The Whole Nine Yards: Blog #3

(L to R) Molly Yardley and Liz Benedict sport their Origins skin care products.

(L to R) Molly Yardley and Liz Benedict sport their Origins skin care products.

Nov. 9, 2011

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.

"Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect."
- Alan Cohen

I thought I would start this week's blog with the Quote of the Day. This week is the ultimate beginning - it's the week of the FIRST GAME! The excitement has been building pretty much since last March when the last season ended, but it's like Christmas. The closer it gets, the more exciting everything becomes. That being said, new beginnings are pretty terrifying. The mere idea of starting something over can be pretty daunting for a lot of us, but as Erin Anthony reminds us a lot, "The start of something new brings the hope of something great."

We'd all just gotten used to the newness of the team. We were adjusting to a new style of playing, new drills, new names, and now it's time to start something new again. I don't know about you, but I have trouble starting new things. I dither back and forth about starting something, whether it's a book (I almost always start the book, obviously) or doing laundry (usually call my mom) or doing my homework (never start it before 10 pm), and by then I've wasted most of my time waiting to be ready to start. Fortunately or unfortunately, basketball provides no opportunity to defer the start time. Friday will be here no matter how we feel about it. Do you remember playing Hide and Seek and the feeling of excitement and trepidation that came over you when you heard the seeker shout out, "Ready or not, here I come!"? That is exactly how the start of basketball season makes me feel.

We had a great start this past Saturday against Villanova in our final scrimmage before Friday. Well, I genuinely thought we had played well, but once we started watching film I was beginning to wonder if any of it had been real life. Playing a Big East team comes with a lot of challenges: they were really athletic, VERY BIG, and boy could they shoot. But we competed with them for 70 minutes. Again our plebes made a great showing--Janelle Travis did a great job handling their press; Ciara Jackson, Ella Mason, and Olivia Schretzman all handled Villanova's size really well; and Stephanie Erskineput on her own scoring clinic at one point. So with last Saturday behind us, we are facing a week of practice to prepare for the start of the season. Ready or not, here Friday comes.

Following Saturday's scrimmage, we all wandered down from the gym to Col. Brazil's house. She is the team's head officer representative and occasionally allows us to invade her home and cook food in her kitchen. This weekend it was Jess Waggoner doing the cooking. I've never seen meatballs the size that they were on Saturday. I'm pretty sure she used a softball to measure the approximate size. Once we had eaten sufficiently, all 18 of us piled onto the two couches in their living room and settled into our food comas. We watched the football team take on Air Force (we won't discuss the result), ate Erin Anthony's delicious desserts, and as always, made fun of each other. It was a typical Saturday around here.

We are not the timeliest team in town, I should point out. We tend to run a little late for things, or take forever putting our shoes on before we start to warm up. More than once our strength coach Michelle Carrone has threatened us with running a suicide for every fifteen seconds we are late. In spite of this, we are still such experts at waiting. Even we, obstinate as we are, cannot defy time. So we have set to work preparing for our game against Wagner--learning their plays, preparing for their defense, going through their personnel. And we wait...

My dad reminds me that the timing is never going to be right, for anything. Movies and television have perhaps ruined my generation's view of timing--we think everything has its season, the prince arrives just in the nick of time to save the princess, that life-saving medicine comes out just when the hero is about to die. But there comes a time for initiative, because if you're going to wait around for the perfect timing, you're going to wait an awfully long time.

This week, we all found a little bit of extra incentive to get ourselves ready to start when the Patriot League preseason poll came out and we were picked to finish seventh out of eight teams. Eternal optimist that I might be, I knew we probably weren't going to be picked in the top 3, but seventh? In the wise words of Meagan Doucette, "REALLY?" In a way though, that one number, seven, was just the kind of catalyst we needed. It lit a spark. Fear not, we were excited to go the next day, shoes on even a little bit early. Very respectfully, Patriot League, we say no thank you to seventh. We can't wait for Friday now. I probably shouldn't tempt fate and say that we're ready, but we're as close to ready as we'll ever be.

As we START the season on Friday, I though perhaps you'd all like to get to know us a little bit better, one girl at a time. That way, when you inevitably arrive for ALL of our home games you might feel a personal connection to each of us. This week, we can start with Liz Benedict. It's always respectful to start with the oldest, after all. Liz, better known as Grandma (she will actually respond to it), in all seriousness defines Army Women's Basketball. She's hard-working, dedicated, passionate, and she consistently works to make herself and everyone around her better. Here are five things you probably didn't know about Liz:

1) She can name every episode of Top Chef ever - season, city, challenge.

2) She hikes - for, um, enjoyment. Seriously.

3) She is a great photographer and has started a photo project for the team room.

4) Her style might be described as "Euro-traveler meets forest ranger." She pulls it off though.

5) She and I both share an obsession with Origins skin care products and coffee. Our blood might be brown at this point, but the skin looks just fine.

Thanks again for checking in, and don't forget to come out on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. to help us get started!


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