she did enjoy looking at all of the big objects hanging from the ceiling!

Red Foxes Roll

If you read this blog on even a semi-regular basis, you know I’m a big homer when it comes to my alma mater, Marist College. I’ve been using this space to talk about the women’s basketball team all season and now I have even more to say…the Lady Red Foxes completed their regular season last week with a 28-2 overall record while becoming the first team to achieve an undefeated Metro Area Athletic Conference (MAAC) slate since 1994. Marist went 18-0 in MAAC play and is ranked 24th in the latest AP poll. Next up is the MAAC tournament and a trip to the NCAA tourney. Go Red Foxes!

Congrats Caps!

Here’s a quick shout-out to Washington Capitals ticket sales department. The Caps, led by a young and talented team on the ice and an innovative and aggressive sales force off the frozen sheet, are up 18%, year over year, in paid attendance. If you haven’t caught a game in a while, check them out as the team fights for a division title and a playoff berth.

Mud and Tape

Week four of the Mystics office build-out finds work continuing at a rapid pace. For those of you familiar with the dry wall process, we are now in the mud and tape phase of the project. For those of you not as familiar, this means we are making progress. IT wiring has also begun and the start of the painting is just around the corner. We are less than six weeks away from our big move!

Website of the Week

So, you would think someone who writes a weekly blog is cutting edge, high tech, and technologically savvy, right? Well, wrong. While I can create a spreadsheet and type a document, I, by no means, am a computer genius. Thus, I offer you LifeHacker.com. This is a great site to find “tech tricks, tips and downloads for getting things done.” An example: how to automatically remove unwanted songs from your iPod. Check out this neat site and feel more confident in today’s tech world.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Last week I mentioned the lack of respect the Utah Jazz has received this season. This week, I’m calling it now…Utah, yes Utah, will win the NBA’s western conference!

• Speaking of the west, how do you think Phoenix and Dallas feel about their blockbuster deals? There’s still a long way to go in the 2007-08 season, but the early returns have not been encouraging.

• I caught Oprah’s “Big Give” on Sunday night. While I don’t share the same enthusiasm for the “Queen of All Things Media” as many do, I have to admit the show was different, uplifting, and fun to watch. I’ll be back this Sunday night for episode two.

• As you may know, I bleed the black and gold of Pittsburgh Steelers football. Thus, Monday’s announcement of an eight-year, $102 million contract for Ben Roethlisberger made me very, very happy.

• Training camp opens in 45 days…do you BELIEVE?

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, March 5 - Maria Giovannetti talks about the joy of coaching.

I miss the days of being a basketball player. My job was to show up at the right time and place and produce on the court. Hotel room? Flight? Rental cars? Meal times? Gym locations? No worries…it was all taken care of. Times have definitely changed for me now that I’m a coach. All the details I never had to worry about are now part of my responsibilities. I never knew how much work outside of practice went into being a coach. I didn’t sign up for all the “fun” extras, but I’m learning to love it (big shot out to our parents who help tremendously).

Next weekend I, along with the other two coaches, will take our AAU team to Memphis for a tournament of champions. In Memphis we’ll face the top AAU teams in the nation…a sneak peak of the National Championship that will be played in Minnesota in July.

This tournament will be the first real test for our girls. This is a great chance, early in the season, to see how we stack up nationally. It will be a time for us to get a feel for where we stand now and where we need to be before Nationals in July.

It’s all business on the court, but we’re going to have a little fun while we’re there! All I know about Memphis is Graceland and the Mississippi River. If you have any suggestions of fun places to go or great places to eat let me know!

On an unrelated note, I want to congratulate the VCU men’s basketball team for winning the CAA regular season title. Good luck in the CAA Tournament this weekend!

Finally, make sure to tune in to the ACC women’s tournament this weekend. Go Terps!

BELIEVE!

Tuesday, March 4 - Linda Hargrove checks in.

Hey All ...

I can't believe conference tournaments are this week but here we go. Tree and I will be in Greensboro for the ACC, from there I will go to the Big East and then finish up next week at the Big 12. Jessie will cover the SEC and the SunBelt while Crystal hits the Pac 10. We have seen most of the key players in the draft so the next few weeks will solidify a player’s value to us. Sometimes players slip and sometimes players emerge when the pressure is on. It is always different and I guess that is why this time of year is so exciting.

It is really amazing when you look at the careers that Crystal Langhorne and Candace Wiggins have had at Maryland and Stanford. Crystal has broken all of Vicki Bullet's records and Candace just broke Lisa Leslie's Pac10 scoring record. Whether either of these players have the kind of pro career that Vicki and Lisa have had remains to be seen but you certainly can't take anything away from their college success.

Alana Beard will leave next week to play in Poland. She feels good and is close to being at 100%. She is such a worker and deserves all the good that comes her way. Bernice and GG will come to DC early to start intense workouts with our trainer to increase their chances of being able to start training camp. It is a tough off season when you have three major surgeries but many dedicated people, including our players and trainer, will do all possible to have them back on the court.

In just a few weeks the coaches and I will be in DC ready to start a new chapter in the history of the Washington Mystics. So many good things are going on. We have a great staff in place to start the season, a new office space to finally call our own and a dedicated group of players that are working really hard every day to bring success to the franchise. There will be challenges; players coming into training camp late, injuries and an array of unexpected things that befall each team almost every year. We will stand tall and overcome whatever the obstacles might be, prevail and be successful. Hope you are on board for a wild ride.

See you in the gym,

Linda

Monday, March 3 - Vishnu Dzidzienyo shares his thoughts on the upcoming WNBA draft.

Hi Mystics Family,

It’s almost time for the 2008 WNBA Draft! Who’s going to Tampa--let me see a show of hands??? I’m all excited for each one of the fantastic players that will be coming to the WNBA. So let’s talk about them.

You know the Washington Mystics will be picking 6th in the WNBA Draft in April. So do you like at that pick? Many things change before the Draft, players raise their games during tournament play, picks are traded, WNBA teams sign free agents that alter their priorities come April 9th. But as of today, who would be your 1st through 6th pick? Tell me, there is a WNBA General Manager in many of you, so here is your chance. I hear from so many season ticket holders, fans, high school and summer league coaches about who should go where, but what do you think. I will tell you what I think.

The last time I spoke with the Mystics family, I mentioned that I am a BIG fan of Erlana Larkins out of North Carolina. I have not wavered on that idea at all. I think she could easily win Rookie of the Year—depending on which team she is on. I honestly think there are 5-6 players in this Draft that have the talent to end their careers as some of the all-time greats to play basketball in the WNBA. Erlana Larkins is of course one, but to add to that list I include, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker, Candice Wiggins and Crystal Langhorne (go Maryland!). Wow, do you understand that 4 out of those five are post players, can you imagine how the game around the basket will develop in this league over the next several years because of these women? Unbelievable.

My sixth player that I am still watching and may add to that list would be Tasha Humphrey out of Georgia. If you have watched this young woman you can see that the talent is there. She is similar to Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons with her ability to knock down a 3-pointer if you dare her, along with her baseline jumper and the way she creates space on the low block. Too often however, I don’t see her take a game into her hands the way she should (I share that same observation about Sylvia Fowles).

Now, does the talent stop there with those six players…of course not. I am a fan of Alexis Hornbuckle out of Tennessee who reminds me of John Starks, the former Knicks star. She is fiery and is not afraid to take the big shot (and can hit) despite having a go-to player like Candace Parker on her team. My player to watch in regards to impact during her first year, besides Larkins, is Matee Ajavon from Rutgers. I would really like to see her play next to a current WNBA guard from Duke, but you can’t have everything. I think Ajavon brings tremendous will to make big plays and has grown over the last four years in regards to channeling that energy into intelligent decision making. She will be fun to watch, much like Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets, she just flat out makes plays!

Nicky Anosike out of Tennessee is my opinion was cloned from Ebony Hoffman of the Indiana Fever. I think Anosike, as you saw in the NCAA title game last year, can make a big difference in a ball game when she applies her strength and skills. Laura Harper has a knack for rebounding similar to Cheryl Ford. Wanisha Smith will be an excellent choice for someone who needs scoring and composure off the bench, but she has a desire to win that reminds me of Tamika Whitmore. Essence Carson will be a captain soon on some WNBA team and will make a coaching staff very pleased with their selection. Angela Tisdale out of Baylor is my sleeper impact player. She is the best player you may have never watched. Khadija Whittington out of NC State and Kimberly Beck out of George Washington I hope grow and develop and stay in the WNBA. Chante Black from Duke and LaToya Pringle of UNC can be very significant contributors in the late first round going to teams that are perennial winners. I think Erika White from LSU, Shannon Bobbit from Tennessee, Charde Houston and Mel Thomas from Connecticut will be drafted and have a chance to stick around, most of all Mel Thomas for her shooting.

Well, that’s it—pheeewww! Just a sneak preview, my next blog will be my predictions for the 2008 WNBA season and man will it be fun to watch!!! Thanks for reading, Mystics Family!