To say I had an amazing day yesterday attending the WKU Alumni game would be a huge understatement.
It was one of those days where you are just enjoying every single minute -- eating and talking and hanging and reminiscing.
I left at 8am and made the 90 minute drive to the college where I had breakfast with these lovely ladies.
Me, our former trainer Paula, former coach Mary, and my roommate and dear friend Kristi. Paula was in her early 20's when she got the job at WKU so she was young and very close with the players. Paula now has two sons and is a professor at Western. I was a member of Mary's first recruiting class. She had no kids when she started recruiting me and today, her oldest son is a senior in high school. Kristi and I were placed together as roommates. Kristi was not happy about it. She thought I was way too "goody two shoes" for her taste. We were night and day but soon became inseparable. She now lives in New Mexico with her husband and three kiddos.
After breakfast, we drove across town to Mariah's for lunch. Shea is sitting there in the front left. She and I are fantastic friends and because she lives in Bowling Green, have had the opportunity to see each other frequently. And Jaime, sitting next to me, came in in the class behind me. She's another very dear friend.
Time to line up to go out on the court for introductions.
After that, we made our way to the game -- here they are announcing all the alumni at half time. There were managers and players. There was even a player there from the 1974 team!
We all sat on the floor for the first half of the game. Here is Jaime Britt, who was a year behind me, with her daughter and our mascot -- Big Red.
During the second half, we all headed up to loyal fan Belle Hunt's suite. She wasn't there -- but we made ourselves right at home.
Jaime, Kristi, me and Jamie.
Here is a picture of the four seniors during our 1998-1999 season. Shea, Kristi, me and Katashia.
And here we are nearly 20 years later. Katashia, on the right, is one of my favorite people EVER! I hadn't seen her in over a decade, but we sat down and started talking like it had just been yesterday. She is in Georgia and will only be 4 hours form the farm -- so we are really hoping to reconnect. Katashia is famous for hitting the winning shot against Louisiana Tech -- a coast to coast dribble and score.
A bunch of us in Belle's suite.
JW and JB were in the graduating class one year behind us. This meant that we had all 6 of us there!
Last up was a reception and some photos. Here are all the alumni with the current players.
Shea, Jaime, Laurie, Coach Sanderford, and Jaime Walz (with one of Laurie's twins on the ground.) Laurie was one year older than us and another very good friend. She is now doing color commentary during games and lives in Bowling Green. Coach Sanderford was the legendary coach that recruited me. He left WKU for Nebraska halfway through my time at Western. He is a great man and was a great coach -- even though he caused me to cry more times than I can ever count.
This day was so full of memories. It also reminded me of what a joyous and incredible time of my life playing Division I college basketball at Western Kentucky University was. These people were my family, and despite time and distance, we are so unified from that experience. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that WKU was where I was supposed to be for those four years and the friendships I took away from there will be friendships I have until the end of my days.
Thank you ladies for the memories and for being some of the greatest friends I have ever had.