30 September 2009

and people wonder why I am attracted to red heads:

28 September 2009

Hello. I'd like you to meet Sheryl Swoopes. A little background on Miss Swoopes:

Swoopes won a NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with the Red Raiders of Texas Tech. She was also honored as the Naismith College Player of the Year. To this day, Swoopes is considered "one of the best collegiate players of all time". Swoopes was the first player to be signed in the WNBA. Swoopes is a 4-time WNBA champion with the Houston Comets.She is a three-time WNBA MVP and a 3 time Defensive Player of the Year. She is also the proud owner of 3 Oympic Gold Medals.

A pretty impressive resume for any athlete. Sheryl Swoopes has long been on my favorite basketball players. The very first number I ever picked for basketball was 21, because she was 22. I couldn't pick 22 because I would never be able to live up to the real 22, so one less was what I picked. And she was the first women's basketball player to have a Nike shoe named after her: the "Air Swoopes". Those where the shoes I wore in high school.

Last Thursday, I had the honor of playing basketball with Sheryl Swoopes. She is living in Seattle and she started a 4 on 4 basketball league. A friend of mine asked me to play and I jumped at the chance to play basketball one more time during the week and obviously meet Sheryl Swoopes.

I walk into the gym and go over to her and say "Hi I'm Jen." She extends her hand and says "Hi, I'm Sheryl". She hands me a jersey and tells me that I'm going to play on her team tonight. By now, my heart is beating out of my chest and my hands are shaking I can barely lace up my basketball shoes.

So we play. And I'm focusing on my defense pretty good and Sheryl keeps telling me 'Great D, Jen!', and "Nice hands!" and a "great stop!". The 3 time Defensive Player of the Year is telling ME that I'm playing great defense? Wow. It's a tight game, way above any level of basketball I've ever played, but I'm trying to keep up. I hit the 3 pointer that gave us the go ahead lead with 1:07 left and then Miss Amazing does the rest. We end up winning by 6 points. After the game, I ask her where she wanted me to put the jersey. Her response? "Oh, I'm keeping you on my team. You'll need it next week. We play at 7."

Are you kidding me? She just told me that I, Jen Neill, am on her 4 on 4 team. I pick my jaw off the floor and say 'Oh okay. I'll see you next week then! Good game!'

So, if you call me on Thursday nights, I won't be able to answer because I'm playing basketball with my teammate, Sheryl Swoopes.