Hello Scarlet Nation: Hurricane Sandy Edition
Hello Scarlet Nation: Hurricane Sandy Edition
I would first like to say how saddened I am about the damage that Hurricane Sandy has created all along the east coast. As a lifelong Jersey girl, I still cannot believe the photos I have seen of our beloved Jersey shore and surrounding areas. I hope that everyone out there reading this is safe and sound. I am very thankful that all of my family and friends are safe (although many powerless). At Rutgers, it is almost surreal to see students being evacuated to the Busch and Livingston campuses- many sleeping on cots in the student center and gym. Even though I would have loved to be home with my family, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend the hurricane with my Scarlet Knight family on campus. I believe in Jersey and know that we will continue to stay strong and rebuild.
Although a devastating storm, Sandy did provide the best team bonding experience ever imaginable. Our team all lives in the same apartment building with the exception of the freshmen who reside on a different campus. However, per the request of the coaching staff, the freshmen all moved into our apartments to endure the storm with us. Although it’s great basketball-wise that all our freshmen are above six feet, it did create a challenge about where to have them sleep. We managed to work it out though- rearranging a lot of furniture and pillows. I had always thought that we were around each other a lot and that we knew one another pretty well. However, being stuck with thirteen other people for nearly seventy-two hours straight really allows you to learn more than you can imagine. For example, I never knew that Essy (Syessence Davis) could juggle or that AB (Ariel Butts) loves the movie Matilda (she watched it for two days straight, until all our laptops died and she had no other means of watching it). Speaking of juggling- Goat (Christa Evans), Kah (Kahleah Copper), and I all decided that we were going to learn how to juggle during the storm. What a frustrating task! Eventually, Christa was able to master it- and that is just another reason why I call her Goat (Greatest of All Time). Kahleah and I are still working on it. I also never knew how competitive of a board game player Kena is- be careful if you ever play her in Monopoly! You’ve been warned.
On the whole, our team is not an adventurous one. When not in the classroom or on the court you would most likely find us napping or watching a movie. However, the hurricane did provide some adventure for us. On Monday night as the storm began to intensify, a few of us thought it would be a good idea to head over to the dining hall to grab some food before we knew we couldn’t go out again. The dining hall is right across the street from our building and in normal conditions is no more than a five minute walk. So, Kena, Goat, Kah, and I bravely bundled up (after much hesitation) and headed outside to the dining hall. Our first challenge was opening the door to get outside, which was being thrashed by the winds. After some more hesitation and some strength we finally opened the door and went outside. The rain was falling and the winds were whipping powerfully. I looked at my teammates and was about to tell them that they were crazy and we should head back inside. Before I could formulate these words they took off in a jog sprint across the street. So, I had no choice but to follow. We had made it just about to the student center (the building right in front of the dining hall) and were feeling pretty good about our journey. Then the power went off on all of Livingston campus and it became pitch black. Kena jumped into my arms and Goat and Kah who were ahead of us ran back to us. We then all grabbed each other and in a panic, jogged sprinted back to the apartment. In front of the apartment we calmed ourselves down and huddled together. I was starting to say that we had made a valiant effort but we should probably just go back to the safety of our apartment. Instead, they all decided to continue on our journey to get food. So there I was, once again chasing after my crazy teammates. We eventually did make it to the dining hall and they were luckily still serving food. We picked up some subs and headed back to the apartment. By this time the wind had really picked up. Kena, Kah, and I (who are all on the smaller side, as far as our team goes) were struggling to fight through the wind. On the other hand, Christa with her 6’3” frame and brute strength was walking through Sandy as if it were just another day in the park. Luckily, we made it back to the apartment safely. This truly created a bond between the four of us that is hard to mimic. After our adventure the power was out and we spent most of our time playing board games, talking, and napping.
Now, for those of you wondering where the basketball part of this comes in, well here it is! If you know anything about Coach Stringer is that she lives and breathes basketball. If she could have us in the gym 24/7 she would. We knew that there was no physical way for us to have practice in the midst of a hurricane so we all were relieved to have a couple days off. Then we received a text message telling us to find a place in the building to run through our plays and some basic defensive concepts. So there you have it, even in the middle of one of the biggest storms in recent history, the Rutgers women’s basketball team was working hard to become one of the best teams in the country. We found an empty study lounge, used a mini basketball (one that Kah and I had been using to practice juggling) and got to work. We walked through a multitude of plays and really focused on getting the small things right such as the angles of the screens and cuts. We had two of these sessions, one on each day. We even had the freshmen write out plays so we could ensure that they had gotten them down pat. I was extremely impressed by the leadership displayed by Chelsey Lee during these times.
For the past two days (October 30-31) we have been able to practice at the RAC. As a team we are very fortunate that we have power and have been able to function almost normally throughout the storm. As I said before, I hope everyone is safe and comfortable in your homes. Hurricane Sandy could not stop us on our journey to a national championship and we don’t believe anything can this year.
RU RAH RAH,