Wow … what an exciting time to be a Tommie! The Anderson Athletic and Recreational Complex is scheduled to open this August. I’ve had the opportunity to tour the complex several times, and I am so excited and honored that our women’s basketball team will be among the first Tommie student-athletes to call this building home. This new facility will feature resources needed to take our program to the next level. We’ll have a state-of-the-art weight room, team room, our own locker room, meeting rooms and many other wonderful amenities … and our team will be playing the 2010-11 season in a brand new arena! What a fantastic time to be a St. Thomas student-athlete.
Our women’s basketball team is changing and growing as well. We became the first MIAC team in any sport to win three conference playoff road games in one week, and the first ever #5 seed (men’s or women’s teams) to win the playoffs. In an eight-day span, we competed on the road and ended the seasons of playoff hopeful Hamline (77-68), Macalester (60-52), Gustavus (63-60) and St. Ben’s (65-62 OT). We finished the 2010 basketball season with an NCAA berth, the only MIAC conference team to receive a bid for post-season play. We traveled to Whitewater, WI and played a tough Whitewater team. That game didn’t go our way, but I was so very proud of how hard we played and how this group stuck together.
Our team’s theme this season has been “Building on a Dream.” The goal was to have every player fully invest of themselves and take ownership in the team. I believe we’ve set a solid foundation for future growth and can build not only on the on-court accomplishments but also on the off-the-court investments.
Now we turn our attention to a new year. We look forward to continuing to grow and develop as a team and as individuals. Coincidentally, the new year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1991 National Championship. How appropriate for this team to celebrate its past champions while working toward so many of the same goals and aspirations of the women who came before us. We will recognize and honor the ‘91 team this coming February for all their successes on the court but more importantly for the tradition and solid foundation they built for the women’s basketball program at St. Thomas and which we now have a chance to put our face and stamp on. That’s the wonderful opportunity the 2010-11 women’s basketball team has in front of them. It is an opportunity I know we’re all excited to take on. We all look forward to the journey ahead of us and, with help from everyone who supports this program in so many ways, anticipate celebrating many successes together!
Emma, TJ and I recently enjoyed a family tradition together … watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade … our favorite part of the parade is always the big balloons. Macy’s holiday season theme, displayed prominently on its store, is “Believe.” The final parade entry was Santa on his sleigh … signifying the beginning of the Christmas season, certainly a time of belief.
As we watched Macy’s parade, I couldn’t help but think about this year’s team and our “season of belief.” We are in the process of believing unconditionally in ourselves as individuals and in our teammates, coaches and program. The only way to grow and thrive is through taking risks, being vulnerable, depending on each other and being willing to learn from our mistakes. If we believe and give all of ourselves to that goal, success will be achieved. It’s not always easy however. Our society often reinforces the notion of taking the easy way out … playing it safe, keeping options open and being unwilling to fully commit. Very little can be accomplished by acting in those ways.
The wish I have for my players is to develop a solid belief system. First and foremost, I wish for them to believe in themselves, their abilities, and the beauty that lies inside. Nelson Mandela, Noble Peace prize winner, said,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.”
Individually, I want each of my players empowered by who they are and to be ready and willing to offer their gifts to make the world around them a better place. As a team, I want us to come together to use our gifts for the common good and to act as one. Doing so will create a powerful and extraordinarily special experience. This coming together is where unconditional trust and understanding exist. The ability to put your faith in another person and believe in them allows the group to accomplish very special goals … and everyone is better because of what the team accomplishes together.
In this holiday season and beyond, it is my hope that you develop the belief in yourself to be the person you know you can be. Do not limit yourself and belittle the greatness that lives inside of you. Instead, use those gifts and talents to give of yourself to create something special.
Wow! What an exciting time to be a Tommie! Last spring following graduation, Opus construction began demolition of Schoenecker Arena, Coughlan Field House, and Foley Theater. Our women’s basketball players were the last ones playing and shooting in each facility. It is hard to let go of the past especially when the past is filled with tradition excellence and warm hearted memories. Many of us grew up in Schoenecker Arena, where we have won a National Championship in 1991 and 11 MIAC Conference Championships. We learned life lessons with teammates, coaches, and became who we are today. It is sad to see the arena go… but the pride, traditions, and opportunity for excellence is something that lives in all of us and will continue to live in our women’s basketball players. We will carry this forward.
Onto the future… this summer began the construction of the new Anderson Athletic and Recreation Center. This facility is going up quickly the outer walls are in place. With this building we are all asked to take part and bring our past, ourselves into the future. To build, own , and create a new name for Tommie Basketball. This building process is our theme this year. To be true builders of our St. Thomas program. What does building mean? Yes… it is the structural interpretation of constructin buildings to serve the community but there is also a deeper meaning. To be true builders means ownership, hard work, dedication, and a commitment to ensuring that the end result is phenomenal. Too many times we all play roles in our lives where we allow ourselves to be negative, we are there but not engaged and in the end we do not accomplish much. True builders are invested wholly, they are present each and every moment and maximize this opportunity, and they are invested in the end result. Making their team the best it can be. As I look forward to this season I am excited about the opportunity to build here at St. Thomas. Building a program with quality people. All of us here at St Thomas can be true builder s of our program.
Below is a poem that reminds me of the building process. Each of us has a role to play. We are looking forward to the future and all of its opportunities to be the builders we are!
I saw a group of men in my hometown.
I saw a group of men tearing a building down.
With a heave and a ho and a mighty yell,
They swung a beam and the sidewall fell.
And I said to the foreman, “Are these men skilled?
They type you’d hire if you wanted to build?”
And I thought to myself as I walked away,
“Which of these roles am I going to play?”
Am I the type that constantly tears down
As I make my way foolishly around?
Or am I the type that’s trying to build with care,
In hopes that my team,
WILL BE GLAD I WAS THERE!
When I was younger, I loved the holidays. It was my favorite time of the year. My favorite holiday was Christmas. Then it was a tie with Halloween and Easter for second. Now as I grow older I still love the holidays, a time for families to come together and celebrate. But, I have added another favorite to the collection…March Madness.
March is the best time of the year for basketball players, fans and coaches. March Madness is when dreams are made, champions are crowned and preparation meets opportunity.
Although the opportunity is in the present, the preparation began long before the season started. During the off-season, players are visualizing hitting the last second shot or scoring the big free-throws to win the championship game. In Schoenecker Arena our players worked endlessly for this opportunity. In each of these situations, their team wins and they never face the fear of the unknown. Now, in the present, players are filled with anticipation, anxiety and hope. It is exciting. Through these emotions, you see team determination, commitment, and care. This is team unity. As these emotions continue to build, you begin to see teams handle them differently. Some teams display uncertainty, hesitation and fear. Other teams show a will to win, a determination to be the best they can be. This is what I want from my team. This is why I am most proud of them. They understand the true value of competition. How the emphasis has to be on the process and being your best and giving it your best shot. They have learned from the journey. This is true celebration. Being your best, with people you respect and care for. What an amazing process!
At this time of year, it is important to remember the beauty that athletics brings with its ability to provide opportunity for its participants to grow, develop and be the best they are capable of being. At St. Thomas we are blessed with players, Alumni, fans, and people who have given their best to make us special! This is our beauty…the people in our program.
God has given us gifts and talents to use to our fullest. Let us enjoy the gift of the present at this time of year. Take chances and risks to allow ourselves to grow and be the best we are all capable of being.
Enjoy this time of year. It is a holiday! A whole month to celebrate what is great about athletics and basketball. I know I am excited, prepared and ready for the great month of March. My Tivo is set to record all the games. Make the most of the opportunities provided and be your best. Make it what you want it to be… Make it something special.”Llife is not the amount of breaths you take; it is the moments that take your breath away! “-Unknown.
The beauty in our women’s basketball program is the people. Each player, parent, coach, alumnae, booster and community member bring our program pride and character. Basketball is a lot like life – full of ups and downs, twists and turns. By playing the game you love, you learn a lot about life. This year our team read the book, “Make the Big Time Where You Are” by Frosty Westerling. From this book we learned the value of healthy competition, pushing yourself and teammates to maximum potential, and striving to be the best. The Basketball arena provides us with this opportunity of self-discovery, both individually and collectively as a team.
Our motto this year is “Play Like a Champion” with the expectation to give championship effort in all that we do. This goes against societies’ philosophy of number one or no one. We live in a credit card world where we get it now and pay for it later. This year our women’s team is all about commitment. A commitment to excellence, championship standards, each other, hard work, and making our days here at St. Thomas count. We wear the jersey with pride, purpose and class.
As the holiday season approaches, we all must take a look at what we can be thankful for in our lives. I can honestly say this group of young ladies is a blessing to me as a coach as well as our St. Thomas community. They epitomize the spirit of St. Thomas, as did the spirit of St. Thomas Aquinas, the entrepreneur, who believed in maximizing opportunities.
Our team is continuing to establish our identity and grow together on this journey. We look forward to what lies ahead and the excitement of being all that we are capable of becoming. God bless you and your family this holiday season.
Posted by Ruth Sinn 11/13/2007
When does a season officially begin and end? Officially, we began our 2007-2008 season on Monday October 15th. Unofficially we began after our final game last season when a group of our sophomore players decided they wanted more: more dedication, more purpose, and more from themselves and their teammates. So it began last spring in the weight room, at the football field with agility and conditioning drills, and in the arena for open gyms. It continued to build in the summer with leagues, individual workouts, more lifting, and more open gyms. As the ‘official’ season began this fall, it all came together with the establishment of a unified women’s basketball culture. Our culture is grounded with a shared vision of excellence. Excellence is each of us working towards maximizing our full potential, as well as, working together as a team to bring out the best in each other.
In speaking to this belief of excellence, our motto this season is to play like a champion. Everyday, whether we are in the weight room, classroom, or on the basketball floor, we give championship level effort and enthusiasm. Holding ourselves accountable is how we evaluate ourselves and ensure we are maximizing our full potential.
We are now in our fifth week of the basketball season and the past four weeks have been fantastic! Our hardworking, purposeful, and enjoyable practices and scrimmages have enabled us to make great strides as individuals and as a team. A true team is where everyone on the team has a voice, feels ownership and pride to the team, and contributes their gifts to the team unconditionally. Our team is a ‘true team’ and they are a joy to be around. I love coaching because of the people. Having the opportunity to get to know these young ladies is so rewarding. Their spirit, care and commitment to bringing out the best of each other sets them apart. They understand the true meaning of success. The journey!
Our first game is scheduled for this Friday November 16th. As a team with a vision and purpose, we are prepared and focused for the task at hand. We understand that this season, these games, are something we must work for, work through, and keep investing ourselves in being the best we can be. “Good, better, best; never let it rest till your good is better and your better is best”. We also understand that improving is all about change. Learning from our mistakes, and welcoming the challenges we will face with a belief and a certainty that we will succeed. We are ready to be in the arena… and dare greatly… for we know we will… play like a champion!