Oct. 24, 2011
Blog #1: The Whole Nine Yards
Junior guard Molly Yardley will take Army women's basketball fans on a journey throughout the 2011-12 season through her blog The Whole Nine Yards. Yardley is the Black Knights' top returning scorer from a year ago and only returning starter. Check back weekly to follow along with the inside happenings of the Army women's basketball team.
Welcome back, Army Women's Basketball fans! It's the start of the 2011-2012 season, and we're as excited as ever to get started. This summer saw your favorite team take on the world, quite literally - Liz Benedict headed to Africa and Erin Jankowski was in Australia--but we're all back now and ready to get to work. Our number one goal, you may ask? The Patriot League Championship, of course. I'm Molly Yardley, a cow on this year's team, and I'll be your tour guide this season on what is sure to be a wild ride.
This year's team is quite a bit different from the teams of the past few years. A good place to start might be with a quick breakdown of who we are. Here are 5 basic facts to help you get to know us:
1) There are 18 of us this year - 3 firsties, 5 cows, 2 yuks, and 8 plebes
2) Of those 18, we hail from 14 different states, plus Korea (For brevity's sake, I won't mention that Jen Hazlett has lived in 3 different states in the 18 months I've known her, but don't get it wrong, she's FROM Utah along with every other good thing that has ever existed...)
3) To enhance our competitive spirit, we set up Nintendo 64 Mario Kart tournaments, complete with a bracket. It gets real.
4) On any given day, you will find one of these three shows playing on the TV: Millionaire Matchmaker, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, and Teen Mom. Watching other people's lives keeps ours in perspective, I suppose.
5) We tend to speak to each other in a series of movie quotes; if it sounds like it is from Mean Girls, you're probably right.
There's no feeling quite like the first few days of practice, especially when you're a plebe. You forget that you've played basketball your whole life and the concept of running down the court while dribbling at the same time seems to be a Herculean task. Forget making a good pass, you're lucky if it ends up on the side of the floor you were intending. The basket feels a good ten feet higher than its standard height, and you start wondering if they change the rules in college, make the court bigger and the ball heavier. Then, thankfully, that first drill is over. Only two hours and twenty-five minutes left.
Have you ever noticed how "new" is exhausting? With only eight healthy returners and eight plebes, there is a lot of NEW at practice these days. New names, new drills, new chemistry, and most importantly, new Nikes. It's a brand new team. We graduated four of our five starters, including the force of nature that is Erin Anthony, so we've all ever really known how to be role players. There is that historical adage, though, that for the select few, adversity is just another opportunity for success.
Every day at practice, one player or coach has the Quote of the Day. It's a tradition that dates back a few seasons, and it's meant to help us focus and pump us up before practice gets going. You can tell a lot about a person by the quotes they pick; Coach Magarity tends to go back in time and quote a coach or player none of us has ever heard of (except for Liz who is herself vintage). Janks is always capable of pulling out a good Lou Holtz quote or two, given her affinity for all things Notre Dame. Meg Doucette has been known to spout off "African proverbs" on the fly. Kait Goodall is always prepared, but reads them too fast for it to sink in. Karleen Paulin (KP), the team inspiration, always finds something especially brutal that reminds me of that scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson pumps up his army of rebels.
I'll come right out and tell you all that I am the team nerd. I genuinely like reading books, particularly historical ones, and every book I own is highlighted and scribbled in. It would logically follow, then, that I have a few favorite historical figures. One of them is Teddy Roosevelt. Did you know he was born with terrible asthma and was in general considered too sick to ever go out and play with his friends? He turned out pretty well, despite the rough beginning. Personally, I admire him because he never listened to anybody, not his biggest fans or his loudest critics. Some people would tell you I just don't listen at all, but that's a story for another time. At any rate, this is going to be a big thing for us this year--not listening to all the people who will be ready to tell us we're not very good or very experienced. So to all those critics out there, I direct you to our Quote of the Day:
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
See you out in the arena.
GO ARMY! BEAT THE PRESEASON!