Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New York Im Back In Town

  After a long hard season in Turkey, Im now back in the Big Apple ready to get the show on the road. Camp is just around the corner and I must say that Im the nervous for the first time in my entire career! Nervous about what you say? Well being that we have a new coach, new players and a new system is what Im nervous about! I know this isnt my first time walking into a new system with new players as I have been on 4 different teams in my career but you must remember that everytime I walked into a new city the teams were already set and all I had to do was sit back and learn the plays from the vets! Now here in New York, I AM THE VET! Now the tables have turned and Im the oldest player on the team and considered being a vet! Lots of rookies and players looking up to me for advice and leadership. Just to clear the air there is NO CHALLENGE that I cant step up to and conquer. Im ready to get out the house and start practicing with the team. This season I want to make sure that I can help this team get to the WNBA Finals! I know with the additions and changes that the organization has made has put us in a great position to do just that and Im ready to be apart of that.. So New York and New Jersey I suggest you get on the Liberty train and ride with us all the way to the finals! Lehhh Gooo Liberty!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gone Too Long...

   Hello my friends, wow so much has happened since we last sat down and chatted that I just dont know where to begin this story.. Lets start with my Libs not making it to the finals... Well we came up short in our quest to put the New York Liberty back on the map. Don't think that we r holding our heads down in defeat. Each one of my sisters can hold their heads high and say that each step we took together we gained some valuable experience along the way. To lose to such a team like the Atlanta Dream helps us to visualize the potential that we have to be that team next year. After having such a wonderful season, we face more adversity, now that our coach that guided us through every peak and valley that we have encountered this season is moving on to St. John's University, each and every one of us takes what we learned from her and try to perfect and improve on it. I went from New York to Atlanta to Tarsus, Turkey in a week. The trip sounds simple but it really tested me. Though no journey in life is simple, this one was deemed to be anything other than that...

       Leaving home is always hard when you feel like you never really got the chance to settle in. I had enough time at home to unpack the car, run around Atlanta picking up somethings here and there and pack up again for my next journey in this thing called life. Next stop Tarsus, Turkey! Traveling is suppose to be one of the easiest things about this job. Well it proved me wrong, I show up to Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson airport sad and just wanting more time to exhale and enjoy my home but excited about what could happen this year overseas. While waiting for the plane I do lots of eating my last meals! I kid you not I ate something from every restaurant in the terminal, savoring every moment of being on US soil. Then over the loud speaker they say that my flight is delayed... Im thinking no biggie, I have more time to eat and venture to the next terminal and eat something there. An hour and a half passes and I realize that Im going to miss my connecting flight out of Chicago to Istanbul. I proceed to the counter and have the Delta agent look at my flight and the status of the other one and he assures me that Ill make that flight! So I continue to wait, we finally board the plane headed to Chicago. When we get up in the air and are maybe 25 minutes into the flight the pilot comes on and says theres a storm headed our way and we are going to go around it. We made it around it and made it to Chicago, just 3hrs later than we were suppose to. Im frustrated angry and tired at this point because its 11pm EST, Im in Chicago's empty airport trying to figure out my next move. Someone says go to the International Terminal and go to the Turkish Airlines counter and see when the next flight is. I take the train from the domestic terminal to the international terminal and when I get there all counters are closed. Im like thanks my day couldn't get any worse. So I make a few phone calls one of them being to my agent and the other to Turkish Airlines, they tell me to come back to the ticket counter tomorrow they open at 9! Im like great now my next mission is to find a room for the night, I first head to the airport hotel. Standing in line waiting to get me a room the guy behind the counter says they have no rooms. Well just freaking great, next stop the courtesy phones, while there I have to wait behind about 10 other people trying to do the same thing that I needed to do. Finally its my turn, I swear I spent 15 minutes at those phones calling about 20 hotels tothe night. By this time its approaching 1am CST and as you can imagine Im pretty irritated, finally I find a room but its gonna cost me $300 for the night (actually for 7 hours). At this point, I cant complain I pay the money and go to bed thinking that tomorrow will be different. I wake up at 7:30 CST, get ready to head to the airport so that maybe I could be on the first flight headed to Istanbul. I check out and hop on the shuttle get to the international terminal and the Turkish Airlines counter is still closed. No worries, maybe Im just a little early. Needless to say I sat in the airport all day until I called Turkish Airlines and they informed me that there was only one flight to Istanbul every day and that flight left at 10:20pm and to add insult to injury no one shows up to the ticket counter until 6pm. I was heated... I get to the counter and they make me pay $400 because they have a no show policy.. I argued that my flight got in late and thats why I missed it but they didnt care. By this time I just wanted to get on the plane and sleep.. I owed it to myself at this point to upgrade to first class because I really wasnt in the mood to be all crowded in coach.
     After that whole ordeal I made it to Tarsus Turkey safe and sound.. My first month here was a trying one and there were many of times I asked myself why am I putting my self through this torture! Being considered a veteran at this overseas thing, I came to Tarsus expecting a few amenities that I thought were standard. I have a 3 bedroom apartment with one small tv(which I have yet to turn on) with no channels in English, a kitchen with no range or stove to cook on! I had to go up to the team apartment where there was a lady that cooked 3 meals for us. I must say I was really excited that I didnt have to cook and clean but that excitement disappeared shortly after I got here and the cook failed to cook any meat for like 3 days straight! Now lets be real an American eating meals without meat = bad attitude! Its kind of hard to practice and play with no meat in your system. Not only was there no meat in any meals the woman cooked portions for a family of 5 but there were 11 athletes attempting to get full. So as we say we had to resort in fighting for portions of food. I once asked why wasnt there ample food prepared for us and I was told that international portions are much smaller than those that Americans are accustom to. WOW! Its a good thing that Im able to cook and make myself a meal because thats what I have to do at least 3 nights a week because either there isnt enough food to get full on or there wasnt any meat! Preseason is over and now we starting to play games!
      The games roll around and my team is feeling pretty confident about our chances to win some games and make some noise in the Turkish league. We start the season playing against Botas who has Americans Whitney Boddie, Jolene Anderson, and Megan Frazee. We played terrible as a team, our defensive scheme was non existent and there wasnt enough points being put on the board. Needless to say we go back to the drawing board, the next game is in a week! Fenerbache is the next team on the schedule, they have Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor. We are clearly the underdog in this match,but what's hard for me to understand even though Im a vet at this overseas thing, is that coaches verbalize and act as if they know we are going to get beat and they dont really prepare us to go to war. Do they not realize that the underdog has a fighting chance to win against the top dog because the underdog is able to make mistakes and play free because they arent suppose to win. O well, we lose and management are going nuts! The turkish players are nervous about things being said to them! After starting the season 0-2 we go on this amazing 4 game winning streak beating teams like Istanbul University, Ceyhan, Kayseri and Samsun! We are feeling good about ourselves and playing with a lot of confidence going into play Galatasaray which host Doneeka Hodges, Seimone Augustus, and Sylvia Fowles. Coach has this great game plan of playing 3 post players and having me play the 5 but bring Syl out to the 3 point line. At this point Im like ok lets see how this works. We start the game great, Im taking 3's and making 3's, the team is just playing with such confidence that we go into halftime down 2. For some reason things change after halftime, could it be that the other team made adjustments and we didnt.. O yea that could be it. To make a long story short, Gala came out ready and hammered us, at the end of 4 quarters we ended up losing by 10 points.. You can say that us Americans were pretty upset because that couldve been a big bonus if we couldve pulled out the victory! O well whats done is done.. I tell you I have been though some things since being over here.
     First off I wanna start by saying to PETA if you looking for someone to arrest after this story just look for Dominique Canty or Shanna Crossley. After finally renting a car so that we can escape the city on our day off, we ran into a stinky situation. Well overseas there is usually an infestation of stray cats and dogs, nothing new to us. Well by our house there were tons of cats because my teammates would take scraps to them. Well we had friends in Turkey and we were trying to show them a good time so we were driving back and forth to the mall and the beach for a week straight. So after they leave we start to smell a strange odor in the car, of course me joking I say it smells like a cat!! We let it go on for a couple of days before Shanna and Dominique decide to pop the hood and see where the smell is coming from. What do you know we have a cat stuck in our car burnt to a crisp. We all agree that one day we are gonna try to get it out ourselves before we tell anyone. Despite our efforts nothing works, Nique and I take the car to the gas station(where no one speaks English) and attempt to play charades with them to let them know that there was a cat stuck in our car. Well once they look in it and see the car everyone begins laughing at us and they procceed to try to get it out. They tried spraying water in it to get it out, poking at it with sticks but nothing worked. Finally one guy went and got a plastic grocery bag turned it inside out and reached up in the car and snatched the cats remains out. I lost it, tears falling and the feeling that I was gonna vomit was all over me. After that we asked the guy how much for getting the cat out, shockingly he said nothing, but of course he deserved something. Nique and I give them a couple lira and head home! Christmas break is upon us!
     In all my years of playing overseas and all the cities Ive been to, I have never been so ready to go home for Christmas break than I am now. It really didnt feel like Christmas here until a few weeks ago when I purchased a small tree and some decorations. Then the president of the team bought me some Christmas lights and Ive been singing Christmas songs since. The only bad thing about Christmas break is that its 2 short. What can you do in 7 days? Im sure Ill find a way to do a months worth or work in 7 days. Thank God for online shopping because Ive been done Christmas shopping since the 1st of December!

    Well until next time people, Im wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Puhleeze be safe out there!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From The Country Side To The Big Apple

   Coming into the 2010 season for me there were alot of emotions. One I was stepping back on the court for the first time since having shoulder surgery! Not only was I coming back from surgery I was leaving a city that I so loved and an organization, staff and players where I found myself coming into my own. Oh Detroit how I miss you! I headed out west and traded in my red, white and blue jersey for a black, gold and red one. Welcome the Tulsa Shock! 
   I was enthused for the WNBA to have the ability to be seen by a new group of fans, but the excitement was short lived. Preseason and training camp came and went. We were working hard trying to learn a new system when there really wasnt a system! I found this a very difficult task for me because as most of u know Im the blue collar player that just does all the little things and play defense. Well in that system I never knew when I was gonna set a screen or when I was suppose to trap this person or even what type of defense we were expected to play. Not to mention Coach Richardson and I bumped heads many of times, over my style of play. There were days when I was in Tulsa that I thought my career was over or even that I had no clue how to play the game that I so loved. I asked for a trade.. I wanted to see if my thoughts that my career was really and truly over. Then came a blessing from above, a trade went thru that sent me to the Big Apple... Wooo hooo New York City.
  Wow Im now a New York Liberty. I couldve never imagine being a Lib because there was such a big rivalry between the Libs and the Shock! I never thought that I could love New York City due to the fast pace style of life, but Ive found my second WNBA home. I think most of the fans here were on the fence about a sworn enemy joining their team but they soon learned to love me. It was clearly a breath of fresh air for me to be reunited with Taj and be able to be in a system that I could be as successful as I was in Detroit. I remember coming in to my first practice as a Liberty player and turning to Taj and saying "I cant remember the last time I set a screen on someone". She laughed but I was serious, I thing throughout my time in training camp and the few games that I played in Tulsa I may have set 1 screen. Now that I have been here a while Im in the thick of things and picking up where I left off in Detroit. Now we are in the money time... Playoffs baby!
  We had a great run to end the regular season but now we are starting a brand new season. Nothing from the regular season matters anymore. We have a tough match up against a very experienced team in Indiana. We cae out strong the first game and Indiana took the L but game two Indiana showed their experience and played much harder than we did. I didnt get to impact the game as much as I would have liked due to the fact I was in foul trouble. It was quite funny to read on Twitter after the game that one of the Fever's fan say that I was called for fouls that I commited 2 years ago. O well I shrug my shoulders and continue to believe in my team. Now for game three, mark my word, I wont be sitting on the bench due to foul trouble this game. I will be out on the court willing my team to a victory. I will be setting screens, crashing the boards, taking charges and playing lock down defense trying to secure my team the victory. This wont be an easy task but guess what neither is anything in life. If you want anything in life its up to you to take the wheel and give it your all. Everyone on my team will be ready, everyone at the Garden will be ready. THIS WILL NOT BE THE LIBERTY'S LAST GAME OF THE 2010 SEASON! Lets Go Libs!

Follow me on Twitter @ppierson234!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Additions, New City

I've been gone for a while trying to get a handle on the obstacles that life has thrown at me. Well lets take it back for a moment, Tulsa training camp was the hardest preseason workout that I've ever been thru in my career. I mean at one point in 5 and a half days we had 11 practices. Talk about being prepared! 40 Minutes of Hell is no joke, Im sad that I didn't get the opportunity to fully understand the system and enjoy wrecking havoc on other teams. While trying to figure out Coach Richardson's system, we had a disagreement that was hard for both parties to recover from. Both sides tried to reconcile our differences but ultimately it was my decision to make a move and start over new somewhere. I felt as if I wasn't able to contribute to the success of the team and that I was holding them back. Everyone knows that when you are unhappy with circumstances that are presented to you, it can make something you love to do something that you dread doing. That was the point that I was at and I expressed that to Coach Richardson and he made the trade. Im officially a New York Liberty!
Wow, back in the east once again! It really feels weird now that Im on the east coast again and not in Detroit but I couldn't have asked for a better place to be traded to. I received the warmest welcome from the staff and players here that I've ever received. I've had so many Liberty fans send warm wishes to me on Twitter and Facebook. I think New York will definitely a place that I can call my basketball home. Everything happened so fast, I received the phone call from Coach Richardson that I had been traded on Monday morning and about 2 hours later I received a phone call from Blaze (NY Liberty GM) stating that they would like me to leave that night... Whew, I had nothing packed and hadn't figured out anything as far as getting the dogs and my car to New York. I explained that it was impossible for me to take a flight out that evening and I left early the next morning. I get into New York, head to my living quarters, then Im whisked away to my first practice. It was great but yet overwhelming to get out there and have to be on a crash corse on about 50 plays as well as learn what your new teammates like to do. I got thru it and felt better about the transition, Im anxiously awaiting for Friday when I can put on my Liberty uniform for the first time. Not only did I move to New York but I also had to change my number because we all know that Cappie Pondexter wears 23, so I changed my number to 331 I changed it to 33 because Scottie Pippen wore it and he was one of the best players that was known for doing all the little things that helped win games and thats what I want to do for the Liberty. I got a new puppy!
While in Tulsa, Hump surprised with a new puppy. I was so excited because I had been really down about the things that I was going thru. We named her Kylie, she's a Chihuahua and the cutest thing ever.
Thats all for now, look for updates after my first game as Liberty and also new pics! Anything else you want to hear about just ask and Ill do my best to answer your questions in the next blog.. I love my fans!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Transitioning In Tulsa

The much anticipated first day of training camp with my new coaching staff, new teammates, and new city. From the first day that I touched down in T town the people have been so warm and excited about our team being here. As most of you know Coach Richardson is well known for his system called "40 minutes of Hell". My teammates and I were very nervous about what to expect for the first day of training camp, much to our anticipation it really wasn't that bad. His practices are mentally and physically demanding. I say mentally and physically demanding because his system seems to be structured chaos, the only way you can make a mistake is to stop movement, at times we aren't quite sure what we are suppose to be doing. Good luck to all the other 11 teams trying to scout our offensive sets! Now lets talk about getting mentally tough... Coach Richardson has us running 3 laps around the court with our hands above our heads... Whew Im tired thinking about that! All the players that have been here and that are still here will both grow physically and mentally tougher as the course of the season goes on. Well as a veteran this year I have the upper hand on these rookies, as you know we drafted Amanda Thompson and Vivian Frieson. We have a lot of rookies on this years team and the vets decided to hand down duties to the rooks from day one. Well some of the rookies complied with the duties that were placed upon them while others were a little more defiant to the idea that the vets ruled them. So as the days went on and they became more and more defiant the vets were determined to really put the rooks in their place. We stole their car keys and then made them wash all of the vets cars. Yes we even had Marion Jones out there scrubbing the cars down. With all that said, life in Tulsa isn't so bad at all, I have great teammates and staff around me so we will be fine. We are finding our way on the court and we are very excited to get on the court and face another team to see what we can accomplish.. Watch out WNBA because the Tulsa Shock is coming through!

Friday, April 2, 2010

First Official Visit To Tulsa, Oklahoma

The time of the year has come that I must begin to start thinking about my move to Tulsa Oklahoma. Just recently I made my first trip to Tulsa to meet the staff, workout and unveil the new Shock uniforms. I must say I was nervous about this trip because Im a big city girl and now Im having to go to an extremely small city. I was worried it was going to be like when I landed in Lubbock Texas oh so many years ago. I was expecting to see cows, tumbleweed and just bunches of farm land. Tulsa actually is a very nice city, with limited entertainment. The first person that I met when I arrived at the hotel was my new teammate Marion Jones.
Wow, Marion Jones really is my teammate! What a honor it is to have the World's Fastest Woman(to say the least) playing next to me. On top of the sheer excitement that I was trying to contain, the first thing that she said to me after we introduced ourselves was that she follows my blog! DID YOU HEAR THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUTTA MY MOUTH? MARION JONES FOLLOWS MY BLOG(little old me)!!!! I guess I have some pressure put on these blogs now huh? Ill be sure to say nothing but nice things about her in these blogs! Okay in all seriousness, she's a very nice woman and Im thinking I cant wait to see her on the court.
Well I got my opportunity to see Marion on the court sooner than expected because the coaches called us in for a workout that very next morning. So Alexis, Marion and myself have us a mini workout that morning. For me it was just great to get back on the court after leaving overseas because of an injury. If I must say so myself, for those who have all these negative things to say about the league and even more so about the Tulsa Shock for signing Marion Jones, this woman is an athlete and will prove to each and everyone of her haters that she's not only a track star but also a basketball player. I know that all my teammates will enjoy playing with her, she's a hard worker and has lots of energy! The Tulsa Shock will surprise plenty of people that are overlooking us! Now on to the new leaders of the pack... This staff is no Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn or Cheryl Reeve!
Umm adjusting to the new style of coaching will be difficult for the players that moved in from Detroit. As most of you know, the coaching staff that we had in Detroit was truly one of a kind. I haven't really heard Coach Richardson get after someone but Im sure its nowhere near how Bill was. I think Coach Richardson philosophy will be difficult for a lot of people to handle! I say this because there is a strategy to all the running and trapping! Not only that, the fast paced game will tire us and other teams out, but my motto is nothing in life is suppose to be easy, so all I can say is that Im going to get out there and work hard on my conditioning and endurance so that Im not my teams weakest link. We look to have a great fan base out here in Tulsa!
The people in Tulsa are ready for this new team to come in and bring some excitement. When I say I was only there 2 days and there were tons of people asking if I play for the Shock and telling me they are going to be at the games. I cant wait for the first game to hear these fans get loud and blow the top off of the BOK center. While the fans are trying to blow the top off of the BOK center Ill be starting my process of giving back to the community. I will be getting involved with local youth mentoring programs throughout Tulsa attempting to be a role model that the kids can actually talk to and interact with. I will also try to get them out to the game and try to change their outlook on life! Wish me luck, this is something that I've been wanting to do for a long time and now Im finally putting this thing into action! Im urging everyone to come out and check out the Tulsa Shock because we are going to be exciting!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

God Bless America

Whew, I never thought the day would come for me to finally board that plane and head back to the good ole USA! This day didn't come without some trial and tribulations, if it did it just wouldn't be right! On Thursday, March 18th I was given permission to leave Israel and go home (jumps up and down excited)! Here's where all the problems start, I call US Airways to change my flight they inform me that if I want to leave on Friday, March 19th the change fee would be $800(difference in the price of the ticket) plus $250(change fee), I had to sit back and think how bad did I really want to leave Israel! I decided that I would check out my other options, well my other options were slim pickings because the next time that I could fly on that airlines was on March 27th and I had to pay $400(difference in the price of the ticket) plus $250(change fee), decisions decisions! I opted out out of both those options and just decided to purchase a whole new ticket and leave when I wanted. So when all my plans were finalized, my roommates threw me a going away party at our apartment and quite a few people showed up! It was the nicest thing that has happened to me by my teammates overseas. I had a blast and was sad to leave those guys! We will meet again soon!!
So on my flight home, I was so excited to just be on that flight that it was very difficult to sleep! Not only was I excited and couldn't sleep but the guy that was sitting next to me had the worst smelling breath ever. It seemed like it was messing with me, the smell kept finding its way to my nose no matter what I put over my face! Not only did his breath stink, when he fell asleep he slept with his mouth open and kept leaning towards me! How did I ever get so lucky? Usually like 30 or 40 minutes before the flight lands people get up and go to the bathroom and prepare themselves to see their loved ones. You know brush your teeth and wash your face, not this guy he slept the entire time until it was time to get off the plane! Instead of selling drinks and duty free items they should sell toothbrushes and toothpaste especially on these long flights! I really need to start carrying mints and gum on all flights just for situations like this one! Im running off this flight when it land, 11 and a half hours on a flight with someone with stinky breath makes for a terrible flight!
Home sweet home!!! Im going to lay on my sofa and watch every show that comes on until I fall asleep. I miss everything about America and my home! I never want to leave again, sike Ill be gone to Tulsa in a month!