December 2009

Thursday, December 31st - Greg Bibb checks in. [permalink]

Hello for one final time in 2009. When the clock strikes midnight tonight, we will close the first decade of the new millennium. It is hard to believe that it has already been 10 years since our last days of the 90s, Y2K and Boys II Men relevancy (you know you sang along too). On a personal note, the last 10 years have been very good to me…I met and married my wife Tara, welcomed our daughter Adelyn to the world, worked for a series of outstanding companies and settled here in Washington, D.C. Now it is on to 2010 and in staying true to my list-making tendencies, I have identified the 10 things I would like to accomplish in the New Year. Notice I did not mention the word, “resolution.” To me, resolution equals pressure, stress and ultimately a high likelihood of failure. Thus, I’ll stick with generic vernacular and feel good about my chances below. Anyway, here you go:


1. Continue to work on the elusive work/family balance.
2. Lead by example.
3. Teach Adelyn how to ice skate and swim.
4. Make a smooth transition from a man-to-man defense to a zone as Tara and I prepare to welcome our second child.
5. Run 1,500 miles, a sub-1:30 half marathon and a sub-3:10 marathon.
6. Improve on my “potty mouth.”
7. Place a premium on patience.
8. Read more books.
9. Commit to providing time for our children to be with their grandparents.
10. Be in better physical shape at the end of the year than at the beginning of the year (this one has been an annual goal since 1997).

This is a big list, I know, but I enjoy challenges, so we will see. I’ll be sure to write a follow-up to this blog at this time next year.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year. Here is to an outstanding 2010 filled with success, happiness and a WNBA Championship!

Quote of the Week
“Your words represent you. Choose them carefully.”


Five Final (and random) Thoughts

• We had a terrific Christmas in PA. We spent time with both sides of the family as Adelyn was showered with love and attention by an army of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
• Speaking of Christmas, it took three years, but I did it…Grandma went down in Wii Bowling. Long live the King!
• Thanks to a big win over the Ravens, the Steelers are still alive heading into the final week of the regular season. Now we need a win and some help in week 17.
• I’m a big proponent of going to a college football playoff season; however, I must admit this time of year is fun as you have a college bowl game everyday of the week for seemingly a month.
• Connecticut’s decisive win over a very good Stanford side showed the nation that the Huskies are just that much better than everyone else when it comes to women’s college basketball this year. There is a long way to go in the season, but it is hard to imagine any team other than UCONN cutting down the nets come April.

Until next time,
Go Mystics!

Tuesday, December 29th - Tim Gallant shares his tips on how to handle New Year's Eve. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans,

I hope that you had a wonderful week and are looking towards the New Year. So keeping with tradition, I will write a few reminders for your Big Night out on Thursday, New Years Eve to maximize potential fun, and minimize potential hazards:

- First things first; safety. Be sure to call a cab or crash at a friend’s house. Not only will you be keeping yourself safe, but those around you will also benefit from your smart choices.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. What I mean is, if you see a party that has open bar, cool DJs, and appetizers for $20, you may want to be suspicious as there may be some catch…or ridiculously long bar lines.
- When the ball begins to drop, don’t panic. Embrace the moment and rejoice that you are healthy and in good spirits. Nobody likes THAT girl in the corner crying because she is wondering what happened to that last year, or decade. We can not change the past, but we can take what we have learned and improve the future. Optimism always wins on this night.
- If you have no plans, and are going to be home alone, try and find someone to babysit for. There is no better night to rake in extra bucks than the 31st. Trust me on this one. It is so easy it’s insane.
- Never, and I mean Never drink and dial. For some reason, this night of all nights seems to bring out the drunk texts and calls from across the globe with conversations that generally go like this:

“Happppppppyy Eeewwww Yeeerrrrssss”
“What?”
“ApppppyyY Ewwww Yerrsssss”
“Whatttt?”

Just trust me on this one; whatever it is, it can wait until New Years Day!
- Finally, take a moment to reflect on what is most important to you and be sure to make that person, or thing a priority in the New Year.

Thanks and have a great time!
Tim

Monday, December 28th - Veronica Sander talks football. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans!

Veronica here, checking in with you during this holiday season. I hope that everyone was able to enjoy a wonderful weekend and now preparing for the New Year’s celebration later this week. I am getting myself ready to fly out to Denver, Colorado at 6:00am tomorrow morning where I will spend my New Year’s Eve with my older brother and his two children. It’s been a few years since I have seen the boys and I can’t wait!

Despite this happy time of year, yesterday was a really tough day for me. My number one football team is the Denver Broncos and my number two team is the Baltimore Ravens. Many will argue that you can not have two teams in the same league, but I like to break the rules. Anyway, both of these teams are contending for a wildcard playoff spot and had very big games this week. Baltimore took on Pittsburgh and with a victory, would have made it very tough for the Steelers to make the playoffs and given Baltimore a leg up in the wildcard race. I am sorry to say that it was not a good day for the Baltimore offense and it was taken away, congratulations Greg Bibb. The more important of the two was Denver at Philadelphia. Denver was very disappointing in the first half, but managed to tie the game at 27 in the fourth quarter. With two minutes left and possession I genuinely thought we had the momentum to take the game. Then, a change of possession and amazing catch later, the Eagles are able to hit a short field goal to take the game with 4 seconds remaining. It hurt more than you know and now I must say, congratulations Erin Mitchell.

So, in closing, this has been a wonderful week of family, good food and lots of smiles, but yesterday did hit pretty hard. We’ll have to see where we fair in the wildcard race now as this is my favorite time in football season!

Don’t forget, the Mystics schedule has been released and we are ready to go now! Check out the schedule here and give us a call to get your tickets.

Take care and until next time, GO MYSTICS!

Friday, December 25th - Christmas Day: NO BLOG.

Thursday, December 24th - Greg Bibb checks in. [permalink]

Happy Christmas Eve Day! Hopefully today finds you spending time with loved ones. This year Christmas seems extra nice as the weather man delivered a present of his own: a white Christmas here in the mid-Atlantic region. Did you know…the nation’s capital only has an inch of snow on the ground for one in seven Christmas Days? Last weekend’s record snow fall guaranteed this would be one of those years. I certainly think all of the white stuff helps set the mood for the big day.

Speaking of the big blizzard, Tara and I had a great time over the weekend playing in the snow with Adelyn. This was the first significant snowfall for Addy to be old enough to really go out and play. While the storm delivered a powdery snow not ideal for making snowmen or snowballs, we did have a grand time sledding. In fact, I was quite tired by the end of the day after dragging her back up the hill time and time again so she could ride the sleigh to the bottom. I can only imagine how fun it was for her to discover something totally new and exciting for the first time.

Of course the storm also had its downside as thousands of travelers trying to get out of town for the holiday were stranded. Many of these folks spent multiple nights in local airports waiting for new flights to far away destinations. Having been there and done that in the past, I felt bad for all of those people, especially the ones with small children. No fun indeed.

The weather also had me thanking my lucky stars that the Mystics play an indoor, summertime schedule. As a result, we rarely have to worry about cancelling games due to inclement weather. Granted, sometimes there are delays and close calls due to rain and storms and how they impact team travel, but for the most part, weather is not part of the equation for us during the summer months.

Speaking of summer, can you believe we are now just 17 weeks and a few days away from the start of training camp? In fact, camp opens just four calendar months from tomorrow! The off-season is absolutely flying by and I can’t wait for the 2010 season to get started. I have a really good feeling about it.

Well, that’s about it from here. I’ll keep it short for the holiday. Again, Merry Christmas. I hope Santa brings you everything you want, including of course, Mystics season tickets. Enjoy the day tomorrow. Stay warm. I’ll check back with you next Thursday, the final day of 2009!

Quote of the Week

“Enjoy where you are, on the way to where you are going.”

Five Final (and random) Thoughts

• I know I declared the NFL season over for me last week, but thanks to Big Ben and a remarkable last-second win over the Packers on Sunday, I’m re-engaged. Go Steelers, beat the Ravens!
• I’m not a big boxing fan, but I think Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao will be a must-see event.
• If you have a chance this holiday season, go do something good for someone less fortunate. You’ll find you benefit as much as they do.
• Nice article in last week’s Sports Illustrated on Baylor’s Brittney Griner. Good pub for the sport and one of the first of many articles to come on this sensational player.
• Many of the Mystics have returned home for the holidays, having a few weeks off from their overseas playing commitments. I’m looking forward to seeing many of them in the coming days.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, December 23rd - Kim Peters learned a valuable lesson following the snowstorm of 2009. [permalink]

Hey Mystics fans! I hope you are all ready for the holidays, I know I certainly am. All in one week we have Christmas, my birthday (23), and new years, so I really love the holiday season. I’ll be going home later today and I’m extremely excited to see my niece and nephew and of course the rest of my family. I really don’t have any big plans for Christmas or my birthday but I am extremely excited for new years because my best friend from Pittsburgh is coming down to celebrate with me!

Anyways, a little story for the Mystics faithful. I have lived in DC now for about three months. I lived in Pittsburgh for 22 years and not once in those 22 years have I ever seen snow like the snow we had this past weekend. Now, like I said I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for quite some time and never had to shovel myself out because the snow was never that bad. Well, moving further south we (my parents and I) figured that a shovel was something deemed unnecessary for my move to Virginia. Boy was I wrong. Well, my car ended up getting stuck in a snow bank of about three feet and this girl does not own a shovel. I tried cornering someone to use their shovel but no luck there seeing as their cars were just about as bad as mine. (Did I also mention I was parked in the far back corner where everyone was shoveling their snow to?) Then I looked out the window and I saw a family using a dust pan to shovel their snow. Well I don’t have a dust pan, but I do have a mixing bowl. So I get all ready to brave the snow and head out to dig my car out of three feet of snow with a mixing bowl. Needless to say the bowl didn’t make it, but I did dig my car out enough so that when the plow truck came by I was able to get out of the spot and take my car for a little spin around the block. Moral of this story is that no matter where you live always have a shovel…or a mixing bowl. Needless to say, it was definitely something that I will always remember and a little bird told me that Santa is getting me a shovel for Christmas. Better late than never!

I hope you all have an amazing, safe, and healthy holiday season! I look forward to seeing you all in 2010 and make sure you check out the schedule!

Best wishes Mystics fans!
Kim

Tuesday, December 22nd - Check out Angela Taylor's last blog of the decade. [permalink]

Happy Holidays Mystics Family,

Well, there are only three official shopping days left, so good luck to those of you who plan to battle the crowds over the next few days to find some last minute gifts to give to your loved ones. A great gift to give is the Mystics New Year’s Pack (and you can order it from the comfort of your own home). I am almost done with my shopping, but will have to do some last minute scrambling of my own when I arrive in Boise later this week.

For some reason, I’d rather hit the Boise Towne Square Mall than pack an extra bag on my flight. Oh yea, maybe that reason is because I refuse to pay for extra baggage (extra meaning a third bag). There’s just something wrong with that (besides the fact that I normally over pack on a regular basis without the need to carry presents too). Nonetheless, I hope everyone finds that Xbox, Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster, or high tech gadget on somebody’s wish list.

My wish list is pretty short this year. I am just hoping that my flight to Idaho takes off with no delay (or I’d even take a slight delay) this afternoon. I feel bad for all of the holiday travelers who have been stranded in the airport for the last 3 days and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t be joining them over the next few days.

Over the years, I have actually been pretty lucky during holiday travel (which has typically been short due to the holiday hoops schedule), so this is the first time I’m a little nervous about travel issues. Nonetheless, I look forward to spending time with my family & friends over Christmas. I missed my high school reunion this past summer, so it will also be nice to catch up on all of the gossip & happenings in Mountain Home.

Sometimes we take things for granted, but our annual holiday party reminded me why I am thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to work for a great organization & with a wonderful group of people. From Becca’s amazing brownies (yes, I did sneak a few extra home with me to munch on as I watched the snow fall for hours & hours on Saturday) to the ultra competitive Wii tournament (let me tell you, this was serious business), it was nice to kick back & relax with our co-workers.

Kudos to the new Mystics staffers who serenaded us during the party with an impressive (and creative) “mystified” rendition of Winter Wonderland! Quite impressive indeed. Check out iTunes to download it (just kidding). Somehow, Julie & I were able to get out of singing at last year’s party (thanks to a “timely” overseas scouting trip). Truthfully, our duet probably would have ended what has become a fun holiday tradition, so I am grateful that our Mystics newbies have a lot more lyrical ability.

I’m not exactly sure, but I think I heard that, within a 24-hour period, last Saturday’s winter storm set a record for surpassing the DMV’s annual snowfall. Yikes! Is this true? Wow, I think winter must have followed me here from Minneapolis. Sorry about that!!

Congrats to….
…the Basketcases on winning The “Bloggers” Amazing Race and to Coach Christy Winters-Scott and her South Lakes HS varsity team on a big win Friday night against Herndon!

Welcome to the Mystics….
…Kristin Haynie! Kristin is a nice addition to our team & we are looking forward to working with her this spring. She will be headed over to Italy after the holidays to play in Priolo.

Well, since this will be my final blog of the decade, I thought I would follow Natalia’s lead by sharing my Top 10 Moments of the 2000’s (by the way, please let me know what we are supposed to call the 2000’s…it’s so nice to say the 70’s or the 80’s, but it sounds a little weird to say the two thousands – this sounds like a case for the Basketcases to solve). I planned to share this list, but I couldn’t whittle the list down to just 10 moments, so I decided to highlight my favorite moment that started & closed the decade. Here you go:

• Bringing in the 2000’s - Starting the decade out right with Stanford going to the Rose Bowl in 2000 “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams!” - - Eleanor Roosevelt.

After taking the last few months to assess our on-court performance in 2009, we all have big dreams for 2010 and the 2010 WNBA season. With the demise of the Monarchs franchise, the league will be more competitive than ever, so it is extremely important for our players to continue to work on their game this off-season while the coaching staff & I scour the globe trying to identify those players who fit into our plans to win an Eastern Conference Championship in 2010.

Last week’s schedule release tipped off the official countdown until training camp. If you haven’t seen our 2010 schedule, check it out here. How many of you will pack your bags & travel to Indianapolis on May 15th to cheer us on against last year’s Eastern Conference Champion? That’s a big opening weekend against two very good teams, so I’d love to see some familiar faces decked out in Mystics blue in the crowd!!!

Our eyes are definitely on the prize in 2010 (a championship in front of a packed Verizon Center crowd next September). Along with “lots of wins in 2010” here are five additional things I’m looking forward to in 2010:

• Reuniting with folks to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Stanford’s 1st NCAA Championship in Women’s Basketball
• Opening the 2010 season on May 15th against Indiana (and our home opener on May 21st against the Liberty)
• Signing a few top-notch free agents once the Free Agency period begins in mid-January
• Hearing about Greg’s pre-game speech before Marist’s January 8th game
• Catching more of Nike’s hilarious Kobe & Lebron puppet commercials

I’m also very much looking forward to catching up with our players during their brief trip back to the states for the holidays right after Christmas. The best part of the year is definitely when they are around, so I can’t wait until they are back in DC for good this spring. Check out their favorite holiday traditions on www.washmystics.com. Shhh…don’t tell Matee or K Mann there is no Santa Claus!!! What a great group of young women!!!

Well Mystics fans, thanks for making 2009 a special year for me. I appreciate you welcoming me with open arms & your commitment to this organization over the years. It has been a pleasure getting to know many of you & I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

We are looking ahead to great things this upcoming summer, so your support is more important than ever before. Make sure you renew your seats soon & encourage your friends to join you at the Verizon Center next summer.

From my family to yours…many wishes for a monumental, memorable, momentous, AND Mystical 2010!!!

Until next year….

Go Mystics,
Angela

Monday, December 21st - LaRhonda Lombardi shares her thoughts. [permalink]

I asked my friend (via text message) what I should blog about today and she promptly responded with "cats". While I was quite amused by this response, I am allergic to furry animals and would like to get through this post without needing to use my inhaler (which I have carried with me everyday since I was five…huge nerd, I know).

On my way to the Verizon Center today, my favorite radio station was counting down the top moments of the decade. It freaked me out that I graduated high school 10 years ago and could vividly remember every event that they mentioned in the broadcast. I realized that I officially sound like my parents when I attempt to give advice and share stories that involve me saying "when I was your age". I have a ridiculously long list of personal opinions about the progression of our society in the past 10 years and my own personal milestones, but I will save that for another time. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and will take the time in 2010 to slow down and enjoy the ride….I hope you all do the same.

Happy Holidays, Mystics Fans!

LaRhonda

Friday, December 18th - Natalia Isaac prepares for the Mystics holiday party. [permalink]

Hey Mystics fans!!

With Christmas and New Years Day right around the corner, you know what that means?? That means the Mystics season is right around the corner too! As you probably know, the dispersal draft for the Sacramento Monarchs was held recently and we selected Kristin Haynie. Sacramento was one of the WNBA’s original teams, so anytime you lose a team like that it’s sad for the league and its fans. Fortunately, we were able to add Kristin to our roster and hopefully all of her fans become Mystics fans too!!

Let’s see…what other Mystics news can I share with you? Ahh it’s Christmas time! Later today, we will be having our 2nd annual Christmas Party!! Woo hoo! What’s better than coming to work for a couple of hours, eating, playing games, and exchanging gifts? I look forward to competing in the Wii tournament against the Wii Champion: Greg Bibb. Word on the street is that he is a fierce Wii competitor that dusted the competition last year in every game. Will he defend his title? Stay tuned….

So, as the decade comes to a close, here are a few of my highlights:

1) Graduating from Temple University in 2002.

2) Meeting and working with esteemed colleague Dave Deal.

3) The internet becoming more important than running water.

4) The Isaac Family, the Kyles Family, and my Temple Family.

5) Being a part of the Mystics Family!

6) Crocs and Uggs.

7) Still holding the record for most 3 pointers in a game at Temple (8).

8) Reality TV!!!

9) The WNBA celebrating 10 years!

10) Barack Obama as our 44th President!

Happy Holidays All!!
-Nat

Thursday, December 17th - Greg Bibb checks in. [permalink]

The WNBA held the Sacramento Dispersal Draft on Monday. We picked sixth and acquired guard Kristin Haynie. The Michigan State product was the first round selection (ninth overall) of the Monarchs during the 2005 WNBA Draft. She has also played for the Atlanta Dream and Detroit Shock.

The former Spartan is her school’s all-time leader in assists with 574. During her senior season Haynie garnered Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America honors as well as All-Big Ten First Team and Academic All-Big Ten accolades while leading MSU to the Women’s Final Four.

Haynie joins our organization after averaging a career-best 5.2 points per game and 2.0 assists per contest while splitting time between Detroit and Sacramento last year. She also shot 83.3% from the foul line and will most certainly help our team average from the charity stripe. The Michigander is playoff-tested, having served as a key member of the Monarchs’ 2005 WNBA championship run. She should help our young squad in the “leadership and veteran way” departments.

I’m excited to see Kristin play and I think she will add depth to our talented perimeter. I believe our backcourt, which is already one of the deepest in the League, just got better. In particular, I think the competition to earn a roster spot at the guard position will be very healthy come training camp. Kudos to GM Angela Taylor and Head Coach Julie Plank for making a savvy selection.

Of course before we picked at six, five other teams made a selection. While I’m not surprised the New York Liberty took Nicole Powell with the first pick, or that the Minnesota Lynx selected Rebekkah Brunson at number two, I am a bit surprised the Connecticut Sun grabbed DeMaya Walker third. Walker, an all-star caliber player who has battled injuries the past few years, was selected ahead of Courtney Paris who went number four to Chicago. San Antonio then snagged Maryland graduate Laura Harper at five.

After we took Haynie, Tulsa took Scholandra Robinson. Los Angeles and Atlanta then passed, Seattle selected Chelsea Newton and Indiana and Phoenix declined to make a pick. The entire draft took just a few minutes, yet the distribution of these players will surely have a measurable impact on 2010 and seasons to come.

The remaining 12 teams are stronger than ever as every player, one through 11, will represent the most talented group of athletes to collectively play in WNBA history. With the elimination of the 11 players in Sacramento, you now have the best basketball talent in the world competing for just 132 jobs in our League. To say the WNBA will be competitive next year is a gross understatement.

I will be interested to see during the coming weeks if any of the players selected in the draft end up being moved as part of a trade agreement. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few selections do find their way to new cities, but that’s just my hunch. Regardless, the college season is in full swing and the 2010 Draft is coming quickly. Moreover, training camp is just a bit over four months away. Time flies when you are having fun.

Quote of the Week

“A leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must speak the language of the visionary and the idealist.”

Five Final (and random) Thoughts

• The Steelers loss to the Cleveland Browns last week official signaled the end of the NFL season for me. See you at training camp in August.
• Remember Elena Delle Donne? She’s averaging over 23 points per game at the University of Delaware. I think it is good for women’s basketball to have her back.
• I’m honored to be heading to Marist College to serve as an honorary coach for the women’s hoops team on January 8. I’m looking forward to my return trip to Poughkeepsie. Go Red Foxes!
• Roy Halladay instead of Cliff Lee….are the Phillies a better club next year? Interesting debate.
• Only eight more days until Christmas. Unbelievable.

Until next time,

Go Mystics!

Wednesday, December 16th - Chris Waldmann shares some more holiday cheer… [permalink]

Alright Mystics Fans, I know I told you I wouldn’t be back to blog until January, but consider this your first Christmas present of the year because here I am again! As I’m sure you all remember my last blog detailed my distaste for overdone lighting displays that sometimes may even be seizure educing. Well this time I’m back to report some more holiday good tidings about a little store called Wal-Mart.

First let me start off by stating the obvious, I do NOT enjoy Christmas shopping in December. There is nothing that I could describe as enjoyable about the process other than seeing people open (and hopefully enjoy) the gifts you got them on Christmas. Just think about it, fighting for a parking spot in the lot, walking about four miles to get to the mall, moving at a snail’s pace through the stores, small children crying, people knocking into you, never finding the one item you came to get…oh it is so much fun! Well Wal-Mart has decided to incorporate all of this greatness into one neat and tidy little package at their stores.

I was at my local Wal-Mart last night to pick up a couple of necessities as well as breakfast for this morning’s staff meeting. Thankfully I have a fairly good idea as to where things are in the store so I’m able to plan out my course of action before walking in the door. The first bad sign I received came when I went to get a shopping cart and there weren’t any there. After wandering around the lot for a few minutes to find a cart I entered the store, list in hand; ready to do my best at getting in and getting out. My shopping was done in a very prompt 20 minutes. I was proud of myself, and I began to head to the front of the store to check-out. That’s when I happened upon the longest lines I’ve ever seen at any store. You’d think people were waiting to meet the Pope these lines were so long. After surveying the scene I settled on a line and began the long, long wait. To paint the picture for you, this Wal-Mart has 32 registers at the front of the store. Of these 32 only 10 were open and operating. Of these 10 only three were non-express lines. So for all of us shoppers that were getting more than 15 items we had exactly three lines to choose from. At 7:26 pm I got in line. Shortly thereafter a heavily tattooed gentleman about my age got in line behind me. His 2 year old son (who was indeed sporting a mohawk) was also with him. After he used a few choice words in his complaints about the lines he proceeded to the drink cooler by the register and picked up a Starbucks Double Shot, opened it, and began drinking it. He then gave the can to his son so he could have a sip; now this kid was already jumping out of his seat constantly so I can see where his father would find it appropriate to give him some coffee as well. After he finished the can, much to the chagrin of his son, he walked back to the cooler and returned the now empty can. Not being one to involve myself in other people’s habits of stealing from Wal-Mart all I could do was watch the whole scene unfold with a look of amazement on my face. As soon as he’s back at his cart I notice an equally heavily tattooed woman walking towards us. I quickly put two and two together and figured this must be Mom. I have no idea why, but Mom was only wearing an unfortunately fairly transparent white tank-top and carrying a sweatshirt under her arm with some other items to purchase. Well she arrives, her husband tells her to go find her mother because he doesn’t have enough money to pay for what’s in his cart, she replies with something about needing time to “put some clothes on,” all while they both peppered their words with some choice ones that I’ll leave out, but felt bad about their son having to hear at the ripe old age of two! Well they eventually find Grandma who comes through with the cash and all was well in their little world. In the mean time the woman in front of me is constantly scouting for a new lane to open, to the degree that she’s climbing on shelves to get a better perspective from a higher angle. At the same time a female employee, who appeared to be about 96 years old, has closed her registered but remained at her post for over 30 minutes to restock plastic bags and clean the conveyor belt about 23 times. This undoubtedly did not go over well with everyone watching her or for the people who repeatedly walked up to her line only to be turned away and sent to the back of the line. Well, it’s now 8:22 pm and I’ve finally arrived at the front of the line. Rather than a hello from my cashier she begins to complain to me about how long the lines are. I responded with something to the effect of she should try standing in one for 56 minutes and why doesn’t the store have more lines open. She then proceeded to inform me that she was getting her break at 9:00, “no matter what!” So we finish up, I pay, I walk out, and I have no intentions of walking back into a Wal-Mart until the calendar says 2010.

So there you have it, don’t go to Wal-Mart. That commercial they have with all the lanes open, and all the cashiers smiling and turning their lights on and off to a Christmas tune is a blatant lie! That scene will never exist in real life and the only thing I felt as I walked back to my car was exhaustion and disgust. Thankfully I did all my real Christmas shopping online this year, I’ll gladly pay for some shipping and handling to avoid any more experiences like the one I had last night.

On a much brighter note I once again hope that all of you have a wonderful holiday season and that you’re able to spend it with the people that mean the most to you, because that’s really what this season is all about.

Happy Holidays!
Chris

Tuesday, December 15th - Julie Plank checks in. [permalink]

Hello Mystic Fans!

I cannot believe there are just 10 days until Christmas! My how time goes so fast… It seems like yesterday when we were battling it out with the Indiana Fever in the playoffs. The last three months were spent watching our 2009 games, evaluating the players on our roster, and brainstorming on ways to improve our practices and playbook. We have also been seeing many of the upcoming draft picks, either live or on film. It is a never-ending process of evaluating what you are doing and figuring out ways to get closer to winning that CHAMPIONSHIP in DC! There is not a day that goes by, that this is not on my mind, believe me!

Yesterday was the start of a “new year” for us however. The dispersal draft of the Sacramento Monarchs team took place (sad to say for that organization and their great fans). We were very excited to add Kristin Haynie to our roster! She brings a few things to our team that we are looking for in 2010. Kristin has experience as a back-up point guard in the WNBA, and has won a Championship in 2005 with Sacramento (her first year in the league)!  Any time you can add that “winning experience” to your team, it is a good thing. The other things Kristin will bring to our team are size, the ability to shoot the ball, and an up-tempo style, which is our staple. She is very excited to part of, not only an extremely talented team, but a team which has great chemistry both on and off the court. Welcome Kristin!!!

As many of you may be aware, January is the start of negotiations with free agents in the WNBA. This can be a very important step in solidifying our roster for 2010. We will be looking to add the following qualities to our team:

• An experienced, versatile perimeter player, who can play some PG
• Size & scoring ability in the post…posts with a multiple skill set
• Excellent defender with size, who can guard both inside & out
• Championship or play-off experience
• “Winning mentality”…players who love to compete & are driven
• “Team players”…unselfish, motivated, passionate, & fun

It is exciting for Angela and our staff to think about our roster options for 2010. There are a few players that we have targeted, who can help our team a great deal, and we think would absolutely fit in well with our awesome nucleus! We also KNOW that DC is a great place to be, with so much to sell…fantastic support from our owners, the best fan base in the WNBA, and an outstanding staff to work with, and a vibrant city with lots to do!!! I can’t wait till Jan.15th!

I know our current players are counting down the days, until they can come back home for Christmas! Many of them will get a week (or two) to visit family and friends before the go back to finish their overseas commitments. Marissa has talked about ALL her Christmas shopping she had done for her nieces and nephews, while Mo was busy ordering on-line! I certainly admire the sacrifices they make in order to get better. Matee and I were talking the other day, about how one year ago SHE was taken in the Houston dispersal draft. We continue to follow them each and every day, as Mikhail Ovechkin is on the computer constantly (or calling me), sharing their results! I am hoping to catch up with those who are in the DC area for Christmas, or speak with them on the phone over break. The best part for me as a coach is having that camaraderie with the players and staff. Alana thinks I am crazy, as I am starting to count down the days until training camp!

Our post players are doing well overseas this off-season too. Nakia seems to be taking after Crystal, and putting up those double-doubles quite frequently! I believe Lang’s team is still undefeated, and last game she had 23 pts at the half! Chasity just went over to Turkey, and started with a quality performance, both in scoring and in rebounding. She is playing with former Rutgers player, Epiphany Prince, who should be one of the top draft picks this spring. Bernice is contributing both points and rebounds on her team as well.

I will be in DC this entire week, before heading out to watch a couple of games before Christmas. I am really looking forward to spending Christmas with my Mom and family in Ohio. It is so weird, but for me, it doesn’t matter how old I get…”There is no place like home”! Of course, I need to finish my shopping, which will include a trip to the Verizon Center Gift Store, to load up on Mystics’ gear, as well as a couple of Ovechkin jerseys for my nephews. The Mystics’ blankets and fleece half zips were much appreciated last Christmas! I will leave you with my 5 “Questions of the Week”:

1. Which college women’s team will be ranked #1 at the end of 2009?
2. Will the Mystics sign 1, 2, or 3 free agents this off-season?
3. Which WNBA team had the best dispersal draft?
4. Is the Mystics gear part of your Christmas gift giving?
5. How many of you have bought Mystics’ season tickets already for ’10?

Happy Holidays to all of you! Thank you for your support in 2009, and I know that 2010 will be a great year for the Washington Mystics!!!

Coach Plank

Monday, December 14th - Dave Deal talks baby and BCS. [permalink]

Hello Mystics Fans and welcome to my second edition of the Mystics Pass the Ball Blog. Hopefully, you enjoyed (or at the very least endured) my first insert. Nevertheless, they invited me back so here I am to provide a little update of my latest and greatest.

First, a brief update on my personal life. If you recall, my wife, Jen, and I are expecting our first child, a baby girl, in early February. Jen is now in her 32nd week of pregnancy and is doing great. We recently had the baby shower and are very grateful for all the wonderful gifts we received. More importantly, it was great to spend at least a few hours of the day with friends and family, a luxury we have not been able to enjoy over the past few months. If you’re wondering, no, it was not a Jack and Jill party, so I (thankfully) did not attend. I did, however, stop in at the very beginning to say hello and wait for two of my buddies whose wives were attending. Upon their arrival, we quickly hit the door and ventured to one of the local watering holes for a quick bite and some adult refreshments. Good times by all.

The baby shower did make one thing very apparent: the baby is coming and coming quickly. I can’t believe the due date is less than two months away!! Time has flown by and ready or not, here she comes …

For what’s it worth, please indulge me to rant a bit about the current state of college football. I absolutely hate the current BCS system – how can you have three undefeated teams, regardless of the size of their school or program, not have any chance at the national championship? If you didn’t agree with it before, there is absolutely no doubt in mind that college football has become a business. The bowls bring the NCAA and each institution a ton of money and I get that, but I don’t see why you can’t have a combination of the playoff system and the current bowl structure. Probably more frustrating, at least for me, is the timing of everything. What other sport features a month layoff between the regular season and their “playoff” game? This absolutely drives me crazy. You can’t continue any momentum gained during the season and it usually takes over a quarter for the team to get back into rhythm. I understand why they schedule the bowls for the holiday break, but why not play an extra game or two or simply move back the start of the season? Hate the month + break in action.

Anyway, enough of the rant already. On a much more positive note, we are making terrific progress with our new camps and clinics program. I have discussed the summer camp program with numerous rec departments, schools, and independent facilities and have received tremendous response and look forward to a full summer of camps! Stay tuned in early 2010 for additional information including a list of locations and registration information.

I wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and New Year! Also, a quick shot out for a Happy B-Day to my brother, Slick – hope you had a good one.

See you in 2010!
Dave

Friday, December 11th - Crystal Hudson shares what she looks forward to during the holiday season. [permalink]

Hey Mystics Fans!

Well, the holidays are definitely upon us and everyone around is filled with smiles and cheer! Last night was the first holiday party I attended this season, which means I have approximately 37 more to go! You know how it goes…once you hit that first holiday celebration, the ugly sweater parties and Secret Santa gift-giving are seemingly never-ending. And I’m not at all saying that’s a bad thing. It’s just that Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me as I’m still unwinding from my New Year’s celebration.

And although I’m not much of the decorating type (my place manages to look the same no matter what time of year it is – boring, I know!), I do enjoy this time of year. So in the spirit of spreading the holiday cheer, I’m going to share a few things I look forward to the most during this time of year:

  • Seeing folks decked out in their holiday gear (especially the outfits donned at theme-less parties that leave most guests wondering if they showed up at the “ugliest outfit” contest being held next door).

  • Receiving the perfect re-gifting gifts (usually from distant family members who clearly haven’t kept track of my age and give me gifts 9 year olds would die for), because who really expects to get something good from your Secret Santa at the office holiday party?

  • Displaying all the holiday cards I received in the mail from my friends who appear to be just a tad bit more responsible than me. (For the record, entering adulthood is like the race between the tortoise & the hare…and it shouldn’t take a genius to figure out which of the two I most closely identify with.)

  • Having friends of the family thank me for the lovely card I did not send them (thanks Mom).

  • Anticipating the first snow of the season.

  • Watching in amazement as New York City frantically (and successfully) converts all decorations from the generic “Holiday” theme to the bright lights, shiny hats and goofy (insert year here) glasses for the imminent New Year’s celebration.

  • Trying to come up with new year's resolutions I didn't already make the year before.

  • Seeing a nice big tree in my mother's house in Brooklyn (and not having to worry about vacuuming any pine needles in my own place here in D.C.).

  • Spreading the holiday cheer to all of those around me...

    I hope you all have just as much (and more!) to enjoy during this holiday season. Happy Holidays, and all the best to each and every one of you in the New Year!

    Crystal.

    Thursday, December 10th - Greg Bibb checks in. [permalink]

    One of the challenges of writing a weekly blog is having something interesting to share. On the surface, this would seem easy…you take a week’s worth of life and you summarize it in a roughly one-page diary. The challenge, however, lies in the fact that what the writer finds fascinating is often times not the least bit interesting to the reader.

    Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all a bit egocentric. It is our human nature. As such, we assume the events of our daily lives will translate into “can’t put down reading” by those who take the time to visit our cyberspace. Unfortunately, truth be told, this is far from factual. What’s worse is when the content is obviously boring to even the writer. Then you have real trouble.

    Having now written in this space for almost two years, I realize that sometimes the content is not, shall we say, riveting; however, I do my best to provide insight into our business while sharing a few funny stories about my family life when they arise. On a rare occasion, however, life just doesn’t deliver the interesting escapades that are required for quality blogging.

    Thus, in the spirit of full disclosure, this week my friends, is one of those weeks. So, instead of stretching the truth, providing detail on the highlight of the past weekend (my trip to the mall with my daughter), or outright fabricating a story to tell, I’m going to take the easy way out and give you my Christmas wish list. I know, I know. This is a cheap way to fill the space. All I can tell you is, the Mystics’ “Pass the Blog” series is free, so at least you’re not making a bad investment or blowing your coin on a bad holiday gift that a loved one does not want.

    By the way, that last line is known as a segue, in case you didn’t catch it…see all of this creativity and a writing tutorial to boot…who said you are getting scammed here?

    Now without much further ado, or really much ado at all, my first (and hopefully last) official Christmas List (by the way, items will be listed numerically, one on a line, to maximize the amount of space dedicated to the list)….

    1. A healthy baby boy…due to arrive on April 2, 2010. 2. A merry Christmas for Adelyn.
    3. A merry Christmas for Addy that does not include a ridiculous amount of toys from the grandparents for which we have absolutely no room for at home.
    4. Two words for the grandparents in lieu of the toys referenced above: scholarship fund.
    5. A motorized scooter for my somewhat immobilized and completely pregnant wife….she had so much fun on one at Disney World, why not make it a part of her everyday life. Plus, I like biker babes.
    6. A pair of sneakers for Mystics Basketball Operations Manager Mikhail Ovechkin. His brother may be the world’s greatest hockey player, but Mikhail is the best basketball player I have ever seen who doesn’t wear sneakers while playing. I can’t imagine how good he would be with a pair of Air Jordan’s on his feet. I bet the Great 8 wouldn’t be nearly as good if he played hockey without skates. Think about it.
    7. A Penn State sweatshirt for Mystics Head Coach and Ohio State alum Julie Plank. Coach proved last summer that blue really is her best color.
    8. Shares of Hershey Chocolate Company stock for Mystics GM Angela Taylor. Someone who actively “participates in the candy trade” as much as she does should be getting some sort of return on her investment.
    9. The name of Mr. X…this makes absolutely no sense to anyone outside of the Mystics front office, but Ketsia, the time has come to come clean.
    10. Good health for Needa Rumberger (Editor’s note: Needa is the 80-something grandmother of the author’s wife who has beaten the author at Wii bowling for two consecutive years at the annual family holiday party. The author has vowed to claim victory this year and does not want any health-related excuses from the competition, regardless of age).
    11. More Mystics fans. The 11,338 who showed up to the Verizon Center on a nightly basis last season were fantastic, but we want more. By the way, the standard for being a Mystics fan is pretty high…you have to commit to be one of the best fans in all of sports. Period. And yes, I’m kissing up…after all, I have a Christmas list.
    12. Peace on Earth (I know another cheap one, but pretty much mandatory for this type of list, plus it would be pretty cool).

    So there you have it, my 12 wishes for Christmas. Which, by the way, have led me to an idea for next week…a re-write of the holiday classic, the 12 Days of Christmas! Just kidding, my pledge to you is to be back next week with something a little more insightful and a lot more interesting. At least I think so.

    Quote of the Week

    “There are two ways to face the future. One is with apprehension; the other is with anticipation.”

    Five Final (and random) Thoughts

    • Tuesday night’s celebration of Abe Pollin’s life was a memorable event. Kudos to all those involved in creating a remarkable ceremony for a deserving man.
    • Ugh! The Steelers are sliding fast. At 6-6, they will need to win-out over the final four weeks just to have a shot at a playoff spot.
    • The NHL’s best hockey team calls Verizon Center home. Keep it up Caps!
    • I feel bad for the football squads at TCU, Boise State and Cincinnati. I think there is something fundamentally wrong with a system in which an undefeated team has no shot at a national championship. I would like to see a college football playoff system.
    • I believe Stanford’s Toby Gerhart should win the Heisman Trophy; however, I think Alabama’s Mark Ingram will snag the award when the ballots are counted.

    Until next time,

    Go Mystics!

    Wednesday, December 9th - Maria Giovannetti shares a special family moment. [permalink]

    Hey Mystics Fans! Earlier this month I took a long (in distance and number of days off) vacation to Hawaii with some family members. My uncle, LTC Matthew Littlejohn, deployed to Iraq over a year ago with a unit from Hawaii. On his return back to the east coast, Hawaii was his stop for debriefing, testing, etc. We met him in Hawaii to welcome him home. In total there were eleven of us: me, my brother, two aunts, one uncle, two cousins, two grandparents and two grandparents’ in-law.

    Between the sheer number of people, the different generations, etc., you can only imagine the countless stories we brought back with us.

    I’ll share one story with you that was not so much funny as it was meaningful for me and my family. One of my favorite memories of the Hawaii trip was Pearl Harbor. My grandfather was a Marine during WWII and my uncle is currently a LTC in the Army. Going to Pearl Harbor with my grandfather who served during that time and being there with my uncle who had just returned safely from war was very moving. Seeing my uncle home with his thirteen year old daughter and three year old son after being deployed for so long was awesome. We didn’t say a whole lot to each other while we were at Pearl Harbor paying our respects, but we didn’t need to say much of anything at all. That night we all said thank you to my grandfather and uncle for their service. Today I’d like to say publicly to all of our men and women of the armed forces who may be reading this, thank you for your commitment and sacrifice in protecting our way of life both at home and overseas.

    While in Hawaii my brother and I got open water scuba certified! I’ve included a picture of our good looking dive group. I’m the only girl and my brother is to my left. Shout out to our friends, Kevin and Candice, who were amazing instructors. You must check out their scuba company’s website, www.bubbleheadsdivelocker.com!

    On the Mystics front, we have been busy in the front office. We have two new opportunities for you be a part of the Mystics family in 2010. The first is our 2010 New Year’s Pack that includes Mystics ticket vouchers, a drawstring Mystics bag, Aramark bucks, and more! The second is the launch of the Mystics Speakers’ Bureau. If you’d like more information about the New Year’s Pack and/or having a Mystics player or staff member speak at your next event call your Mystics representative today or 1.877.DC.HOOP1.

    Happy and safe holidays to all!

    Maria

    Tuesday, December 8th - Angela Taylor checks in. [permalink]

    Happy Holidays Mystics Fans,

    I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family & friends and that you’ve recovered from consuming quite a bit of food. I was fortunate to again be able to spend the holiday with my family and for those of you who are wondering, I actually cooked the ham AND made a banana pudding. With that, I think I am all cooked out for the next year. Back to cereal & waffles for me!!! Oh yea, and maybe some chocolate.

    For those faithful Mystics Pass the Ball Blog readers out there, let me apologize for the delay in posting today’s blog. Based on the league’s 1pm announcement regarding our Sacramento franchise not finding an investor in the Bay Area & therefore deciding to hold a dispersal draft next Monday, December 14th, I wanted to take the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    First, I want to thank the Maloof family for their commitment to the Monarchs, the WNBA, and women’s basketball since 1997. Their generosity & passion for their players and staff truly was extraordinary and will be missed in the league. I can honestly say that they have been exceptional both on & off the court. Danette Leighton has done a wonderful job running the business operation over the years and Coach Whisenant is a champion. While it is sad to see one of our original franchises depart, there are so many wonderful stories to share from the last 13 seasons.

    So in honor of the players & staff who committed the lives to making that organization great, I will share some of my favorite Monarchs memories:

    5. Conversations with Coach John Whisenant. He is a great guy who truly enjoyed coaching his players & did so with all sincerity. I’ve enjoyed learning from him over the years.
    4. There are too many to mention, but who didn’t enjoy some of the circus-like passes that Ticha Penicheiro made both during the regular season for the Monarchs & during the All-Star games.
    3. The 2005 WNBA Championship where the Monarchs defeated the CT Sun by like 2-3 points in Game #4. The Monarchs fans went nuts. What a great atmosphere.
    2. Ruthie Bolton & family singing the song “Mighty Ruthie” at games.
    1. The sheer joy you heard in the voices of the staff members (concessionaires, janitors, parking attendants, etc) when they were included in the list of people who would receive a championship ring from the Maloofs. It truly was a team effort & everyone who worked the championship was included.

    As a result of this, there will be twelve very talented teams competing for a championship in 2010. The league will conduct the dispersal draft next Monday, so our coaching staff will be researching the list of players who are available to be selected to determine who can help us achieve our ultimate goal of winning a WNBA Championship. I’m sure the league will release the official list of players eligible, but so you know, Penicheiro, Lawson, and Maiga Ba are all unrestricted free agents & therefore are not eligible to be selected.

    We have the #6 pick in the dispersal draft and the #6, #14, #18, and #30 picks in the 2010 College Drafts. Similar to our team improving as soon as we selected Matee Ajavon last December in the Houston dispersal, teams will certainly get markedly better as a result of the dispersal draft, so it is even more important for us to be aggressive in trying to recruit free agents to come to DC as well as hoping that we can steal an impact player at the #6 pick from the Sacramento roster.

    Speaking of great ownership…

    If you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, tune in to Comcast Sports for a replay of the 365o profile that Ron Thompson did on Dr. Sheila Johnson. It’s a very well done piece that reiterates what a truly amazing woman she is and how blessed we are to have the opportunity to learn from her on a daily basis.

    The past few days we have all been treated to some great college basketball as part of Jimmy V Week (http://www.jimmyv.org/). Every time I hear segments of his speech (“Don’t give up, Don’t ever give up”), I get the chills. I hope that if you have an opportunity, donate to either Jimmy V or The Kay Yow Foundation (http://www.wbca.org/kayyowwbcacancerfund.asp). Together we can help to find a cure for this disease.

    My second to last college football post….

    Will history be made this weekend when the Heisman winner is announced? Will announcers have to scramble to figure out the phonetic pronunciation of Nebraska’s star defensive lineman Ndmanukong Suh (try saying that name 10 times really fast)? After a season when no one player distinguished himself as the best player in the country, I think it will be really interesting to see who garners the most votes & takes home the Heisman trophy. I am somewhat biased & am glad that Stanford’s Toby Gerhart has been recognized as one of the finalist despite not being on anyone’s radar at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately, I don’t think that either Gerhart or Suh are the glamour picks that we typically see selected on Saturday’s in early December, so I see Colt McCoy taking home the prize…hope I’m wrong.

    Well, I hope everyone survived the first snow on Saturday. Maybe we will have a White Christmas after all.

    Until next time….Go Mystics!

    Angela

    Monday, December 7th - Nicole Boden recaps her Thanksgiving adventures. [permalink]

    Well hello Mystics fans. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed time with friends and family. I had a great Thanksgiving. In the beginning my Thanksgiving travels to Seattle felt like the movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I had to take the metro at 5am to the airport, I had to fly five hours to Phoenix and then another three hours to Seattle before my brother and grandmother picked me up from the airport to drive another 30 minutes to Lakewood, which is a suburb of Seattle. After all of the traveling I was exhausted, but it was well worth it.

    Since I live so far from my family I only get to see them a couple of times a year but its great to catch up and spend time with them laughing and going over old stories.

    Like so many other people, we decided that we were going to venture out on Black Friday. My brother, two nieces and I decided to get up at 4:30am on Friday to make it to Target by 5am. We thought for sure we would be the first ones there. We were wrong! The line to get into Target was down the street and the crowds inside were so overwhelming. I don’t like crowds so I rounded up the troops and we went over to Best Buy which was a little better but not by that much. You could see chairs and tents outside where people had obviously camped out the night before. This was impressive for so many reasons but most impressive because they spent the night in the rain. Anyone familiar with the Northwest knows all about the rain which my grandmother assures me is an urban legend and it doesn’t rain as much as people would like to think…oh ok grandma!

    All in all I had a great trip…I ate a lot and it’s nice to spend time with my family who I just love.

    I hope everyone has a great holiday season and we look forward to seeing you this summer at the Verizon Center.

    Take care,
    Nicole Boden

    Friday, December 4th - Chris Waldmann talks Christmas. [permalink]

    Season Greetings Mystics Fans,

    Well the holiday season is definitely in full swing now. This is something that’s become increasingly manufactured in my eyes. I’ve been seeing ornaments in Hallmark since July…July! And when the commercials, and music, and everything else starts around Halloween I just have a hard time buying into it. We’re turning Christmas into a four or five month build-up for a major event. We’re like the elves that start planning for next Christmas on December 26th! But enough about that, we’re actually into the month of December now, so I’ll give everyone permission to start getting Christmassy! Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I just feel like it loses something when we start acting like its here and I’m still walking around in shorts!

    So now that I’ve officially sanctioned Christmas activities, please allow me to touch another Christmas subject that is both near and dear to my heart…decorations. I’m only going to touch on the outdoor decorations. I really don’t care what you do to the inside of your home. If you want to make it look like the Christmas Tree Shoppe threw up in your living room that’s fine by me, I don’t have to look at it. However, I do think that more planning and consideration needs to be taken when decorating the outside of one’s home. This is a sticking point that’s been growing in me for some time now. Let me explain a little more.

    I live in a lovely little neighborhood right on the edge of the city line of Baltimore. Every year the community association holds a Christmas lights contest within the neighborhood. Then, sometime in February or March, we’ll receive the January edition of the community newsletter and see the results of the contest. (It’s not the best run contest in the world, but for my uber-competative roommate and myself its something we wanted to win – or at least receive an honorable mention or something!) Needless to say, we’ve never gotten so much as a consideration in this contest. Now we’ve taken some different routes in our choice of decorations, and have attempted to add to our display as the years have passed. I remember the first year we didn’t even know about the contest, hence the effort really wasn’t there, but for the past few years we’ve really tried, but to no avail! We are more of what I would call traditionalists when it comes to our taste in decorations. We feel that simple and tasteful is better than a sensory overload of lights radiating from your home. White lights, a reindeer or two, a few small lit trees to line the walkway, a wreath and some garland is what I’m talking about. Its tasteful, looks nice, and each element can be appreciated. The governing body of the contest does not seem to agree with us. The houses that have a 20 foot inflatable Santa, standing next to a giant inflatable snow globe, right behind an inflatable Mickey Mouse wearing a Santa hat standing amidst 400 strands of moving and flashing lights, well those are the houses that always seem to win! Honestly, one of my neighbors has an inflatable of Santa driving a NASCAR! C’mon, I’m pretty sure he’s still pushing a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, unless I missed the memo when Santa said he was joining the Sprint Cup. Anyways, I suppose my whole point is to not go overboard on your outdoor decorations. I’m not a fan of covering every square inch of lawn space with decorations, but if that’s your style, you’ll have a good chance of winning the lighting contest where I live!

    So to sum up my ramblings on holiday décor, keep it simple. Plus, you’ll save a lot on your electric bill for the month of December! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season and a safe and happy new year. Keep a look out, I’ll be back on the blog in 2010!

    Until then…Go Mystics!

    Thursday, December 3rd - Greg Bibb checks in. [permalink]

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It is always nice to take a break from the daily grind to spend quality time with family and friends. Tara, Adelyn and I headed back to Pennsylvania for the long weekend and had a great time seeing so many relatives and loved ones. Adelyn enjoyed her time with her Pop-Pop’s dogs and the special attention she received from her grandparents, aunt and uncles, especially the toe-nail painting party with Aunt Kate. My daughter is growing up way too fast!

    Now it is back to work as we push through the end of November and early December. It is hard to believe, but the 2009 season has now been over for nearly three months and we are just over four months away from the 2010 WNBA Draft. Head Coach Julie Plank and General Manager Angela Taylor are busy crisscrossing the country watching countless collegiate games, looking for the player(s) who will make us better next season.

    Here in the front office, we are focused on season ticket renewals and sponsorship sales. I’m pleased to report that renewals are measurably ahead of last year’s pace year-to-date. Our goal as an organization is renew at least 85% of our 2009 season tickets. If we can realize this goal and continue to grow our base with new sales, I think we will continue to be among the leaders in WNBA attendance.

    On the sponsorship side, we have nothing new to report just yet, but we are getting very close to several major new partnerships. Mystics Director of Corporate Partnerships Rob Hur and his staff have been very busy over the past month introducing our product to a host of new companies and I’m very encouraged by the level of activity and interest we are experiencing in this segment of our business.

    All of this work and the related developments are very important to be sure as we continually push to grow our business; however, sometimes events occur in life that help ground us all and aid us in putting things in perspective. Sometimes this news can be utterly positive and uplifting. Other times the news can be overwhelmingly sad and depressing. Last week, the Mystics organization experienced both ends of this spectrum.

    First the good news…the Mystics family grew by one on November 21 as Matthew James Ragan entered the world. The son of Mystics Vice President of Ticket Sales and Service Mike Ragan and his wife Jennifer is doing great and enjoying his first few days at home. Everyone in the Mystics front office is excited to meet him soon and we look forward to his first trip to headquarters.

    Unfortunately, this happy event was somewhat tempered last week by the loss of Washington icon Abe Pollin on November 24. Mr. Pollin was responsible for so many wonderful initiatives throughout our region while single-handling developing the sports landscape here in the nation’s capital. This of course, included the birth of the Mystics. Without Mr. Pollin, the Mystics would most likely not exist. While he sold the team to our ownership group in 2005, we will always be indebted to him for launching the franchise in 1998. Mr. Pollin is gone, but he will never be forgotten. He leaves behind a tremendous legacy of success and giving. From a personal perspective, I never had the opportunity to spend time with Mr. Pollin, but I work for the team he founded, in the building he built, along the street with his name. Like many Washingtonians, I feel connected and most certainly grateful.

    So we continue to sell tickets, welcome new sponsors, scout players and move forward, focused on our goals. The pace of daily life keeps us speeding ahead. Just as the circle of life continues to spin. Welcome Matthew James, we’re glad you are here. Goodbye Mr. Pollin, you will be missed.

    Quote of the Week

    “Lower risk sacrifices higher gain.”

    Five Final (and random) Thoughts

    • The Steelers need to get healthy and then get winning if a Super Bowl return is in their future.
    • The Caps keep on earning points, despite a slew of injuries. This all bodes well for late in the season when the full side is (hopefully) on the ice together.
    • I can’t remember a year where there was a murkier Heisman Trophy picture. Seems like no one wants to win the award.
    • I passed Earl Boykins in the hall the other day…I have at least five inches on him…what an amazing athlete he is to compete, and succeed, against NBA giants on a daily basis.
    • “The Real Housewives of DC” is coming to television. This follows “The Real World” taping here this summer…who would have thought Washington and reality would form such a perfect marriage?

    Until next time,
    Go Mystics!

    Wednesday, December 2nd - Tim Gallant gives us his top 10 Holiday reminders. [permalink]

    Hello Mystics Fans,

    I am here to bring you a quick Top 10 Reminders for the Holiday season:

    10: Never open gifts you see addressed to you from others before the actual gift giving day. Let’s just say I tried that once and almost received coal instead.

    9: If you are putting cookies out for Santa, make sure you make cookies your dad is not allergic to; it is not a pretty sight the next morning for some odd reason.

    8: Do not try and drink heavily for every night of Hanukah. Your work will suffer…Promise.

    7: If at a holiday party, please refrain from making that same joke you told last year that received a complimentary chuckle from your wife/husband. Instead talk about how you are reading David Sedaris’ Holiday’s on Ice, which in the Bohemian culture is the equivalent of saying you hung out with Brad Pitt.

    6: Ugly Sweater Parties are so 2000. Festivus Parties…so in.

    5: Pulling at Santa’s beard to check if it’s real…such a bad idea. Do you actually think a mall would hire anyone who didn’t have a real beard these days? Nope!

    4: If you insist on going to the mall, watch out for the 250,000 mothers strung out on a half hour of sleep in the last week, looking for the last Batman toy. Keep your hands inside your pockets as one of those moms may be hallucinating from 10 cups of Starbucks and mistake it for a Furbee.

    3: Christmas light shows are almost never worth it. Who wants to move 2mph looking at lights in the shape of polar bears? Instead, go see Avatar, coming out December 18th in a new 3-D format.

    2: If leaving your house at 2:30 in the morning after Christmas, watch out for the tree and fire hydrant behind you.

    1: Check out the different Mystics packages, and be ready for a wonderful season!

    Happy Holidays
    Tim

    Tuesday, December 1st - Julie Plank checks in. [permalink]

    Hello Mystics Fans!

    I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent the weekend in Ohio, enjoying the company of family & friends, watching the Ohio State women’s tournament, and of course doing a little Christmas shopping with Mom. No matter how much we travel as coaches (and yes it is plenty), I do have to say, "There is no place like home"! I love coming back to Columbus, and had the opportunity to see many old friends this past weekend.

    I’m really excited about the OSU women, as their team is ranked #3 in the nation, and playing really well so early in the season. It was great to see the finals of the tournament, as Ohio State faced a very young, but extremely talented Cal Berkeley team. I must admit, I am so very proud of all the former players that I have coached along the way, and I was able to catch up with Charmin Smith, who is an Assistant Coach at Cal (former Stanford player). It is fun to see how passionate Charmin is about her team, and how eager she is to make all their players better. I am very proud of what she accomplished as a player at Stanford, and now she is able to share her talents with the student-athletes at Cal. Some early thoughts from watching the start of the NCAA college season:

    • Connecticut & Stanford just continue to re-load every year
    • Auburn, Louisville, Arizona State, Rutgers, Tennessee, & Maryland (among others) lost some critical players to graduation & are counting on youth this season
    • Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, Xavier, UNC, Florida State, Duke, & Baylor (among others) continue to add to their already talented nucleus, and have more depth this year

    I am sure the long-awaited game will be December 23rd, as Stanford heads to Hartford, CT to meet up with the Huskies. What a game that will be, and a re-match of the semi-finals from last year’s Final Four! Not only will the game feature two of the best centers in the collegiate game (Tina Charles & Jane Appel) but also two of the most respected coaches in the nation (Geno Auriemma & Tara VanDerveer).

    Our Mystics players are continuing to play extremely well overseas. Crystal Langhorne’s team is still undefeated, and she is contributing in a big way! I just smiled, as I read where her coach said, "She is just so steady"! It is nice to see Alana "back in action" after sitting out for a number of minutes in the WNBA playoffs. By the look of her stats, she just picks up where she left off prior to her injury, with huge contributions at both ends of the floor. Nakia Sanford has returned to overseas play, coming off back to back double-double performances, as her Spanish team had a great win over a powerhouse Ros Casares team. Monique, Marissa, Matee, and Bernice are also playing very well for their respective teams.

    I just wanted to say I was very disappointed, like many of you, to see the Sacramento Monarchs leave the WNBA. What a great decade of basketball the team provided for so many fans in California! Hopefully, they can find an interested owner, as they look to relocate to the Bay Area. Thanks to John Whisenaut, Jenny Boucek, Monique, Tom, and Steve, as well as all the great players that contributed to the team’s success during the last 12 years. I can still remember the post-game celebration in 2005, when they won the WNBA title! What an exciting team to watch! The WNBA will certainly miss Sacramento and Detroit as we prepare for the upcoming season. There is one thing that you can count on in 2010…this WNBA season will be the most competitive season yet!!!

    I am looking forward to being back in the DC area around the holidays, to catch some college games, checkout the Capitals and Wizards, and visit with our current Mystics players, as they make their way home for the Christmas break. I am sure they are counting down the days…

    I will leave you with my Top 5 Questions of the Week:

    1. Will the Monarchs re-locate to the Bay Area?
    2. Will Langhorne’s team continue to stay undefeated in 2009?
    3. Who will be the first free agent to sign with the Mystics?
    4. Who will win the Connecticut-Stanford game on Dec 23rd?
    5. How many days until the opening of training camp?

    Until next time...Coach Plank