THOMAS TALK: Worth the Wait
Hi and welcome to JU women's basketball insider. Shouts out to all family, friends and fans. I have kept you waiting long enough. I have actually been having fun making you all wait. I felt like I was hiding from the IRS. Every move I made I had to watch my back because somebody was lurking in the bushes yelling, "Hey, you there...where's your blog?" Well ladies and gentleman here I am in the flesh.

Honestly, as the pre-season comes to a halt, my class load has became a bit heavy and so therefore have been spending a lot more time in the library actually studying. We have been conditioning and lifting twice a week, having individual workouts three times a week and playing pick up. Now that it is almost that time for official practice, our workouts are getting tougher and tougher. One thing about our team is that we will continue to fight and push through for one another. I know I don't stand alone when I say," We all we got."

While you waited for an update, we had a few birthdays pass and some memorable team bonding moments. Coach (Ginny) Boggess and our Director of Women’s Basketball operations Teneshia Ruff both have a birthday on the same day - September 13th. We celebrated by having cake, singing and Show-n-Tell. Another special birthday was Jes (Jessica George) turned the age that you long for and wish you could get it back when it’s gone, the BIG Deuce Uno (21), on September 14th. We celebrated by having a team dinner at the apartments, talking about the war on oil and playing Scrabble. We have a couple birthdays coming up as well: Our team manager Ronease (Thompson) on Oct. 1, My Birthday on Oct. 2, Coach (Dee) Pennix Oct. 3, Maggie’s (Wilson) on Oct. 6 and Coach Deunna (Hendrix) Oct. 27. If you see any of them on their special day, please be sure to give them a special happy birthday.

Team bonding is essential for any team because sometimes talent just isn't enough. Our first team bonding was a Top Chef competition. This was like the JU version of Top Chef. The cooks of the team were assigned a partner who could not cook who was named the assistant. You and your partner had to prepare a food of choice and present it to the panel of judges - Coach (Jill) Dunn, Coach Deunna, Coach Pennix, and Ruff. The teams were: T-Rich (Taneskei Richardson) and Jade (Cargill), Bril (Abril Peeples) and Jenae (Wilson), Ro (Ronisha Mitchell)and Lynsey (Paschal), Ashanti (Williams) and Crystal (Bell), Ciara (McLee)and Jess, Maggie and Jane’l (Osborne), and Madison (Scott) and I.

Nobody on the team can cook better than me, coaches included, so it didn't matter who was on my team because we were going to win. I guess I spoke it into existence because Madison and I prepared a meal that the judges were salivating over. I call it the Alfredo Chicken Parmesan. It’s a lightly breaded chicken breast fried to a golden brown topped with a parmesan cream sauce and broccoli florets with a side of spaghetti noodles and a piece of lightly toasted Texas toast with cheese.

We won first place and runner up, in what the judges say was a close race was Lynsey and Ro with Shrimp Alfredo. I didn't taste it so I can't say anything about it but I can say I have been waiting on Ro to make me some one day. Jane’l and Maggie made 'brookies'. They were sooooooo good. A brookie is a brownie with cookies. I mean a cookie with brownies. It's a brownie cookie. It's the new generation of homemade sweets and it is delicious. It makes you want to sit and dream about a world where you can eat 'brookies' and big glass of milk every day and never get fat. It's a clash between two of the best desserts ever. A chocolate chip cookie and a fudge brownie, who knew?

Our other team bonding we did was a show-n-tell. Do you remember when you were six years old in 1st grade and you had show-n-tell? You went home the night before running around trying to find things of value to you that you could show all of your friends. You picked up your cereal box and you thought that was a good idea, then your favorite shirt, then you got to a point where you realized that those things don't really say much about you and you were stomped. You went to your mom or dad and were like, "I don't have a show-n-tell." Your mom is super woman so she knows just the thing for you to take. She suggests a picture of grandma and your Honor Roll certificate.

Well, we all remember those days and this team bonding made us all feel and look like our first grade selves. We were all running around trying to figure out what the next person decided to bring. Coach Pennix brought a picture of her sister which she didn't always have a great relationship with but are now best friends. Coach Dunn brought a picture of her dog, Ciara brought a Teddy Bear that looked like she had it since before she was born. Jade brought a Teddy Bear that she had got from her late grandmother. Lynsey brought a picture of her sisters and mom at an A.K.A convention. T-Rich brought a trophy she got in high school for “Most Outstanding Player”. Everyone brought something of significance to them. It was a very fun show-n-tell and we all got a chance to learn something new about each other.

Through some team bonding and birthday celebrations the weary weeks of conditioning have passed by at a quick pace. It feels like just yesterday we were on week two. Oct. 4th will start our first day of official team practice and we can’t wait to get started. There is the anticipation for game one of the season that has our team energy so high. We are constantly pushing each other mentally and physically in the weight room and on the court. During this last week of pre-season workouts, we have to take pictures for the web and we are also having a team bonding/ beach run. I can't wait to see how they incorporate the two. Running and bonding just sounds like we are going to die slowly. Let us Pray!

Now that we are preparing to tip-off our season my blogs should start to be more exciting with every game and practice. Until next time, "Man down."