April 13, 2000
Summary Report on the Duke Womenís Basketball Teamís Takeaways for the 1999/2000 Season:
Eleven players responded to my e-mail request to reflect about the season and to share the most significant individual and team "take aways" or "learnings". I also asked them to tell me the most important "transfer" to their world outside of basketball.
Much of what they said is direct, profound and heart-felt.
Iíve identified five prevalent themes with illustrative quotes from the players.
"Sweet are the uses of adversity":
"Öthere is a reason for rain ÖI have begun to love the rain".
"I DID NOT EXPECT MY INJURIES, BUT I HAD TO DEAL WITH IT AND FIND SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT IT".
"Striving to prove people wrong".
"Öadversity reveals character".
Seize the moment:
"You don't know when your minutes will run out".
"Value every single day. Like Coach G said before every practice while we huddled: "Let's get better today".
"Öone should live each day to the fullest and never take anything for granted".
Awareness of self:
"Every problem, little or great, can be dealt with accordingly when
you start with yourself".
"Believe in yourself. Believe in who you are and what you can do, and that will be what gets you through the toughest of times".
"You can not control everything".
"I simply need to put my ego and pride aside and let (other qualities) come out. These qualities are self-sufficient and honorable alone, they just need a pathway out of my body (a door perhaps). In brief moments of genius this season, I opened the door".
"Realizing my own inner strength".
"IF WE CAN COME TOGETHER AS A TEAM WITH COMMON GOALS...WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS."
"A lot of things did not go our way this year, but we never doubted ourselves".
"Everyone was behind me no matter what".
"Our team has the heart to step up".
Not easily categorized:
"Different people have different ways of handling losses
and there is no right or wrong (way)."
"Life without basketball every day is kind of boring!"
"There are some things in life you can not control no matter how much
effort you put in".
"Itís scary now (because) Iím looking for the next chapter in my life and Iím uncertain about where and what that will be."
"I have to have more confidence in myself after coming back from my knee injury...I didn't this year and it held me back".
"Öbasketball dominates your life. You ride the high when things are going well, and I barely leave my apartment or answer the phone when things aren't going well".
Appendix: Full text of responses arranged by question.
What is the most significant "take away" or "learning" from the 1999/00 season?
It is important to believe in yourself. Believe in who you are and what you can do, and that will be what gets you through the toughest of times.
That everyone was behind me no matter what.
I think that I am on my way to becoming a great leader for this team. I feel that I've matured a lot this season, and am ready and excited for
next year's team already.
Ö just learning the system. College is so different from
h.s. it's all about adjusting. Time management was also important.
I learned that there is no reason to hold back. Give it your all every minute because you don't know when your minutes will run out.
I TOOK AWAY THE IMPORTANCE AND THE BOND OF THE TEAM. THESE ARE MY SISTERS AND I LOVE THEM DEARLY.
As a freshman the most important thing I learned was to
value every single day. Like Coach G said before every practice while we huddled "Let's get better today". Every day is important. The best thing for me to do was to try my hardest, make myself better, and make the team better.
You can not control everything
It was very difficult for me to accept the five new freshmen this year. I had been here for three years and had pretty much set my life and stuff. They came in and it was hard for me to let them in and get to know me. But as the weeks went by and I noticed a wall I had put up, I realized that had to change a little bit. I had a big problem with the age gap and I think that was my biggest issue. As soon as I hung out with them more, talked to them a bit, and got to know them...my relationship with them (and I think their respect towards me) improved drastically. I learned that you have to be willing to let new people into your old network of friends...and change isn't always a bad thing.
I learned that all of the possessions, attributes, qualities etc., that I need to have in order to be the player and person that I want to be are already inside of me. I simply need to put my ego and pride aside and let them come out. These qualities are self-sufficient and honorable alone, they just need a pathway or out of my body (a door perhaps). In brief moments of genius this season, I opened the door.
College basketball is different than high school basketball....the bodies you face are stronger and faster. Everybody you play against is very good.... another thing is......I have to have more confidence in myself after coming back from my knee injury...I didn't this year and it held me back.
For the team:
When Peppi, our best player, got hurt our team struggled. We really learned what it meant for a team to rally and pull together. We still were able to come back and have a great season. But, in addition, I think a huge lesson our team has learned is that great things will happen when you play as a team. We didn't have five all-Americans in our starting line up, but we had five women who knew their roles and were willing to work hard to execute them as best they can.
Last year it was a given who would step up and play well. This year it wasn't. I learned it took patience and time to develop my young teammates and that if we believed in them then they would too.
Everyone realized that they have to make the most of every moment.
I definitely learned patience.
Team - once again, adjusting and dealing w/problems, in particular the loss of Peppi. Striving to prove people wrong
When anything goes wrong, our team has the heart to step up.
We learned to believe in ourselves. A lot of things did not go our way this year, but we never doubted ourselves...even when we lost Peppi and 2 games in a row.
IF WE CAN COME TOGETHER AS A TEAM WITH COMMON GOALS...EVEN WHEN NO ONE ELSE HAS FAITH IN US, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS.
Different people have different ways of handling losses and there is no right or wrong
As a team we learned the most about ourselves after Peppi went out. We lost a key part to our team, struggled for a week, but we were able to pull it together and become a great team.
As a team I think we learned that adversity reveals character.
Like the ad says, "It's More than a Game". What is the most important "transfer" from this season to your life outside of basketball?
I think every child who is able should be given the opportunity to participate in sports, because I'm so glad I was. During this basketball season I've learned many lessons, but perhaps the most important would be realizing my own inner strength.
My life outside of basketball still centered somewhat around basketball cause I was around my teammates most of the time. But is was relaxing to get away from basketball once in awhile.
Not giving up. When you give up, it gives everyone an opportunity o surpass you.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TRANSFER IS DEALING WITH DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES. I HAVE ALSO DEVELOPED MORE PATIENCE. YOU DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE A SAY SO IN WHAT HAPPENS, BUT YOU DO HAVE A SAY SO IN HOW YOU RESPOND TO IT. I DID NOT EXPECT MY INJURIES, BUT I HAD TO DEAL WITH IT AND FIND SOMETHING POSITIVE ABOUT IT.
The biggest carry-over into my life from basketball this season has been that there is a reason for rain. Sunny days are always desirable, but if there were no rain I would have no basis for comparing sunny days. sunny days are so much brighter after it has rained. I have begun to love the rain.
There are some things in life you can not control no matter how much effort you put in.
Life without basketball every day is kind of boring! but I am able to focus more on school now and experience the life of a normal student Itís the most difficult for a senior who has to now think about the next step. Itís scary now cuz Iím looking for the next chapter in my life and Iím uncertain about where and what that will be. I think that quote is so true b/c as an athlete, basketball dominates your life. You ride the high when things are going well, and I barely leave my apartment or answer the phone when things aren't going well. it dominates my life in the fact that Iím tired a lot and that effects the energy I have for my school work... and injuries add to that if you have to spend time in rehab at all. catching up with friends that you haven't spoken to or spent much time with is big too. usually, after the season, I spend more time with my friends who aren't on the team and get those relationships back to where they were at the beginning of the season.
Earlier this season, around the first time we played UVA and our trip to Va Tech, one of my best friends back home was killed in an accident. It was very difficult to play since she was the other starting guard on our high school state championship team with me. I think I've learned how to keep some things in perspective...knowing that losing a game is very disappointing, but in the big picture it's still only a game. I think that this experience also reiterated the fact to me that one should live each day to the fullest and never take anything for granted.
That every problem, little or great, can be dealt with accordingly when you start with yourself.
Basketball in college runs all year compared to high school...and at college no one on the team gets any of the holiday breaks off...