December 17, 2007

Step Up Your Game

One of the main reasons I got into coaching and chose to come back to Stanford was because of my experience as a member of the Stanford women’s basketball team. Playing at Stanford taught me so much about the game AND life and I have loved the opportunity to share some of those lessons with young people, specifically now with our Stanford team.

When I got word that I was charged the task of writing a blog for the Fastbreak Club, I admit my first thought was, “I’m going to suck at this.” But then I immediately thought of two of the biggest lessons I learned as a player at Stanford and now try to pass on to our team as a coach:
  • Lesson #1: Good teammates work together to make each other look good.                   

  • Lesson #2: If you invest everything in each other, your teammates will be your teammates for life. 
So my next thought was, “Yes, I would suck at writing a blog…but Va would be great!” So I texted Va and asked her to be my “Guest-Blogger.” She said as long as I proofread, she’d be happy to help me make the play…and, as usual, my teammate came through.  

So without further adieu…here’s The One, The Only, The Truly Incomparable, Vanessa Nygaard, coming straight to The Fastbreak Club from her coaching gig in the Da’ Bu…


So it has been a good long while since Stanford has been to the Final Four or won a National Championship. Cardinal fans, alumni, boosters and players don’t really need anyone else pointing that out.

As the years pass with heartbreaking losses and ridiculous charge calls, it is easy as a fan to sit back and say, “Well, wait till next year.” But instead of living in the past and hoping for the future, what about taking a good hard look at YOU, the fan of Stanford basketball. Have you ever considered that YOU might be the problem? Yes, YOU!

Maybe in the cosmic scheme of things you don’t just sit there and cheer, maybe you do have an effect on the game?

Are you in a rooting rut? Do you do the same things before games that you did ten years ago? Park in the same spot? Buy the same churro? Wear the same Fastbreak club t-shirt over your button-up shirt you wore to work? Maybe it is time to change it up? If this is the year that the Card wins it all, are you really ready????

Change is good! Don’t hold onto your old traditions. As Pearl Jam so eloquently stated, “Sometimes the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down.”

RELEASE…. And be reborn as a new genetically advanced, twenty hundreds, Internet ready, UBER-BOOSTER!!!!

So you say, “Vanessa, I don’t know how to do that. I love my faded red polo shirt and Una Mas pregame?”

No fear, I am here to help! Trust and learn. Let’s go….

First, you need a fresh outlook. What is a fan to you? Someone that follows the team and goes to some games? Or someone with a true commitment and insufferable loyalty to their team of choice? You can’t just sit back anymore and watch - a real fan, an UBER-BOOSTER is a woman or man of action! Here are some ideas to get you started:
  1. Tailgate – set up the BBQ, pull out the lawn chairs and get ready to cheer on the home team in true America sports fan style.

  2. Invade the Blogosphere! – Visit the East Coast blogs and fight the bias with some old fashion trash talk laced with west coast style. Example: You Huskies might have beat us this time, but at least our coach doesn’t look like a stunt double for French President, Nicolas SARKOZY!

  3. A tattoo – nothing says commitment like flesh art.

  4. Paint your car – make your transportation a mobile advertisement for your favorite team.

  5. Creative and organized heckles – I used to love when the Maples fans chanted, “Sit down Chris!” I am sure that you can come up with something that rhymes with “Tia,” and “Boyle” is a heckler’s homerun

  6. My personal favorite – name your next kid or pet something Stanford. Who wouldn’t want a bird named “Star” or a moose named “Carolyn”?
I hope these ideas get your booster juices flowing so STEP UP YOUR GAME, and I can’t wait to see the results. Who knows, maybe your new red Mohawk will push the Cardinal over the top?


December 10, 2007

Frequent Flyer


This year our team has accumulated quite the collection of frequent flyer miles: 6,000 miles to and from New Jersey, 750 miles to Utah, and another 6,000 miles from Utah to the Virgin Islands and back! When the coaches recruited me to play basketball at Stanford they said we would travel, but I never imagined it would be this much. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to travel all over the country to play. This year alone I will have been to three new states if you count our upcoming trip to New Mexico, and in my first two years at Stanford I went to Minnesota, Tennessee, Georgia, and Massachusetts for the first time. That brings my total to seven new states in just three years!

I must say that our recent trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands has been the most memorable. What better way is there to spend Thanksgiving than in the Virgin Islands with my teammates and family? Since we got the week of Thanksgiving off from school, we traveled straight from Utah to St. Thomas. That gave us a full week to enjoy all that St. Thomas has to offer. If you know our coaches, then you know we spent much of our time watching film and getting as prepared as possible for each of our three opponents. However, we still found our way to the beach a couple of times. Let me tell you, I sure could get used to going from practice to the beach for a few hours! As simple as this sounds, my favorite part of the entire trip was sitting on my balcony overlooking the ocean and attempting the daily crossword from the New York Times.

Even though we just played yesterday, I am already anxious to play Baylor! However, these next two weeks will be a great opportunity to catch up on all of my homework that “I couldn’t seem to find” while I went to the beach. [Jillian wrote this blog on Dec 3.] Thank you to those of you who follow our team so closely and are so supportive! See you at home versus Baylor.


Jillian Harmon

December 3, 2007

How time flies!

Hey everyone!

Let me start off by being cliche and saying that I can't believe that I'm a senior! But I don't mean that from a "how time flies" perspective alone (because the time has gone pretty fast). I really mean it when I think that only 3 years ago I was a freshman and a teenager, and now, in that short span of time, I am suddenly the oldest player on our team and one of the most experienced. The level of change and maturity in a short amount of time is unbelievable. And what really gets me is that this is my last year of playing organized, amateur basketball - after this, it's either play for money or play for fun (or have fun while you're playing for money).

I want to play professionally for a few years (overseas would be awesome!!!) and eventually go to veterinary school. Vet school is hard to get into, possibly harder than med school because there are so few vet schools nationally, but hopefully this Stanford diploma I'm about to receive will help me out a little. :)

We're into December now, which means finals for classes, the last of our preseason schedule, and then Christmas! So wish our team luck this year as we make another try at the Final Four and a National Championship. Especially come root for us against Baylor and Tennessee! We've never had such a competitive schedule before and we want our fans cheering us on through the whole thing!

Well I've got to go write some papers. Thanks for all the support and GO CARD!


November 23, 2007

Why I'm Zero

Some people think Gilbert Arenas is crazy. For the most part I do too. I can respect it though. You got to think all athletes have to be crazy. We put so much time into our sport, but most of us will never even make it to the top. I spend about six hours with the team everyday. I don’t get to have home cooked thanksgiving meals, and I only have about 2days for Christmas break. My roommate thinks that’s crazy. I respect Gilbert Arenas because of his great success story. He became something from nothing. At the University of Arizona he was expected to average zero minutes, so that was the jersey number he chose. He spent hours in the gym shooting so that he would be ready when he was given his chance. Arenas was finally given a chance and capitalized on it. The same thing happened to Arenas when he went to the NBA. In both situations he went from zero to hero.

All spring, all I did was shoot. I didn’t attend one outing with my teammates. My goal was to make 1500 threes a week. One day in early spring training, Candice and I were shooting together trying to get our 300 makes for the day. She was using Matt (our practice player) as a rebounder while at the time (because of my terrible shooting) it was more efficient for me to use the shooting gun. Candice got her 300 makes in about 30 minutes, it took me hours. I finally left the gym at 8:30, successfully reaching my goal of 300 makes. I texted Candice that night to let her know I finished. Candice always took me under her wing as a guard, but I think that day is when Candice and I started getting really close.

To me zero represents the athlete struggle. It represents the doubters, the haters, the non-believers. For everyone who thought I couldn’t hold my own in games, and that I wasn’t good enough. Every game I get into I need to prove myself. I’m no longer a star in high school, I’m a normal player, I’m a zero. My goal is to go from zero to hero, just like Gilbert Arenas did.

“I’m the peoples champ. I’m robin hood. This is the role I was born to play”

I want to give a special shout out to my mom Rochelle Murphy, my dad Joseph Murphy, my sister Monique Murphy, my friends Candice (birdman), Tiema, Charisma, Lauren, and Nyla for always believing in me.

November 13, 2007

What a welcome to the college game

Hey all!

The team just got back from the Yale/Rutgers east coast trip and it was amazing! We ended up going 2-0 by beating Yale last Friday and Rutgers yesterday. The Rutgers game was an incredible experience. I felt very confident going into the game especially after seeing everyone in our new stylish black jerseys (I absolutely love them by the way!)

From the tip-off we played pretty much head to head with Rutgers with neither team creating a huge lead. Then it was crunch time. It was 58-58 and Rutgers was going for the last shot. With 7 seconds left on the clock, they missed a three pointer. I grabbed the rebound and passed it to Candice who was fouled with 0.1 seconds left. We were in the bonus so Jayne, Candice, and I lined up at the free throw line. I had all of the confidence in the world that Candice was going to hit both free throws. She did and we won 60-58. We had upset the #3 team in the country!

It wasn’t until I got back to the hotel in which I put into perspective what had happened: In my second collegiate game, we had beaten Rutgers at the RAC on ESPN. Wow! Talk about a welcoming into the college game. But that was yesterday. It was only our second game and we have an entire season ahead of us. Therefore, we are going to learn from our mistakes and grow as a team so that we win the big games that really matter in the end. But overall, it was a great trip and I had a lot of fun bonding with my teammates!! Next we take on USA!


Kayla Pedersen