Simmons Shoots for the Sky

Each season Sky fans watch eleven women live out their childhood dreams on the basketball court at Allstate Arena.

This Sunday, May 8, for the first time ever, the team will hold an open tryout at the Sachs Recreation Center in Deerfield for women hoping to become one of those select few.

For players such as Andrea Simmons, a former Lady Indian at Hyde Park Career Academy, having the opportunity to tryout for the hometown team is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s like a dream come true. I love this city, and to play the game I love for this city would be surreal.” said Simmons.

Born and raised in Chicago, Simmons began playing basketball at the behest of one of her older sisters: “She used to watch all of the Bulls games. She would hang off the edge of her seat during each and every play. I got a lot of my passion and love for the game from her.”

After starting to play in organized leagues at age eight, Simmons experienced success at the high school level.

“I [turned] down my opportunity to play for my high school varsity team when I was in my sophomore year. I was playing for the freshman and sophomore team at the time and I was one of their key players. It’s not that I wasn’t ready for the challenge; I just wanted to be loyal to my teammates,” explained Simmons.

Her goal now is to make the Sky’s training camp roster and use her strengths to her advantage. Simmons elaborated: “My expectations would be to play hard and leave it all on the court. I have been waiting to display my talents and this couldn’t have come better at a better time. My biggest strengths are my passion, emotion and drive for the game itself. I don’t believe for one second that our job on the court is done until the clock has zeros across the board. I like to push and challenge my teammates to go the extra mile. This is where success is built and champions are made.”

Simmons is enjoying the present but knows that her future will be defined by what she does now. “Long term after my basketball playing days are over I want to become a coach. I think a lot of young girls need to know that they can excel at anything they do, even sports. Nothing is beyond your reach. You just have to keep stretching.”

The Sky tryouts are filled to capacity and will be a difficult test for the 60 players attending. Head coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman will oversee the tryouts and plans to run them through a vigorous workout that should separate the contenders from the pretenders. This promises to be a day they will never forget.

For their efforts, each participant will receive a complimentary Chicago Sky practice jersey, gift bag, and ticket to a home game this season. Additionally, part of their registration fee will go towards the Chicago Sky’s charity Sky Cares. To catch up on all the action from the tryouts be sure to check back to www.chicagosky.net on Monday.