by Kate Starbird
I've been asked by a few people to send this journal entry of mine, read aloud by Charmin at the team banquet, Tuesday, April 15th. It wasn't ever meant for publication, just something i put down in my journal a few years ago. I gave a copy of it to Charmin during some conversation we were having. It was strange. There she was in my room, saying to me exactly what I'd written in my joural just the night before. I printed her a copy. Apparently, she kept it and remembered it, because at the banquet, just minutes before we were going to begin, she asked me if it was all right for her to read it.
Remember - this is not polished at all. My apologies - oh wait, i've been told to stop apologizing in my home page, so i take that back.
Tuesday. April 25, 1995
...I had some really deep thought about some totally unrelated thing this afternoon. Well, not totally unrelated. It was about teammates, and the strength of that bond, and why the hell it is so strong. I figured it out. Some of what we go through here, physically, mentally, and emotionally, is so painful that I don't think anyone could possibly do it alone. Not because they aren't strong enough, and not because they need the support, although these factors do contribute, but I don't think anyone could go through this thinking that they're doing it for themself. It wouldn't work. It wouldn't be worth it. I couldn't run three miles at seven in the morning and then do a weight workout that made me want to throw up thinking that I was doing it for myself. There has to be something more.
Teammates. Something bigger. Something beyond the pain, and a reward beyond victory, because, although that often seems to be the ultimate goal, it is not the ultimate reward. We do it for each other, and without each other, we could never do it. You can't work this hard and go through this much for yourself. So the teammate bond is strong, so strong, because it must be, it has to be the motivating factor, the thing that drives you, pushes you, and finally pulls you through in your time of need, and without it, the bond, there could be no team, because there would be nothing to work for, no one to work for, and no real reward besides hollow and short-lived victory. And the greatest thing of all is the fact that although games and tournaments soon become mere memories, friendships will always be there. The bonds last, when everything else finished, and are carried with us into the rest of our lives, and they are so strong, because we know that not only did we go through so much for our teammates, but that they went through just as much for us, and we know just how much that was.
Read about Kate's coach at Stanford, Tara Vanderveer, in this portrait of the three-time
National Coach of the Year winner and coach of the gold-medal-winning 1996 Olympic women's
basketball team. "Shooting from the Outside" chronicles VanDerveer's intense year-long
journey to Atlanta, her rise as a coach of women's basketball, and her work with twelve
unique women athletes.
Click the book to the right to visit Amazon.com, the internet's largest bookstore, where you can purchase "Shooting from the Outside".
"So much has been going on, we never could get on the same page, we never could be as one," Johnson said Friday after the players held a final team meeting during which he refused to accept a playoff share. "I was spending most of (my energy) fighting battles within the team."
"It seemed like every game, we had something else going on, every shootaround, every practice. That's what was going on here. You guys (reporters) don't know the half of it."
"We couldn't get it done. The ship had ton many holes. We had too much going on. Things just caught up with us."
Johnson refused to name names or discuss specific incidents.
Three players missed Friday's meeting -- starting point guard Nick Van Exel, backup guard Sedale Threatt and forward Anthony Miller, Van Exel and Miller didn't return from Houston with the team.
Van Exel was suspended for the final seven games of the regular season for pushing an official and forward Cedric Ceballos suddenly left the team in March with no explanation and missed two games.
The two-time defending NBA champion Rockets beat the Lakers 102-94 Thursday night to win the first-round best-of-5 playoff series 3-1.
"It's too bad, too bad," Johnson said. "We needed to be focused all the way to beat Houston. We were fighting each other so much. I'm not about that. We've got the talent. We've got to sacrifice more.
"Del (Harris) is a good man, a good coach. He gave us too much leeway. Hopefully next year, he'll just put his foot down. I'm sure he will. He'll look at this year."
Johnson, who turns 37 in August, said right now, his choices is to return as a player next year, and he hopes it's with the Lakers. Jerry West, the Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations, said a decision about Johnson's future will be made in the next few months.
Johnson said he wants to play more at point guard.
"I can't go out like this, I don't want to," he said. "This is not my style, this is not what I came back for. I don't know what I'm going to do. As of today, I want to play next year. I just want to win. I don't have to be a starter. I have to play better."
Johnson led the Lakers to five championships and nine berths in the NBA Finals in 12 years before retiring in November 1991 after learning he had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.
Florida State missed a shot. Six-foot, five-inch forward Les Henson grabbed the rebound. With just one second remaining, he turned and threw the ball eighty-nine feet, three inches -- the full length of the court. Swish! His amazing shot caused the net to ripple only slightly as the ball passed through the hoop.
The horn sounded. The scoreboard flashed the final score: Virginia Tech 79, Florida State 77. The gymnasium erupted in pandemonium, with the Tech fans screaming their approval.
Tech's coach was on the floor, incoherent, and the players jumped on each other's backs. Everybody associated with Virginia Tech was in a state of euphoria, except Les, who sat quietly on the bench.
Reporters swarmed onto the court, thrusting microphones at him. "Les! You've set a new collegiate record! The longest field goal in the history of college basketball. Why aren't you celebrating like everybody else?" the reporters asked. Les just smiled and calmly said, "Hey, that's where I was aiming."
Here's What You Can Do:
Emulate Les Henson. Set goals and EXPECT to achieve them. Then, when you DO achieve them, as you will, don't be surprised. Just smile and say to yourself, "Well, that's where I was aiming," and set your next goal a little higher.