Friday, April 6, 2018

Monday, April 2, 2018

Amazing redwoods hiking adventure with Travis

St. Patty's Day reunions

 Great to see Jordan Green of Cashmere on the Gonzaga women's basketball coaching staff
at the NCAA tournament game at Stanford.
After two NCAA women's basketball games I headed to the volleyball arena
to see USC-Stanford men's volleyball and reunite with USA Volleyball chairwoman Lori Okimura for the first time since our amazing time in Rio.

Special story

More than a year ago I went through my contacts list as I do from time to time and decided to check in with Todd Helton, a favorite whenever Colorado came to town. He was thrilled I reached out and shared how much he missed his former life - 17 years as the Rockies' No. 17 and All-Star first baseman - and retirement "was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," he said. At that moment I knew there was a story to be told here, and I understood to a far lesser degree, of course, what he meant as someone who struggled through two maternity leaves losing my work identity.

Opening day and Bill Walton wingspans

Arizona adventures

Sometimes we meet people by chance who become immediate friends and maybe we were supposed to cross paths or perhaps it’s purely great fortune. That’s how it worked with dear Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, who I met last week at the ASU pool and tonight, before leaving spring training tomorrow, I am her guest for Hamilton at the beautiful theater where she is executive director. Anyone who knows me knows I simply cherish making such special bonds. Blessed.
 Interview on a mountaintop... what a view and what a thrilling “work” day hiking Camelback Mountain with Johnny Cueto - an idea with him two years in the making! Thanks everyone who helped this happen.

Jose and I go way back, as in the days of covering the Seattle SuperSonics far! Now, we reunite in Arizona and he freelances for AP to make sure we’re well covered on Bay Area teams when I’m taken elsewhere. So much appreciation for this friend and colleague’s hard work and taking stress and pressure off me.

Pac-12 pool tour...

Shannon came up from Tucson for a night! Such fun! 
Missing my dear regular daily swim friends in our little four-lane Franklin Pool but what an absolute treat to be a guest at ASU’s amazing fitness facility for the week I’m at spring training. Hit my head hard yesterday while backstroking but worth it to witness a beautiful desert sunset.
 Lovely Alex and I ran into each other not once but twice last year at two of my favorite Arizona spots: Papago Park, where she kindly took photos of my AP colleagues and me, then a few days later at the Scottsdale public pool early in the morning. In those five minutes we figured out she is from Spokane and played soccer at Washington State. We stayed in touch and got two nice dinners this year, then this morning she helped me reach 100 swim miles so far in 2018.
I’ve dreamt of swimming in the Stanford pool for nearly 16 years since moving to the Bay Area. Today, after practice for tonight’s second-round NCAA tournament game, Tara VanDerveer so graciously took a few minutes from her jam-packed day and walked me over and used her pass to let me swim, even introducing me around. They nicknamed me “TF” - Tara’s friend - the ultimate compliment and honor. I didn’t get kicked out for wearing my WSU swim cap either.
First time in a 50-meter pool and it’s tough (pal Heather warned me of this!) but awesome. Pulled a new swimsuit from the drawer for the occasion.
2100 meters or 1.3 miles after 4200 yards or 2.3 miles this morning with my regular crew at Franklin. Likely some shorter swims the rest of the week.
So fortunate and appreciative to have built such wonderful working relationships that are also friendships. Thanks, Tara, a Hall of Fame person and coach.

Pac-12 pool tour continues: Thanks a million to Dave Durden and Cal men’s swimming for the thoughtful invitation and treat to swim at Legends yesterday before attending Cal baseball to catch up with Dusty and Darren Baker. Awesome day!