December 6, 2016
I was born in Virginia then I moved to Washington state for my senior year of high school. I have two older brothers, Harry and Russell, and both of them played dual sports in college. I am the youngest and only girl in my family.
I started playing basketball when I was five years old, and my dad was my first coach. I played with the boys at the YMCA. Those years of playing under my dad and with the boys helped inspire and shape my passion for basketball.
I started playing AAU basketball when I was in sixth grade and that was when I began playing with the girls. These girls were way better than the boys I was playing with. They were faster, stronger, and taller than I was. I guess you could say that trait of height does not run in family (haha), but these girls had all the tangible things I didn’t have.
Max Coates, my AAU coach and mentor, who recently passed away, saw something in me that he believed separated me from the rest of the girls I was competing against. These things he saw were the intangibles—the immeasurable and not physical traits I possessed. The intangibles were all based on the things I learned playing at the YMCA: have fun competing, be willing to learn and listen, have meaningful relationships with the people on your team, and always continue to grow and seek out growth in others.
The lessons that I learned way back then have brought me to where I am now. Those lessons are the reasons why I love Stanford Women’s Basketball.
Unfortunately, I have not had the ability to play this season. But I hope is that I can bring leadership to the other freshman, a sense of calmness and patience during times of adversity, and to be the best version of myself everyday. I understand that this is all a process, and my ultimate goal is to be completely healthy at the end of it.
I have truly enjoyed my time here so far. I have grown and matured in so many different ways. The reason why people choose Stanford is obviously because of the outstanding education, but in the face what really influences who you become in the future are the experiences you have and people that surround you.
I have been blessed to be surrounded by some of the most talented and compassionate people that I know. I have fun with them everyday, I enjoy the relationships we have built, and we all are steadily growing each and everyday. I am excited to go on this journey with this team and to learn from the best in the game. Go Cardinal!
With much love from #3,
November 18, 2016
However, what I failed to comprehend was exactly how different the lifestyle in India is from my own and what exactly I would be experiencing during my time there.
Everyday on the way to my volunteer site called Vidya – a school for underprivileged children without access to education – presented the perfect opportunity to observe everyday life. From the very first car ride, I realized just how different the Indian lifestyle was. First of all, no one uses traffic lane lines. Every car is unevenly staggered, aggressively accelerating even if only 5 feet of space is available ahead. There are motorbikes weaving in and out just mere centimeters away from other vehicles. People cross the street, slowly meandering throughout the traffic, but confident they won’t get hit amidst the chaos. Horns honk every 3 seconds and the occasional cow or elephant can be spotted lazily making its way through traffic as well. I’m convinced that street life in India is an art.
At the school, from grades pre-k to 11th, students rise up out of their seats to acknowledge us when we enter the classrooms. When we walk by them, each student says, “Good morning ma’am,” or “Hello Didi,” with a gentle wave and a shy smile. The more I toured the school grounds, the more confident and excited I became to start working. That is, until one of the teachers threw me in an 11th grade class and said, “OK you can start teaching them,” and then walked out.
I was left in the classroom with a fellow volunteer feeling extremely unprepared as all the student’s eyes fixed upon us in anticipation of what we had to offer. The students told us that they had chosen business as their area of concentration. In my head I was thinking “how in the world am I supposed to teach business to these students?!” I hadn’t taken a single business class in my life. I’ve also never taught in a classroom setting, especially to students only a couple years younger than me. So there I was, half a world away in India, standing in front of a class with no prior experience whatsoever, to teach English to Indian students whose English was already fairly advanced, and to also infuse some principles of business, which I knew nothing about. At that moment, I realized how underrated being a teacher was.
After that initial experience, my volunteer partner and I began brainstorming class activities and lesson plans. I had to adopt this aura of authority and wisdom for the students who were eager to learn, but in reality on the inside, I was terrified and doubtful of my ability to teach. However over time, each day of teaching became better than the one before. I’ve learned so much about India, my students, the way life goes on here, and so much about myself. I would have never imagined myself in a situation that I described above, but it has been nothing short of phenomenal.
In the classroom I was out of my comfort zone, but on the playground I was more in my element. Kids pulled at our sleeves begging us to play games with them. A group of little girls taught me how to play Kabuddi, the oldest game in India’s history. They squealed with laughter as I attempted to play, not knowing the rules.
I also had the opportunity to play some basketball. I remember doing a simple right handed lay up and everyone stopped and clapped in awe as if were some acrobatic feat. It was such a surreal experience. It’s hard teaching specific skills to the students because they’ve been playing basketball in their own style and rules their entire life, but I played along because basketball is basketball nonetheless.
Sometimes on the playground, I just talked to students who weren’t playing sports and just learned about their life. I’d ask about their plans after school and hear about the way they thought or the desires and dreams they had. What I heard was sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes amazing, but always interesting. Once I asked a girl about her henna on her hand. It wasn’t an intricate pattern at all and I asked why because usually hennas are elaborate. Her response was, “I am a simple girl, and only want simple things.” I loved that.
So whether I was observing from a car window, standing in front of classroom, playing my own sport in a foreign country, or simply just asking questions to younger children, I was constantly being introduced to new things. Processing all the information and flinging myself into situations where I have no clue how to respond left me utterly exhausted but also brought me to many new insights and discoveries about myself and about life beyond anything I’ve ever known.
March 8, 2016
Knowing Who You Are On and Off The Court - Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned is that basketball demands that you know who you are, whether on the court or off. We play the game of basketball and strive to do our best, but basketball does not define us – we define it. If we maintain this perspective, we are free to excel, not just in basketball, but also in all walks of life.
March 5, 2016
Y’all get to see us play every week but how much do you really know about us off the court?! Well… what better way to get to know us than to know which spirit animal each of us most resembles!
Alanna- a wombat! (small animal native to Australia). Alanna is a wombat because she is soft, cuddly, adorable, and…. Australian!
Alexa- a sea turtle! They’re laid back, go with the flow, and love to travel!
Marta- a poodle. Confident, proud, and spoiled.
Shannon- a giraffe! Tall and cute!
Britt- an elk. Very competitive with great endurance. Also a high sense of integrity.
Kaylee- a lioness! Because she’s always fierce, whether it’s the way she acts, looks, hoops, or any other aspect of life.
Bird- an elephant. Wise and peaceful but still enjoys having fun.
Bri- a dog! Loving, playful, and VERY loyal.
Kailee- a wolf. There’s no doubt KJ has her packs back!
Karlie- a cheetah. Marvelous, fast, and smooth!
Lili- a bear. Symbolic for strength and courage. Has strong grounding forces and provides stable leadership.
Alex- a sloth. She thinks for herself, moves at her own pace, and just likes to hang out and do her own thing.
Kiran- a deer. Calm, peaceful, and wise.
Tess- a raccoon. Crafty, smart, and willing to eat anything in sight. Also, as long as they are unbothered, they mind their own business and stay under the radar.
Hope that gives you guys some insight into who we really are!
March 2, 2016
I was imagining our road trips to be like the road trips I would go on during my AAU tournaments…lots of free time, shopping, seeing the iconic places the city I was in had to offer, etc. I love traveling and road trips were especially fun!
However, in college, I quickly realized that road trips for away games were very different. Traveling during season and in the midst of school barely left any free time to do anything. Between practices, watching film, team dinners, shoot-arounds, and of course lots and lots of homework, there was always something to be done at the hotel.
But as someone who loves to travel, I still wanted to experience some aspect and get somewhat of a feel of city we were staying in. That’s when I learned about Coffee Club.
Coffee Club, established by previous Stanford Women Basketballers, is a group open to anyone who wants to join. Every morning on road trips, Coffee Club meets in the hotel lobby before breakfast. Tess Picknell, Coffee Club’s president, searches for local and unique coffee shops to go to, and then whoever shows up for Coffee Club that morning; we all walk together to that coffee shop.
Consistent members of Coffee Club are myself, Tess, Bird, Hanna (our video coordinator), Kaitlin (our athletic trainer), John (our communications director), and Mary (our intern).
Coffee Club is such an awesome group. It gives me and everyone else an opportunity to explore and experience the city a little bit when time permits us not to.
Coffee Club gets me up early and has me feeling productive. It’s a great start to my day! Not to mention, talking with Coffee Club members over warm pastries and delicious cappuccinos unique to each city never fails to put a smile on my face…also Bird always seems to have a funny story to tell.
It’s a great bonding experience. I even remember one time a coffee shop in Spokane had board games, so we all gathered around a table and started playing Scrabble! It was so much fun!
Hopefully Coffee Club will continue in the upcoming year. Who knows… maybe after Tess graduates, I will become the next Coffee Club President?
February 15, 2016
A few weeks ago, after one of our practices, Bird mentioned the idea of a super player who had all of my teammates’ strengths. She would have:
However if one strength is lost the capability of the team declines. From seniors to freshman, in order to succeed everyone is needed. As we approach the last third of our season it will be fun to see how we will organize these strengths.
It may take a little while to see the full potential, but once we figure it out I have no doubt in my mind that this team will be stronger than ever.
-- Alex Green
February 3, 2016
Some people say Australian’s have their own language and on arriving in the USA in September last year I came to realize that this is somewhat true.
On my first day in Palo Alto I made my way to Target in search for some bedding. I proceeded to ask a store employee where the “doonas” were located. The look I got from the employee was a mixture of confusion and concern. I had to explain that a “doona” was a blanket used to keep you warm at night.
I have experienced countless more instances similar to this one, where no one seems to understand what I am saying. In an effort to help people understand some of the Australian language I have come up with some rough translations.
Doona – blanket used to keep you warm at night
Vegemite – delicious condiment that is commonly spread on toast with butter
Mate – a friend, more than an acquaintance
Barbie – Barbeque
Bikkie – Tasty biscuit
Bloke – man, guy
Brekkie – Breakfast
Crook – sick, unwell
Daks – pants, clothing worn on the bottom half of the body
Dunny – lavatory
Lollies – candy but not chocolate
Corkey – deep bruise, Charlie horse
Maccas – MacDonald’s
Spewin’ – angry or extremely disappointed
January 26, 2016
It is crazy being an upperclassman this year. I love my Junior classmates. This is our third year together, and I would not ask for anyone different to spend my four years of college with. Each one of us is very different and this makes us get along so great. To tell you a little bit about each one of us, I wanted to compare each of us to a dog look-alike.
I love dogs. My first dog was a golden retriever named Sami. My family now has a new puppy named Lucy. She is a black lab and no matter how big she is getting, she still thinks she is a lap dog. She constantly jumps up onto the couch and sits right on you. Here are what I think are not only dog look-a-likes for us five juniors, but also similar in personalities.
And just to throw in some dog pictures for the coaches:
January 25, 2016
It’s safe to say there’s never a dull day in the Sniezek household, granted, there are quite a few of us. To be exact, I have six brothers, two sisters, and two parents. When people discover that I come from a large family, I unfailingly receive a variation of the following question, “can you recite all their names?” I’m sure you were all thinking it as well so here it goes, my parents are Edwina and David, and my siblings in chronological order are Sarah, Edward, John, Joseph, Robert, Michael, Matthew, (myself), and Katerina.
Like I mentioned earlier, I could talk forever about my family, but I’ll try to keep it short. In my very unbiased opinion, my mom and dad are the epitome of great parenting, that’s not to say they’re perfect (no offense Mom and Dad), but they taught my siblings and me what to value in life and the importance of strong morals.
As for my siblings, well I can honestly say they’re my best friends. Since we’re all about a year apart, growing up together was quite entertaining. Imagine having recess all day, everyday with your favorite buddies. That’s how I would describe my childhood.
In many aspects, having a big family is quite similar to being a part of a team. I learned a great deal about communication, leadership, and togetherness, so much so, that I attribute much of my success to my family.
Although I miss them everyday, I know my family is proud of me, as well as my decision to attend Stanford.
And what’s even better, I’ve been fortunate to find a second family here at Stanford, my team.
January 21, 2016
The first time we went to Hawaii, the food was amazing, that was the first time I had experienced the gloriousness that is papua. At breakfast they had this coconut syrup that is just to die for. Two years later and I still remember that syrup, of course the win against Brittany Griner and Baylor at Hawaii was sweeter, but only just.
The team trip to Italy was simply amazing. I remember Aly, Amber, Alex and I got completely lost on the first day we were in Rome. But I think that overall the funniest part of that trip was when we were playing our first game. We were about half way through the first quarter and somebody had just delivered some water bottles to our bench, we all took huge drinks of the water, and then almost as one we all choked and spit it out, because unknown to us the water that we were given was sparkling water instead of regular water.
My Sophmore year was also my first year of coffee club, I remember one time Sara James, Mikeala and I walked 30 minutes in the middle of a wind storm before breakfast to get to the cafe. I think that might have been the best coffee I ever tasted…and then we walked back.
The Final Four was pretty awesome as well.
I think that one of the most memorable moments of my Junior year, besides the Connecticut win of course (Amber making the three to tie up the game will always stay firmly in my memory as most awesome moment of all time), is when we finally beat ASU in the PAC-12 tournament. The locker room after that win was crazy, plus I always love it when Bonnie breaks out her AC/DC Dynamite performance.
It’s been great so far, but I think that the best moments are still ahead of me.