Saturday, March 30, 2013

DC, Bangkok and Catch the Stars 2013

Hi all,

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, but with the events in the last 2 weeks, I had to get something down for everyone to have a glimpse in my life. It has been super amazing, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to travel, meet new people and inspire young women and girls through sports around the globe.

It all started with an invite to participate in the White House’s “Women in History” panel and reception in Washington, DC. While waiting at the airport (delayed of course), I ran into Congressman Andre Carson and the Honorable Susan Brooks who invited me over to Capitol Hill… if I had time after the White House LOL. Already a great day!!

Upon arrival to DC, my agent, Shana, and I were whisked up and taken directly to the White House to get ready for the Women’s History month celebration panel. There were 150 high school boys and girls that were selected from a few local high schools to be a part of this event. The actual program and panel was a group of phenomenal women leaders who have and ARE making history. Here they are:

-       Valerie Jarrett- Senior advisor to President Barack Obama. Also, chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls
-       Avra Siegel- Deputy Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls
-       Alex Wagner- host of MSNBC’s “NOW with Alex Wagner”
-       Dolores Huerta- Civil Rights, workers and women’s advocate
-       Sarah Jones- Tony Award winning playwright and performer
-       Abbe Raven- Chief Executive Officer and President of A & E Television Networks
-       Suni Williams- Indian American NASA astronaut and a United States Navy Officer

Alex Wagner, Suni Williams, Abbe Raven, Valerie Jarrett, Dolores Huerta and I
Walking into that room and listening to these ladies was very influential and will go a long way in helping me as I continue on my journey. Once the event was over we all ushered over to the actual reception where we were able to take photos with both Mr. and Mrs. President Obama.

After the reception was over, I took up Congressman Carson’s offer to visit Capitol Hill. Shana and I met up with his two interns (from Indy too) and went up to his office for a minute before taking the route to the “floor” so he could get his votes in on different topics. I swear I met just about every congressman/woman that was in there as Congressman Carson ushered them out one by one or in groups to come and meet me. Talk about a special moment- WOW!!!
Honorable Susan Brooks, Congressman Andre Carson and I

We all went and grabbed some food and then it was time to go home. Talk about an adventurous, but great day. Super Amazing!!

The rest of the week was filled with workouts, meetings for my Catch the Stars Foundation and a few events. I started my trek at 10:30a Friday morning with a 1-hour flight from Indy to Chicago. 13 hours from Chicago to Tokyo/Narita. And, arriving in Bangkok 7 hours later at 11:30p on Saturday. Talk about a rough (but so worth it) travel day. I just couldn’t wait to lie straight in a bed LOL.

We had off Sunday so we decided to check out the Sky Train and maneuver our way around the city. We hit up the Chatuchak market and then finished our day with a visit to the mall, a great lunch/dinner and then back to the hotel to rest.

Monday we had a clinic with a few members of the Thai Paralympic Basketball Team at the US Embassy. While the language barrier was there at first, with the help of the translators and the excitement of the players, we were able to get through everything and teach them a little bit about ball. After the clinic, we took showers and then headed back to the Embassy to meet with Ambassador Kristie Kenney and do a quick press conference with the Embassy employees. From there, we met with a few students to talk about our life in America, struggles, and of course basketball. And, last but not least, we had another press conference announcing the beginning of the camp, where we ran into Jelly Bean Bryant who’s over there coaching. And, then we finished the night off with a Dinner cruise on the river. Talk about an eventful, but exciting day- and tiring.

Eb, Ambassador Kristie Kenney and I
Tuesday kicked off the clinic and we did that for the next two days concluding on Thursday. The coaches that were there to help us we’re absolutely AMAZING!! And, just having an opportunity to see the smiles on our young campers faces was worth the trip and so much more. We already knew the impact basketball has had on our lives, but this showed a totally different perspective for why we do what we do. Title IX has been an important aspect of our life here in America, but now our goal is to expand that beyond the borders and reach the WORLD!!

Friday we hosted our last and final clinic for about 20 girls at one of the local orphanages. You could see the questions in their eyes as we tumbled out of the car. But, within the first 10 minutes of the clinic we had them engaged and ready to roll. Gosh, I love this game!!

Well, I just landed back in Indy after another long day of traveling, but it was so worth it. Being able to be a Sports Envoy for the week and my involvement on the Women & Sports Council allowed me this opportunity and so many more ahead of me. I’m thankful that we were able to touch so many lives and I can’t wait til the next time!!

Check out these links for more pictures and videos:


Until the next time I write… God Bless!! Happy Easter : )