December 2008

Friday, December 19th – Pass the Ball Takes a Break.

The Mystics Pass the Ball Blog will take a break for the Holidays. Check back on Monday, January 5th for the latest from Mystics front office staff, coaches, and players. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18th – Greg Bibb Checks In.

We are just one week away from Christmas and two weeks from the end of 2008. The year has gone quickly, but it has been an exciting one for the Washington Mystics. We have moved into new offices, launched a new website, welcomed a new general manager, brought in a new head coach, hired several new staffers, enlisted new season ticket holders and forged partnerships with new sponsors. Through all the changes, however, one things has stayed the same…we continue to have the best fans a team could ask for. Thank you for your continued support of the Mystics. I speak for the entire organization when I say we truly appreciate your interest and dedication. To us, you are family. Have a wonderful holiday season and a great New Year. Here are just a few thoughts that are on my mind this 18th day of December, 2008.

The Reality of the Economic Crunch

Traditionally, the sports industry has enjoyed an exemption when it came to downturns in the economy. This trend, however, seems to be ending. Two of the most vivid news items of the last few weeks which support this theory come from the world of football. Just over a week ago, the National Football League announced it would be eliminating over 1,100 jobs. Then on Monday, the Arena Football League announced the League will not play in 2009. Closer to home, the Houston Comets departure also underlines the challenges we in the sports industry are currently facing.

Every sports league and team across the United States, and perhaps around the world, is feeling the current economic crunch. We are all looking for ways to conserve expenditures, operate more efficiently and remain strong during this challenging time. We are very fortunate here in Washington to have a committed ownership group that supports our team and our mission. Despite the economic climate, we are cautiously optimistic about 2009 because of the commitment of our ownership group to grow our business and the continual support of our great fans.

A Season Full of Bargains

One of the things I’m the most proud of regarding our team and our product is the fact that we provide a season full of professional women’s basketball at an extremely affordable price. Remember, you can purchase a full 2009 Mystics season ticket for as little as $119. We also offer a payment plan that allows you to distribute the cost of the ticket over three installments. We make it as easy and as painless as possible to get in the game, so give us a call.

Free Agency Period Begins

Monday marked the beginning of the WNBA free agency period. Thus, teams are now allowed to talk to free agents and make their pitch as to why a player should join their club. I can tell you we will be extremely aggressive in this process as we have identified several players who we will be pursuing. In fact, Mystics GM Angela Taylor and Head Coach Julie Plank have spent the past few days in Europe courting someone who is very high on our list. Stay tuned.

Mystics Birthdays

Since this Blog will be on holiday until January 8 (see below), I wanted to wish a Happy Birthday in advance to several Mystics staffers. Sheila Robinson, Mystics Office Administrator, will celebrate her special day on December 28, Mystics Account Executive Megan Burda will blow out the candles on January 2 and Mystics Guest Services Manager Eboni Tyler will enjoy a birthday on January 7. I also wanted to wish a belated birthday to Mystics Director of Corporate Partnerships Marty Lerner who celebrated on December 10.

Christmas Wish List

My Christmas list is quite short this year...just five items. No problem, right? Take a look:

  1. A big free-agent signing
  2. A sold-out 2009 home opener
  3. A 20-win regular season
  4. An extended playoff run
  5. Peace on Earth

Quote of the Week

“Life is 10% about what happens and 90% about how you react to what happens.”

Five Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

  • The Steelers can complete their climb to the top of the AFC with a win at Tennessee on Sunday. The Black and Gold will lock up home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs with a resounding victory in Nashville.
  • The Caps continue to fight the injury bug, dress a staffer from the communications department as the back-up goaltender, and go undefeated last week. Washington is on a roll!
  • I saw the Celtics when they were in town last week. They are really, really good.
  • I can’t decide who the best player in college basketball is….in fact, I can’t decide who the best college basketball player in the state of North Carolina happens to be…Tyler Hansbrough or Stephen Curry?
  • Don’t forget to make your New Year’s resolutions. Time is running out!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Note: Greg Bibb’s Blog will not post on Thursday, December 25 or Thursday, January 1. Greg’s Blog will return on Thursday, January 8.

Wednesday, December 17th - Crystal Hudson looks forward to spending the end of the year overseas.

Hey folks!

The last time I blogged, I was getting ready for a trip to New York to spend time with family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday; so for all those who may be wondering, let me just say that I had a magnificent Thanksgiving! The quality time spent with my mother was especially meaningful because we will not be celebrating Christmas together this year. The only Christmas I’ve ever not spent with my mother was when I studied abroad in college some years ago. That Christmas was actually spent on a train, as I traveled through the south of France with one of my peers. Definitely a memorable Christmas!

I’m sure this Christmas will be just as memorable, as I will be spending it in Morocco. Traveling abroad is something I absolutely LOVE to do, so I try to get out of the country at least once a year. I used to travel at all times of the year, but since I’ve worked for the Mystics, it seems to have become somewhat of a tradition to spend the holidays abroad. This year’s trip will include some time in Spain, but I’m very much looking forward to trekking through the dessert on a camel in Morocco, and bringing in the New Year five to six hours before all of my friends and family. I’ll be sure to send a mass email or text message and let everyone know how 2009 is looking!

Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year to you all!

Crystal

Tuesday, December 16th - Follow the adventures of Mystics center Nakia Sanford.

Hello WNBA fans. I hope your holiday season has gotten off to a great start with Thanksgiving. I don’t want to hear the details seeing that my Thanksgiving brunch consisted of oatmeal (not instant), and eggs with some form of cheese that I cannot name. Now, even though this blog could be split into more than one, I figure if I have as many tales as I do after a month, then I can put a couple together without fear of not having much to say the next time.

HITCH HIKING

So my first time going to Moscow (Moskova for the natives), I went sight seeing with my teammate Ira Sokolova. First, we needed to leave the hotel and take our bags to the train station for our trip back to Vologda. She told me, “Ok, let’s take the subway”. We proceeded to walk toward the nearest metro station, but about half way there she changed her mind and said “I want to take a taxi, maybe ‘its better”. So she stepped out into the street, hand raised, and waited. I stood back watching, and was very surprised when a……..well, a car that was made in about 1954, and was a model I have never previously seen, pulled over answering her request. My face y’all. I wish you could have seen it when she nodded for me to get in. “You know him? This isn’t a taxi”. She told me it was ok, and to just get in. First time in my life I have ever hitchhiked. I was not in my comfort zone at all. But I am a go with the flow kind of girl, so I got in with a shrug. (I took a video of this one that will be up soon on my site, nakiasanford.com. Check that out for the visual of this one.) This car was like, old school Volvo meets the size of a Ford Focus. Small yet boxy. Not to mention, the driver was pedal to the medal most of the drive there. However, we got there safely, paid the driver whatever fee he had invented, and went on our way. It’s a common way of getting around the city, and a way for regular folks to make a few bucks on the side. Some people even do it as a job. When in Rome…..do as the Romans. We took the subway the rest of the time, but since then I have hopped in a few cars with my teammates, and now I don’t even hesitate. The funny thing is, when I am with Ira, its always some old car and its always blue!!!! She says the car is part of our destiny. HMMMM, maybe but I still say DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!!

GANGSTA GRANNY

Ok, so before coming to Russia, I had heard many stories of mafia and gang activity. People get robbed, in broad day light. Cars get jacked and held for ransom. I had heard all sorts of horror stories. I felt prepared to be on the look out, and aware of my surroundings. But I live in a small city, and I guess these were all tales from the wild sides of Moscow, because I felt extremely safe. I figured it just sounded worse than it was. Well I relaxed way to soon. One day I was waiting for the driver to come take me to practice, and of course on this day he was 10 minutes late. I walked to the entrance of my apartment complex. While I was standing there, a cute elderly woman walked up to me. I thought maybe she was trying to get by, so I stepped to the side, she stepped with me. I stepped back. She stepped forward. Confusion, was the facial expression I gave her. She proceeded to speak to me in Russian. I politely told her one of the few Russian expressions I knew, “I don’t understand Russian”. But we all speak money, and I quickly understood what she was asking me for. I did the universal sign for I don’t have any money… pat the pockets, and then hands in the air. This didn’t satisfy her, and she HIT ME. Y’ALL SHE HIT ME on the shoulder, and yelled “give me 10 rubbles!!!” My face y’all, if you could have seen it. I am southern, and I don’t disrespect elderly people, even when they are acting crazy. So I start walking away down the street. Do you know she followed me? She kept pointing at the apartment building, and telling me to give her money. When I just looked at her like she was crazy, SHE SIZED ME UP!!!! She looked me up and down, around to my book bag, trying to find what she could jack me for. It was so funny and not funny at the same time. But this is the kicker. She started approaching other Russian people on the street. I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but this is my body language and intonation interpretation. “Hey you see this American girl, in our neighborhood? I know she got some money, lets go get her, she need to pay to live on our street”. LOL. She approached two separate women, and the both kind of looked at me like they where thinking about it…lol. My “don’t even think about it” face, and my size must have discouraged them because they would continue on. The driver finally came and as I got into the vehicle gangsta granny continued yelling and even banged on the window. Wow. I thought for sure she was gonna be waiting for me when I got dropped off at home. Seriously, I think I just now stopped peeking around the corner when I come out. LOL. Ok, ok maybe that is extreme, but I really can’t wait to see her again. I know a little more Parooski (Russian), so our next meeting should be interesting!!

There have been a few other funny moments, but most of them you just had to be there for. Words can not express some of the predicaments a foreigner can find herself in. So let’s move on to affairs of the states. I was very sad to hear that such a dynasty in our league like Houston will be folding. I get questions about it regularly, and the future of the WNBA. I say we are still a teenager. As a league we have made it through childhood the physical growing years, and now we have to brave years of more growth that it will take to root us deeper into the American psyche. I am so excited about the future of women’s basketball. I mean have you seen some of the young athletes coming into their own now? How amazing is it that there are clips of little toddlers showing extreme ball handling skills, and of high school girls dunking on youtube. But anyway, let me not get on my soap box this is turning into a pretty long blog. I am finishing this after an intense convo about the W, so I am a little hype.

Anywho, I am adjusting, and so is Zoey. She loves the snow. I have to make her come in. she likes to chase snow balls and try to pick them up. I will have to put video up of her in the snow. We only have had one hard snow. Other than that it is a pretty mild winter so far. So, I will close this out as I sit on my flight to Switerland. And take a little nap. Stay tuned for more adventures of Kia!!! BAKKA.

Monday, December 15th - Nicole Boden and Charlie share their weekend.

Hello Mystics Fans. Can you believe there are only 10 more days until Christmas? I don’t know about you but I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping. I always say that I’m going to start early and get it done and I never do so I guess this year is no different.

This weekend was a great weekend for me. I had two of my best friends come visit me. My friend Naomi came down from New York City and my friend Catherine came from Phoenix. Naomi is getting married in February so we got together for what some would call a “bachelorette weekend” but it was just an excuse to get together and talk and see each other. We are friends from college and we only get to see each other once, maybe twice a year. I had so much fun with them and I was sad to see them go but we’ll see each other in 8 weeks for Naomi’s wedding.

After I dropped my friends off at the airport I had to run home and pick up Charlie (my dog) for his friend’s birthday party. Yes, his best friend was turning one year old and we had to be there to celebrate. Charlie got to run around and play with about eight other dogs and he ate doggie ice cream and cookies. There was pizza and ice cream cake for the adults. There were lots of accidents, barking, biting, jumping, playing but it was a good time. When we got in the car, Charlie was exhausted and passed out in the passenger seat.

So Mystics fans that’s what’s happening over in my world. I can’t wait to see everyone in 2009!

Nicole Boden

Friday, December 12th - Matee Ajavon introduces herself to Mystics fans!

Hello Mystics fans,

First of all, I would like to say that I am more than honored to be a part of the Mystics family and look forward to years of success here in Washington. It’s unfortunate that I join the team due to the folding of the Houston Comets, but my mom always told me, "For every negative, there’s always a positive". So here I am. I would also like to give a special thanks to Julie Plank and Angela Taylor for making me their second pick in the dispersal draft.

I am currently in Istanbul, Turkey playing for Fenerbahce Sports Club. I've been here for three months now and can truly say I am enjoying myself. Istanbul is a big city compared to other places in Turkey. So there are a lot of great places to see, visit, and shop. I haven't really been on any Curious George adventures yet however. Where I have been a few times is across the Bhosporus bridge which is one of two bridges connecting Europe to Asia. Pretty cool for a girl who grew up in Newark, New Jersey! I play in Euroleague games which allows me to travel to places like Italy, Russia, and France to play against many WNBA players who are also on European teams. It gets pretty competitive but I am enjoying every minute of it. I play alongside Tammy Sutton-Brown from the Indiana Fever and Nicole Powell of the Sacramento Monarachs. Our record is 13-3 so we are doing pretty well.

For the upcoming season, what you can expect from me is high energy on both ends of the floor, excitement, and hopefully I can help lead a young, yet determined team to a WNBA championship. With that being said, we are going you need you, the "FANS" to continue to support us every step of the way! I am looking forward to the upcoming season!!!!

Matee

Thursday, December 11th - Greg Bibb checks in.

Welcome back! The Mystics have had a busy week. This, of course, is a good thing. My mom always says, “better busy than bored.” Here’s a recap of the hectic week so far, as well other things on my mind this 11th day of December, 2008.

Welcome Matee!

As you know, the Mystics had the second pick in the Dispersal Draft and with the selection we chose Matee Ajavon. Matee was the fifth player taken in the 2008 WNBA Draft following a stellar collegiate career at Rutgers University. She can play either the point or shooting guard position, has good size at five-foot, eight-inches and is a great defender. Matee is athletic and is a proven scorer. Most importantly, she is a gym rat who works extremely hard to continually improve her game. As a rookie, Matee averaged eight points per game for the Comets while playing in all 34 contests last season.

While at Rutgers, Matee led the Scarlet Knights a 109-32 overall record, four NCAA tournament appearances and trip to the 2007 National Championship Game. She is a former Big East Freshman of the Year and All-Big East selection.

Matee adds talent and depth to our roster, a roster that will surely continue to change and evolve as the off-season continues. We are excited to welcome Matee to the Mystics organization and I’m very pleased with the direction we are moving as team.

Draft Lottery

The WNBA Draft Lottery was held on Tuesday and the ping pong balls were kind to us, awarding the Mystics with the second overall selection in the 2009 WNBA Draft. The Atlanta Dream will pick first. We will be followed by the Chicago Sky, the Phoenix Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx.

As you might recall, we also have the ninth overall pick, courtesy of a trade with the Los Angeles Sparks. These two first round selections are joined by the 15th, 24th and 28th overall selections to give us five draft picks in total.

The pundits will tell you the class of 2009 is not a deep one, but I like our position. Two first round picks and five overall selections is a nice luxury. Draft day will be a fun event.

Welcome To Washington

I’m happy to report Mystics General Manager Angela Taylor has ended her long commute, moved into her new residence and is now an official member of our community. Head Coach Julie Plank has also identified her new Washington home and will be moving here within the next month. I can’t emphasize enough how great it is to have our basketball operations leadership with us full time during the “off-season.” I’m confident their year-round commitment will pay dividends this summer.

Holiday Pack

This is my last official plug for the Mystics Holiday Pack. This unique package provides a packet of 2009 Mystics ticket vouchers (either six or 10) and a Mystics fleece pullover jacket. The Holiday Pack provides you total flexibility with your vouchers…use one for six games or all six for one, you decide. Holiday Packs start at just $92 and the deadline to ensure Christmas delivery is just four days away, on December 15, so give us a call to reserve yours today!

HRC Holiday Party

If you happen to be attending the HRC Holiday Party on Saturday night, look for the Mystics. We will be there sponsoring the photo area. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Quote of the Week

“What I did yesterday does not matter, if what I am doing today will not make tomorrow better.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Can’t wait for Steelers-Ravens this weekend. Pittsburgh will beat Baltimore and essentially wrap up the division.
• How about the Caps…as many as 10 players injured and the team continues to hold first place in the Southeast Division. Impressive.
• While unlikely, it is possible, that either UCONN or UNC could win both the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball championships.
• The WNBA free agency period begins in just four days…get ready.
• Adelyn met Santa this past weekend. She was less than thrilled. We’ll keep working on it.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, December 10th - Eboni Tyler learns the lingo of text messaging.

Greetings Mystics Fans,

I hope everyone is having a Wonderful Holiday Season! In our office we are working on renewing you (the fans) for our ‘09 season. My colleagues, as well as myself, are working hard to make your Mystics experience a memorable one. Our General Manager Angela Taylor and Head Coach Julie Plank are moving us in the right direction for this upcoming season. And as the New Year approaches, we will be pushing harder then ever to get you back for next season. You will be receiving phone calls, emails and much more from your Account reps. hoping to hear good news that you are renewing with us for ‘09. For those that have renewed already, we are going to have an AWESOME time. The Mystics have the second pick (Great NewsJ) in the 2009 Draft. We also acquired Matee Ajavon in the Houston Comets dispersal draft and she is going to be a great addition to our team. Things are looking up for this upcoming season. The Mystics are going to be a team to watch in 2009. Please continue to check WashingtonMystics.com for more information regarding the selection of Coach Plank's coaching staff which will be coming soon. Now, on to my new discovery…

Text message abbreviations have become my new thing. I am not out of touch with the internet or electronics. I just can’t keep up with these abbreviations for text messaging. Are you like me and your text messaging bill is a little high because you squeeze your life into 250 characters? You need to take a class from S&E “My Text Professionals”. So my two texting BFF’s in the office are Sarah and Erin. They are my “OMG! OMG!” Girls! You can be sitting at your desk and hear Erin say “OMG!” and then like clock work Sarah “OMG! OMG!”. They are teaching me the lingo. They communicate so well with these abbreviations, it is crazy. So far I have learned the Basics: BFF- Best Friends Forever, OMG – O My Gosh or as Erin puts it “O-MY-G”, TTYL- Talk to You Later, LOL – Lots of Love or LOL – Laugh out Loud (it’s all about how you use it), IDK – I Don’t Know and thanks to Paris Hilton – Sarah has introduced me to TTYN- Talk to You Never. Well as you can see I have come a long way in my new discovery but from the looks of things I have a much longer way to go. LOL! If you ever need someone to give you any text messaging assistants please contact Sarah Novak or Erin Mitchell they are “My Text Professionals”. They can break your sentences into 3 letters. And your bill will never be high again. Those girls are some BAD MOTHER SHUT YOUR MOUTH… Lol!

Well Mystics Fans it has been another Great year working with you. We are going to keep it going in 2009.

At this time of holiday celebration my thoughts turn to you with warm appreciation. Your confidence and loyalty are deeply cherished. I extend best wishes to you for health and happiness this Holiday Season.

Have Very Happy & Safe Holiday!

P.S. This is my last blog for 2008 so I would like to give a Pre HAPPY BIRTHDAY MESSAGE GOING OUT TO THE JANUARY BABIES!

MYSELF INCLUDED…

Megan
Me – Eboni
Erin
Nicole J.
Sarah
Chris

We are starting early… Yes we are all in the Sales and Service Department. WHOOPIE! Send me an email if your birthday is in January!

Ttyl – Mystics Fans

Eboni Tyler

Tuesday, December 9th - Angela Taylor shares the day’s excitement.

Happy Holidays Mystics Fans,

As you know by now, this has been an important week for us on the basketball side. On Monday, we were able to select Matee Ajavon in the Houston dispersal draft. We spoke with her prior to the draft and were impressed with her. She’s a very driven individual who was extremely excited about returning to the east coast to play in front of friends, family, and the best fans in the WNBA. In just a short amount of time of the phone with her, Coach Plank and I both knew that she’d be a great fit in our system. She’s a bit of a character, so look forward to being entertained by Tasha, Matee, Lang, and Shay next summer. Apparently (and this is straight from Coach Stringer), Matee is quite the entertainer. We may have to have a little open mic night sometime next year. Renew your tickets now so you don’t miss out on any of the action and inside scoop.

So now on to the Draft Lottery…

Well we had a little bit of excitement in the Mystics office today for a variety of reasons. As the entire Mystics staff gathered around our conference room table to jump on the WNBA’s Draft Lottery Conference Call, there was a buzz in the room. We all had been anxious to find out our fate all day and now the time was near. As Jamin Dershowitz started the lottery and Reneé Brown repeated the numbers into the speakerphone, the technology gods came into play. After listing the first two numbers for the #1 selection…our phone lines went dead. My heart was racing, this couldn’t be happening.

Luckily after Greg Bibb did some speed dialing (Usain Bolt – the Olympic 100m & 200m Gold medalist - would have been proud), we rejoined the call. BUT, the first selection had already been made and we had no idea who it was!!! At this point, my heart had almost stopped, but moments later (literally less than 30 seconds later) the room exploded with cheers as we found out we now own the #2 pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft!

There are some very talented players that top our list in this year’s senior class, so finding out that we have a Top 2 pick was fantastic. This will be a very important off-season for evaluating. One that we think will be very rewarding as well.

The college season is off to a great start with quite a few new teams establishing their presence on the national scene. Until being upset by TCU, the Cal Bears (I know, I can’t believe I’m actually mentioning our rival team from across the Bay) have been rising steadily in the polls behind the exceptional play of senior Ashley Walker. Now that Devanai Hampton is back on the court, look for them to continue their winning ways.

Similar to the WNBA’s commitment to Breast Health Awareness, it’s so great to see college teams and coaches stepping up to support the Jimmy V Foundation. Coaches like Kay Yow and Jim Valvano have contributed so much to the basketball community and it’s truly an inspiration to hear their individual stories and the impact they are having on cancer research by utilizing the sports platform.

Last week, we announced the hiring of Lisa Ciaravella as our new Strength and Conditioning Coach. We are so excited about working with Lisa, who comes highly recommended by the Connecticut Sun coaching staff and several former players who felt that they were in the best condition of their lives when they worked with Lisa. She will be a great complement to Navin (our athletic trainer) and will have this roster ready to compete at a high level.

Next up for us, FREE AGENCY! As I’ve stated previously, we plan to be very active in free agency and hope to sign a couple of top free agents to add to our roster. We can start talking to free agents on December 15th and then can sign them beginning on January 5th. There are some very talented players available this year, so we look forward to being able to fill them in on what is so special about this organization – our leadership, our commitment to winning, our fans, and our market. Stay tuned.

Before I sign off today, I’d like to take a moment to share some of my favorite memories from the Comets Dynasty (David Letterman style):

#5 – Little known Kim Perrot making the roster as a developmental player in the inaugural season and going on to become an integral part of their championship reign. Her battle with cancer illustrated the drive and willpower necessary to be successful being the quarterback for a star-laden team.

#4 – Van Chancellor plowing through a super size bag of jolly ranchers before every Comets game by tossing the candy into the stands for fans to enjoy.

#3 – Traveling to Italy with Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson to represent the WNBA at the McDonald’s Championship in Milan, Italy. Not only were these two the consummate professionals, but it was amazing to see fans recognize them on the streets of Milan as we joined the San Antonio Spurs as ambassadors for the NBA & WNBA. Plus the shopping wasn’t all that bad either!

#2 – Preparing to head down to the court for the championship celebration after Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Championship series pitting Houston against New York. As one of my co-workers and I started to head down the stairs, time stood still as Teresa Weatherspoon launched what would go down in history as one of the most amazing buzzer beaters in sports. We all just looked at each other with this expression of disbelief on our faces. In an instant, thousands of Comets fans (who were all on their feet) were frozen in time. Unbelievable!

#1 – That first WNBA Championship celebration in Houston on August 30, 1997. I remember standing on center court as red, white, and blue streamers fell and thousands of Comets fans clad in red were all Raising the Roof! I will always remember this date because less than 24 hours after experiencing such an amazing moment, the news of Princess Diana’s tragic death circulated around our post-game celebration. To go from the pure joy of being part of the first WNBA Championship to losing such an iconic figure will be forever etched in my memory.

Only 15 shopping days left until Christmas! Don’t forget to pick up the Mystics Holiday Pack for your loved ones!

In times like these I hope that everyone remembers the reason for the season and spends more time being grateful for all of our blessings than we spend in the stores (although the economy could use a little consumer spending).

My apologies for the small novel. It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I wanted to fill you in on everything that’s going on. Until next time…

Happy Holidays to you and your family,

Angela

Monday, December 8th - Dana Simonelli returns to share the happenings in her world.

Hey Mystics Fans,

Welcome back to my little spot in the Mystics blog world. I had the weekend to give some thought about what I wanted to blog about this time around. I have decided to share with you my weekend with my first "real world" roommate. Now, I know you ask what is a "real world" roommate? This is the first person I lived with as I embarked on my career in the sports industry after college. Someone else besides the three roommates I had in college. Her name is Maria and I must include that she is one of my closest friends after living together for four years in New Jersey.

It was just like old times. I picked her up at the bus and we went for nice dinner at one of my favorite spots Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. We had an extensive conversation about things we needed to catch up. Then the weekend proceeded on Saturday with a trip to the National Building Museum for the Green Community project, which I highly recommend. We then did some shopping, made an awesome dinner and then headed out for some DC night life over in the U Street area. I have to say she went home holding DC in a much higher regard, which made me happy. As usual it is always great to catch up with friends and I was very happy she made the trip down.

One other note, I would like to give my Grandma a shout out. She is 91 years old and I saw her over the Thanksgiving Holiday. She is doing well and I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful woman in my life as she has taught me some great life lessons along the way.

I would also like to take this time to wish all of our season ticket holders a safe and happy holiday season.

Until next time!

Go Mystics!

Dana

Friday, December 5th - Erin Mitchell looks back on 2008 and looks forward to the upcoming year.

Hey Mystics Fans!!

Here we are at the beginning of the last month of 2008. In addition to preparing for the holiday season, I typically take this time of year to reflect on all that has happened in the previous 300+ days – good and not so good. One of the obvious ‘goods’ that I experienced this year was joining the Mystics organization. Although I don’t ‘suit up’ on game days, I am thankful to be a part of an amazing team like the Washington Mystics. I truly enjoy working with the front office staff, receiving guidance and leadership from our management and interacting with our fans whenever the opportunity permits. Another ‘good’ that transpired in 2008 was having Angela Taylor and Julie Plank join the Mystics organization. I’ve had the opportunity to hear both of these ladies engage in conversations with our Season Ticket Holders and share what their vision is for the Mystics in 2009 and beyond. In addition, I’ve shared some great laughs with both of them (early morning parking garage fiascos!!). My motto this year has been “2008 will be GREAT” and overall it has been.

Life wouldn’t be life if there weren’t some not-so-good events. For example, my first three days working for the Mystics included, me having a severe sinus infection, my apartment in Maryland not ready for me to move in to, having to commute from my mom’s house in Middletown, DE to DC for work and lastly having a flood in my apartment in Atlanta where the majority of my earthly possessions were still housed while waiting for the moving company to pick them up. With all of that happening, I was still able to see the bright side of things - great antibiotics to help the sinus infection, supportive friends and family to help with both apartment crisis and a very gracious new co-worker (Sarah Novak) for allowing me to stay at her house while I was still waiting for my MD apartment. 2008 was also the year of a not-so-good record for the Mystics. Although we didn’t have a winning record on the court, we were winners on the business side and still hold the title of “Best Fans in the WNBA!!!”

I’m borrowing from one of my favorite Mary J. Blige songs for next year’s motto with “2009 will be Just Fine”. I’m not planning any long distance moves, hoping not to be under the weather too much and am extremely confident in what the 2009 Mystics will produce both on and off the court!! Wishing you all a very happy holiday season and looking forward to a very fine 2009!!

~Erin

Thursday, December 4th - Greg Bibb checks in.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. As I get older, I appreciate this holiday more each year. The opportunity it provides us to gather with our family and spend quality time with our loved ones is priceless. Seeing my daughter clearly enjoy being with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins is very rewarding. The ritual of overeating is the only part I could do without, but mom’s cooking is just too good to refuse!

Dispersal Draft

As I’m sure you know by now, sadly, the Houston Comets will not operate in 2009. Thus, the League will conduct a dispersal draft on Monday, December 8 to allocate the Houston players to other teams. The draft order is determined by 2008 regular season team records, with the worst record (Atlanta) picking first. The Mystics will pick second. Houston’s unrestricted free-agents-to-be Tina Thompson, Michelle Snow, Latasha Byears, Mwadi Mabika and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba are not draft eligible. Despite their absence, there are still several players on the Comets roster who I feel could help our team. We also have the ability to use the second pick as part of a trade with another WNBA club. In short, this opportunity should help us better our roster in the long run as we have plenty of options at our disposal.

Getting Stronger

Welcome to Lisa Ciaravella, the Mystics new Strength and Conditioning Coach. Lisa is the founder of North Carolina-based Phoenix Physical Therapy and Sports Performance. Lisa is no stranger to the WNBA, having spent five seasons as the Head Strength Coach for the Connecticut Sun. She has also worked with Florida Atlantic University as well as the University of Miami. Lisa holds a B.S. in Sports Medicine from Elon University and received her Masters of Sports and Athletic Administration from Lynn University. We are thrilled to have Lisa on our team and look forward to working with her next season.

Happy Birthday Mom

My Mom’s birthday is on Saturday, December 6. Happy birthday to a great lady.

Scary Good

I had the chance to watch UCONN’s dismantling of Oklahoma on Sunday night. The Huskies are scary good. The basketball season is a long one and anything can happen between now and April, but I have a hard time believing anyone is going to stop the ladies from Storrs from cutting down the nets come Spring.

Holiday Pack

It’s not too late to purchase a Mystics Holiday Pack. This one-of-a-kind opportunity provides a packet of 2009 Mystics ticket vouchers (either six or 10) and a Mystics fleece pullover jacket. The Holiday Pack provides you total flexibility with your vouchers…use one for six games or all six for one, you decide. Holiday Packs start at just $92 and the deadline to ensure Christmas delivery is December 15, so give us a call to reserve yours today!

National Girls & Women In Sports Day

National Girls & Women In Sports Day is slated for February 4, 2009. We are currently working with the University of Maryland to create a unique event centered around a Maryland women’s basketball game and a Washington Mystics outing next summer. This is an important day to recognize female participation in sports. More details to follow. Stay tuned.

Quote of the Week

“You have one thing in common with all successful people…24 hours in a day…it is how you use them that makes all the difference.”

Final (and sometimes random) Thoughts

• Penn State will win the Rose Bowl.
• The Steelers will go to the Super Bowl.
• Congrats to Alexander Ovechkin for being named the NHL’s First Star of the Month for November.
• Estimates now have the number of people attending the Inauguration at four million. That’s both unbelievably exciting and unbelievably scary.
• The WNBA free agency period begins on December 15. Buckle your seatbelt, it’s going to be a fun ride!

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, December 3rd - Tim Gallant talks about The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

Hello Mystics Fans!

The Resident Newbie has returned and I have a few things on my mind. First, I would like to wish my dad a Happy Birthday. You are my hero and I wish you a wonderful day.

But, now onto the bit of news you have all been waiting for...The Tales of Beedle the Bard comes out tomorrow!!!!!!!! If you don’t know what I am talking about, you are sadly missing out on some of the most wonderful story-telling in the universe. I am of course talking about J.K. Rowling’s short story collection that has a link to the Harry Potter series. Now, I would consider myself somewhat well read, scanning the pages of Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Lewis, McCarthy, and more. In all my readings, I have yet to find a book that compares to the story-telling of the Harry Potter series and I look forward to reading a bit more of Rowling’s work. If you have not sampled any of the Potter collection, I would recommend doing so, not for the sheer fact that they are so popular. On the contrary, I believe that despite its popularity, the Potter series brings to life, a world of witchcraft and wizardry that is unparalleled throughout history. As a matter of fact, this blog was suppose to be submitted a little bit ago, but I was just reading some of the comments about the last book, The Deathly Hallows, which takes its name from a story in the Tales of Beedle the Bard. So please go and read!

Well that is all for now, I hope you have a great holiday season, and you stay warm. You can do both of those things by purchasing the Holiday Pack! Call your representative or ask for the real resident newbie! Until next time…

Farewell,

Tim

Tuesday, December 2nd - Julie Plank checks in.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! There are so many things that I am grateful for, and it is always a great day to reflect on many of these blessings. Time has been flying by since being named Head Coach…so much to do! I have spent some time in DC, getting acclimated to my new position, new office and the surrounding area. I am happy to say that I have found a place to live and now it is time to move and get settled into my new “home”! I have had the opportunity to meet many season ticket holders this past month and hope to continue to get to know more of our great supporters! The enthusiasm and passion for the Mystics organization has been truly remarkable to me!

Next week, Angela Taylor and I will be heading to Poland and Italy. We are very anxious to spend time with several of our players. I cannot wait to see them play and get to know them better. It has been fun corresponding with them, via instant messaging, which I must admit…I am getting pretty good at! Hopefully, we will find out what our lottery pick will be while we are in Europe…Think positive thoughts, as we hope to land a top pick in the 2009 draft! You may hear the “screams” from Schio, as we will be watching Crystal Langhorne play against Tasha Humphrey, on the 10th.

The next few months will have us traveling to many collegiate gyms to evaluate potential draft picks. It is a time I truly enjoy…I love seeing the talent of the college seniors that will be available to enter the WNBA and possibly compete for a spot on the Mystics roster. There are some difference-makers in this 2009 class!

I have been very fortunate to speak with many quality coaching candidates over the last few weeks. I can assure you, we will have an awesome staff coaching the Mystics team in 2009! I am hoping to make a final decision in the next few weeks. After the first of the year, I will be in Washington, DC full time and will continue to prepare for the upcoming WNBA season.

I look forward to meeting you all in the future.

Peace!

Julie

Monday, December 1st - Christopher Waldmann is back from the Turkey extravaganza known as Thanksgiving.

Welcome Back Mystics Fans!

I hope everyone has had time to digest all of the turkey, turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, and turkey everything else that we’ve all been enjoying since Thursday. I hope that everyone had as pleasant a Thanksgiving as I did as well. I always really enjoy getting to see my family at the Holidays, since I don’t get to see everyone too often during the year. Happy to report that the family is doing well, and also that I’ll be an uncle for the first time next summer as my sister announced that she’s pregnant! I’m definitely looking forward to being an uncle and being able to have fun with my niece or nephew without having all the responsibilities of the parents, can’t say that I’m necessarily ready for that just yet.

I was hoping to blog about some good news for my football team, the Packers, but it looks like the season is about to be wrapped up for us. Two games out with just four to play doesn’t look good, there’s always next year. At least my basketball teams, Lakers and UConn, are proving to be as good as advertised this season. And did anyone see the UConn Women knock off Oklahoma by something ridiculous like 30 points? I know they’re usually a contender every season, but it really looks like its UConn’s title to lose this year on the women’s side.

Well I need to get to work now after having a couple of extra days off. Don’t forget that when you’re searching for that perfect holiday gift this year that the Mystics have a great Holiday Pack with ticket certificates that are good for any game and a warm Mystics Fleece to fight off the winter cold! Just call your rep to make sure you get yours before Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Chris