Catching up with Tamika Catchings
Whew! Where has the time gone? I've been on another whirlwind and we are now in the midst of our WNBA training camp. So first, a quick look back, and then we can look ahead to what's to come in the next month.
This offseason I played in Istanbul, Turkey, with Galatasaray. This is my ninth year overseas but only my second in Turkey. Playing overseas is a lot different than playing here in the U.S. because of the language barrier, the culture change and, of course, the loneliness of being without family. But on the court, basketball is basketball. And I get to travel to another country, learn about a different culture, and travel within the country. I essentially get paid to do things I love to do: play basketball and travel.
I especially enjoyed the friendships I've been able to develop in Turkey. We had fun on and off the court and there was never a dull moment. The food was good and I never had a problem finding something to eat no matter where I was. Unfortunately, we ended up losing in Game 4 of the finals. I hate to lose, but life has to move on.
Since I've been back in the States, a lot has gone on. After a few weeks to get my body readjusted to the time change, I started working out again and got right into USA Basketball training camp in Las Vegas. It was a lot of fun to be a part of a training camp that boasted players who will be on the 2012 Olympic Team. I participated the first day and then flew to Knoxville, Tenn., to deliver the commencement speech at my alma mater, the University of Tennessee.
It was such an awesome opportunity, and to be honest, it is surreal that I actually delivered a commencement speech and people actually listened to what I had to say! Leaving a legacy is what I focused on. I want to live my life to the fullest, and I also want to help others reach and set their goals and continue to dream. In my life I've had tons of people who have helped me along the way. I hope that I am touching someone else and giving him or her opportunities as well.
So, that brings us to where we are now: WNBA training camp. Camp opened on May 15, and it has been a lot of fun. Each of the 14 teams in the W is allowed to bring in 15 players for camp, but only 11 players will make a roster. Our camp is packed with all 15, and everyone has been going super hard to make this squad. I love being able to see the passion in everyone's faces.
Training camp will go until June 4, when the opening games will be played. If you haven't had the chance to get to a game, I hope you get to one this year. I always get the question, "What should I expect when I come to a WNBA game?" My answer: "Come check it out and then let me know what you think." Just kidding. I always talk about the passion that we play with, and how we are fundamentally sound players with pure shooters, great post players and an array of players across the league who bring excitement to the game. Of course, I'm a little biased, but I think 99.9 percent of the fans who come truly enjoy the game and the festivities happening on the court.