I know it has been a while, but I have been trying to enjoy summer and spend as much time with friends and family as I can. That being said, I have been seeing everyone’s comments on my website and or Instagram asking when my blogs are coming back… and well HG is back! Missed y’all dearly!
Here’s a little recap of the past few months:
● 5/13/21- I was waived by Seattle. (I was upset it didn’t work out and couldn’t stay on the team, it was one of the coolest experiences. I learned a lot from the team and the coaches, what an awesome first training camp it was. So to the Seattle Storm, thank you again for everything!)
● 5/17/21-5/24/2021 - I returned to Chicago which was great! I got to see my family and friends, which is one of my favorite things. I made it back for the peak of summer when it started to really feel like summertime Chi. Summers in Chicago are one of a kind.
While I was home, I was trying to stay busy before I planned to leave for the overseas season. Other than training of course with Jeff in the mornings, I was thinking what to do to stay busy. Parents and younger players would always ask if I could do training lessons or host a camp, and this was something I was looking into getting started. But, before I could really dive into that this summer something exciting happened…
● 5/24/21- I was in the city visiting one of my best friends from Duke who lives here. Then, out of nowhere, I get a voice text from my agent in his southern accent, “Hey girl, call ASAP. Really exciting news.” I called him right away, OBVIOUSLY. I received the best news I could have ever received this summer. The Phoenix Mercury wanted me to be on a flight headed to their team for a roster spot the next morning!! It was a shortened contract due to Diana Taurasi getting injured and the team not knowing when she would return, but I didn’t care. I was in shock, overfilled with so many emotions and had a huge smile on my face. I wanted to make sure it was real by asking my agent multiple times that he wasn’t messing with me…it was in fact real. Seattle played the Phoenix Mercury in our first two preseason games. They were impressed with how I played against them. This just goes to show how hard work really does pay off, and in the W anything can happen. It’s important to always be ready. I hung up with him and immediately called my family.
● 5/27/21- I was rocking and rolling working out in Phoenix, learning their system and plays. I fell in love with Phoenix and the warm, WARM weather. I was surrounded by some of the greatest who play in the WNBA. Fan girl moment here, DT, Diana Taurasi has been an idol of mine and she was one of the coolest, down to earth people ever.
I went from playing with Sue Bird to DT… I am not sure many can say the same thing. It was a surreal experience. The whole team was nice, very welcoming and I still keep in touch with a few of the players.
● 6/1/21- The Phoenix Mercury play the Chicago Sky and my whole family got to come see me in a WNBA game. It was absolutely perfect. It was a pretty indescribable feeling. I remember when I was younger, my dream was to be a WNBA player. Here I am today, making that come true. It was amazing to play in front of my friends and family...I couldn’t believe it! My dream was a reality!
● 6/2/21- 6/10/21- My parents flew out and visited me for a little bit. It was really fun and nice seeing them. I got to show them around the city and Scottsdale which they loved. We spent the majority of the time by my pool just because it was too hot to do anything else. During the day it would get up close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so not much walking and touring was going on then. I took them to one of my favorite restaurants, Diego Pops. I highly recommend it if you ever visit downtown Scottsdale.
● While I was in Phoenix playing for the Mercury, the Phoenix Suns NBA team were in the playoffs. The Suns and Mercury share the same facilities, so us Mercury players were given a suite to watch the Sun play every time they were home. The atmosphere was crazyyy, and it was so fun to see the NBA playoffs live.
(Don’t worry, I still think Cameron Indoor has the craziest/best fans) While the Suns were playing the LA Clippers I got to see Luke Kennard, who is a friend of mine. We both came in the same year to attend and play at Duke. I obviously got to watch Devin Booker which was really cool seeing him play live. He is one of my favorite players to watch ever since his college days.
● 7/1/21- July came around and that was the end of my contract. Leaving was not easy. I really started to get used to the area, coaches, teammates and Phoenix in general. In the WNBA, teams have a roster cap of 12 players. On some teams, depending on the salary cap, there are only 11 players. So, when DT came back from her injury the team would have been at 13 players which isn’t possible. So that was the end of my contract, unfortunately earlier than expected. I learned a lot from being on the Phoenix Mercury and want to thank them for an unforgettable experience!
● 7/2/21- I got on a flight headed back to Chicago. I look back at the timing of everything now and what a blessing in disguise it all was. I made it home in time for July 2nd so I could drive up to Michigan to see my sister get engaged! Her boyfriend had everything planned and my whole family and his were able to see it. I was so excited, and let’s just say I went a little camera crazy. I am a sucker for love. I love romcoms and seeing my sister, Brittany, and her Fiancé, Colin, so happy makes me have a smile on my face. I cannot wait for the wedding next year! It’ll be one for the books for sure, especially with our crazy family…meaning lots of dancing. To Colin and Brittany…Love you both so much and so incredibly happy for you two!
I never would have guessed that this would turn into one of the best summers I could have asked for. It was hard having to leave Seattle and it was hard leaving Phoenix. I had gotten so used to having summers cut short. I usually would have to return to school early/mid-June for Duke and last year I left for overseas very early in August. I had plenty of time this summer to focus on my basketball training, getting my body right and actually resting as well. It was really nice. A little rest never hurt anyone, especially for someone used to constantly playing year-round. I needed it. After some time off, the training with Jeff started every day, going to EFT for lifts and preventive workouts were also happening.
This summer wasn’t all basketball focused. When I tell you soooo much family and friend time at the lake, I am not kidding, and I LOVED every second of it. Most of you know, but the lake is one of my favorite, if not THE favorite place of mine to go to. It is just so relaxing, and peaceful with not much to worry about. I would rather go up to the lake than on vacation… I guess I am a little crazy to say that, but I truly do love it.
Two of my best friends from high school, Kelly and Carol also played sports in college, which meant there were quite a few years where we facetimed more than we actually saw each other in person. Kelly has a lake house and a few of my friends also live in Lake Geneva. I was able to spend a lot of quality time with them at the lake. It’s funny because I spent more time in Wisconsin this summer than Chicago… but, I am not even mad about it.
Ahh looking back, so many exciting things happened this summer that I am so grateful for. For starters, my grandma turned 94 this year, my sister got engaged to an amazing guy, I had such a fun summer, and still played the sport I love. I am heading to play overseas pretty soon and with that comes all the nerves... good and bad. I know I like going, but it’s always really hard leaving friends and family for so long. Last year when I left it was peak Covid and no one was able to visit. I also wasn’t able to go travel to see my friends that also play overseas. With that being said, I am looking forward to having some of them visit this year which will make things so much easier mentally.
The next hurdle is finalizing my Polish citizenship. We have been in the process of applying for my Polish passport for the last year. My dad was born and lived there for a few years until he immigrated to the United States with his family. In the basketball overseas world, having dual citizenship is exceptionally helpful in many ways…. but the process itself isn’t the easiest. My dad has been a big help and we’ve made a few connections along the way. It is still a waiting game as all this gets processed. I am hoping to have this all squared away soon, and then I will be playing in Turkey. I know many of you reading have been looking forward to seeing me play again soon. Depending on how much longer this process takes the destination can also change, so I will keep you guys posted on that for sure!
I hope everyone had a good summer as well and ready to take on the chilly Fall weather! Stay tuned for more life updates coming very soon!