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?



  1. No prob, Va! We be steppin'cuz these boots are made for walkin' all over those Vols!!!

  2. Va, according to eyewitness reports a
    woman was seen dancing the conga barefoot on the cold streets of northern virginia immediately
    after the Tenessee victory. We're taking your advice to heart! Go CARDINAL!!