Hey, Sky fans! Welcome to On the Road with the Sky! Im Ronnie, the Skys public relations manager, and Ill be blogging this season about one of the best parts of my job: travelling with the team to all the away games. Ill keep you posted on the teams life away from home, and I promise you wont be disappointed. Youll get to see a side of the players that few rarely do, and they are guaranteed to entertain you.
Road Trip 1 - Seattle
Its the first road trip of the 2008 season and the team is flying all the way to the west coast to take on the Seattle Storm. The Sky has never won a game against the Storm, so the players were excited and looking forward to getting their first win against Seattle.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Travel days are always interesting. They usually begin with practice in the morning then the team loads up on the bus to head to the airport. Now one thing you should know about all bus rides is that although there is NO assigned seating, there are seats that are spoken for. For example, whatever you do, DO NOT sit in Chasity Melvins seat, which is four seats in on the left side. It is a ritual for many players to sit in their same seats for the whole season.
Because travel days are nothing but that -- just traveling -- the players find ways to keep themselves entertained, especially on this flight, which is four hours long. Imagine being over six feet and stuck on a plane -- not much room to stretch your legs. Magazines are passed around, iPods are on full blast, and some of the players are just knocked out. Once we arrive in Seattle, some of the girls are just giddy with restlessness after being on the long flight, so they tend to act a little silly. This time it was Candice Dupree, who serenaded the team (and anyone else who was within earshot) with her rendition of Mary J. Bliges Real Love. That is, with the help of her special back-up singers and dancers, Sylvia Fowles and Armintie Price.
There were a lot of changes on the team this season, so to start the season off right, the players and staff decided to wed all go to dinner together at Benihana. It was the first time at Benihana for some of the players, and the chefs were very entertaining. But the best part was that Coach Key surprised us all and bought our dinner, with only one catch. He had a question for the team: Are we going to the playoffs? The players response, in unison, was, Heck, yea, we are going to the playoffs!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
The day started for most of the players around 9:00am with shoot-around from 10-11 at Key Arena. Game day is very scheduled for some players: they go to shootaround, eat lunch, do some shopping if they can, take a nap, then get ready to catch the bus for game time.
I was able to talk Sylvia and Armintie into stopping by Pikes Fish Market, which is one of the more famous tourist attractions in Seattle. Once I mentioned to the team what we had planned, Coach White and head trainer Nick Rubel jumped on board. Syl and AP had never heard of the market so it was bound to be an experience for them. Each one took her turn catching a really REALLY big fish, which was a good laugh for everybody at the market! After the fish market we stopped at a local fruit stand that had the largest strawberries any of us had ever seen. We bought a carton, AP grabbed a bag of cherries and everyone picked out some nectarines and peaches. Definitely the best fruit stand in an WNBA city (that we know of).
We arrived at Key Arena around 5:30pm for the game. The arena was packed. The Sky led the Storm for most of the game, until mid-way through the third quarter when the Storm went on a 14-0 run and never looked back. Although we didnt leave the arena with a win, Coach Key talked the team about all they learned from the game.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Another travel day. Once we arrived at the airport and everyone had their tickets, the great ticket swap began. Ive learned that if they are over six feet, they want an aisle seat; if they are under they want a window seat. So those players who dont have the seat they prefer begin doing research on everyone elses ticket to see who they can persuade to give up their seat. Not the easiest thing to do, but eventually we all make it on the plane and head back home. Were home for almost three weeks home games (and lots of practices). So my next blog will be June 5-6 when we travel to Atlanta and check out the leagues newest team.