March 14, 2017

Memories of home

“Where are you from?” A common question, usually answered simply with the name of a city or state.

When I am asked that question the inquirer is met with a short pause and an uncertain “Wellll, I don’t really know...I guess I’m from the United States.” Cue the bewildered expression and nervous laugh from me as I go on to explain why my point of origin isn’t as simple as it should be.

My journey began in Newark, New Jersey. Most of my family still lives there but we moved when I was three. After September 11th, 2001, my father decided to join the military. Since then my family and I have lived in Arizona, Florida (twice), California, Japan and Virginia. I haven’t stayed in one state longer than four years but each place (at least the ones I can remember) parallels a significant period of growth for me.

I spent most of elementary school in Japan. It was amazing to experience living in a different country during those early formative years. We lived on a base but would go into the country to festivals, parades, monuments, restaurants, etc. One of my favorite memories was performing in an annual parade with the baton club at my school (very interesting choice, I know). I was so happy to be there with my silver baton, with it’s pink and red caps.

What I remember most about the entirety of my time in Japan was the food…OF COURSE. I have never been a picky eater so being surrounded by so many new and exotic foods was great. I was the first in my family to try sushi. I ate seaweed and dried squid. As you can see, and my parents would probably confirm, my favorite way to experience culture is through a culinary lens.

Living in California was absolutely amazing. There was always so much to do. I started playing basketball with my friends for our community rec team in fourth grade. My dad and I started our 6 am workouts there. Those morning workouts were the foundation for my career.

I played club basketball for the Cal Sparks and the Cal Storm during my seventh grade year. I was on those teams at the same time as Bird and Bri. It’s amazing that the girls I looked up to in my early basketball years are now my teammates and some of my closest friends.

Moving to Navarre, Florida was very hard to do. I remember leaving for our cross country road trip from San Pedro to Navarre. It was about three in the morning. We packed the car up and rolled away from our hotel. As we kept driving I watched my favorite places fade behind me. When we arrived it was some strange place. Everything was flat and sandy. There was only one two-lane highway that connected the entire area. The closest mall was thirty five minutes away without traffic. It was hot, humid and rained every day at 2pm.

Even harder than moving to the area, was leaving it. I have so many people there that support me and have become a part of my global family. The administration, my teachers, coaches, classmates and friends that I made at Choctaw and Navarre HS will be with me forever. I miss the beautiful beaches, the sweet tea that always had the right amount of sugar. I miss Whataburger and the gorgeous sunrises over the Gulf.

My life has been an arcade pin-ball game but has resulted in so many experiences essential to my character. Now I know there is a difference between a hometown and where my home is.

My home is at the old house on Campbell Street in New Jersey. My home is at Misawa Air Force Base, riding my bike up and down the street with my friends. My home is in San Pedro overlooking the Pacific Ocean, feeling the cool winds blow against my face. My home is at Choctawhatchee High School, walking the white and green halls of the Big Green Indians. My home is in Virginia surrounded by my family and so much history. My home is at Maples Pavilion.

My home is not a tangible place but where my memories lie.

— Nadia Fingall

March 1, 2017

To #24

This number represents pride, emotion, and passion.

When you first put on that jersey remember what’s on the front: “Stanford.” Take pride in the fact that you attend the best college in the world. A college that not only has the best academics and athletics but also one that has a student culture that can’t be matched. Stanford represents excellence on and off the court. Every time I got caught up in my own personal struggles I remembered how blessed I was to attend such a great university with even greater people. With this being said you can’t forget the past. Always remember the legacy that came before you. Stanford women’s basketball is built off of the history of greats that paved the way for your future. Players like Jennifer Azzi, Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, Jeanette Pohlen, and Jane Appel were all a part of this amazing, successful Stanford program and you will be a part of as well. Take pride in that.

When I was a junior I began to realize that I was never going to be Stanford’s top scorer or rebounder, however there was something that I knew I could be the best at and that was being the most emotional and hyped player Stanford has ever had. Every time I got an And1 or blocked a shot fans knew they were going to get a special treat. Whether it was me yelling at the top of my lungs “And1!” or just jumping up and down in pure excitement from a blocked shot people were going to see a lot of emotion. When you play know that #24 represents heart. I hope you knowing this gives you some type of spark when you play so that everyone can see again that #24 is full of energy and emotion.

Lastly, when you wear #24 always remember your love for the game. Not every practice or game will be the best and there will be days when basketball just seems tough but if you remember your love for the game, you will get through it. Allow this passion for the game to give you motivation to work hard every day. When you love the game, you want to do everything you can do to play at your best. So let that love drive you to always strive for the best whether it’s in the games or practice. When people see you wear that jersey, they should see your love for the game when you play. Don’t let anyone take that love away from you, because it will lead you to so many great things. When you wake up each day never forget you have the opportunity to play the game that you love, because one day you won’t. Basketball isn’t forever so when you get the chance to play it, play it with passion.

I look forward to seeing the great things you will do. I know you will do our number justice. Good luck and always have fun!

‐ Erica McCall