Port Wing, Wisconsin. Population: 164. Unincorporated. If you were to drive up into the northernmost places in Wisconsin, you may run into this tiny town. But don’t blink because you might miss it. Tucked away under the protection of the biggest fresh water lake in the world, I would have to consider my hometown a hidden gem along the south shore of Lake Superior. Growing up here I spent most of my time ridding my bike with my sister and dad during the summers to either the outdoor basketball court by the town hall or at the local high school gym. When I wasn’t running around with a basketball in my hands, you could have probably caught me swimming in the waves at the Quarry Beach where my mom recalls bringing us several times a day. I wouldn’t trade coming from a small town for anything. I have learned that work ethic is a vital piece to success because nothing was ever given to me; I had to earn everything. Opportunities were tough to come by, but it was my family who helped open those doors. My parents used to drive me over three and a half hours one-way just to get to my AAU basketball program practices, along with driving me around the country to attend tournaments so I could get exposed to college coaches. There wasn’t enough girls for an eighth grade girls basketball team, so I joined the boys team. I am so thankful for my hometown background and family. Both have made me the player and more importantly the person I am today. Most importantly, however, is my faith in the Lord – being a Christian has been my identity and foundation since as long as I can remember, and no matter where I end up during my lifetime I know that He is always with me. Speaking of ending up somewhere, I was miraculously found by the University of Iowa Women’s basketball coaching staff who offered me full scholarship and I accepted at the end of my Junior year. Fast forward through my senior year and I headed straight from my high school graduation to a whole new part of the Midwest in order to start my college career.
Whenever people would tell me that “time really flies by” I never really believed them. Until now. Four years later, and I can officially call myself a college graduate! It honestly feels like yesterday I was just a freshman in the dorms figuring out my way around campus. I have had so many amazing memories during my time here at Iowa; a foreign tour to Italy with my team, meeting my roommate/best friend, trying on an Iowa jersey for the first time, walking into my first lecture hall that had more people in it than my hometown, late night study sessions, visiting the Amana colonies, attending Iowa football games, yearly tropical Thanksgiving tournaments, decorating my apartment for Christmas, first NCAA tournament invite, summer workouts, an internship, a trip to Brazil and winning a Gold Medal while representing Athletes in Action/Team USA, chartering across the country while playing in one of the best conferences in women’s college basketball, a B1G Tournament Championship, Elite 8 appearance, getting drafted into the WNBA, and walking across the stage to receive my diploma. As I look back on my experience, I can’t help but be thankful for what has happened, grateful for my present situation, and hopeful for what the future holds. I am excited that I finally got around to sharing a little bit of my story from my perspective — and I hope that whoever is reading this will continue to follow along as I reflect on past experiences and how they have shaped me into the person I am today.
Trials and Tribulations
As I currently sit at my father’s writing desk back in my little hometown and away from the public eye (and let’s be honest, very far away from any kind of civilization at all), I can say that it is exciting and very easy for me to write about all the blessings and good things that have happened, but I know that it is even more important that I share some of the not-so-good parts in my life too. If any of you have heard about me, you have probably heard – or rather scrolled through social media – about my very recent experience with the WNBA. Upon getting drafted as the 17th overall pick to the Dallas Wings in early April, I spent the first three weeks of May in training camp working as hard as I possibly could to try and earn a spot on the opening night roster. Even though being in the WNBA has been a dream of mine since I was little, I can truly say that it was one of the hardest experiences that I have ever had to go through. Not knowing what will happen the next day, competing in a different and new position than what I was used to in college, and trying to keep my family and friends in the loop with how I thought things were going were just some of the things that I was trying to balance. I know that this not only took a toll on myself physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I also know that my family shared in those last two aspects 100%. Unfortunately, I was one of the last two players cut from the team less than 2 days before the opening game tip-off. To say that I am devastated is a big understatement, but I can also confirm that this has lit a new fire in me like NEVER before. I learned and improved so much in training camp, and I look forward to using this as motivation. As the sting of this new obstacle starts to dull, I can lean on the fact that God has everything perfectly planned out (Jeremiah 29:11) and I know that He will use this trial to make me into not only a better basketball player, but into a better person than I was before!
For those of you who have expressed your support, it means the world to me! I will write more about this experience in the near future, but for now I will just leave you all with this:
Don’t miss me too much WNBA, I’ll. be. back. This is just the beginning.