Posts filed under ‘WNBA’
San Antonio Silver Stars’ Shanna Zolman talks about her faith:
I was raised in the great basketball state of Indiana and I began dribbling a basketball not long after I learned to walk.
Then at the age of seven, I made the decision to become a Christian. A couple years ago something very interesting happened to me. I was going through a major slump in my game. The first half of my junior season at the University of Tennessee was the worst I have ever had as an athlete. I placed the blame on many different things, but the slump remained. God really got my attention, and I realized that I had been trying to find significance and fulfillment in my success as a basketball player instead of finding it in my relationsip with Jesus Christ. When I got my priorities back in order and looked to Him as the ultimate Leader for my life, I began to enjoy basketball again. My life and my game are far from perfect, but I realize that Jesus is the One who gives meaning and purpose to it all. Since then, I not only have married Andrew Crossley, the most amazing blessing in my life, but am also continuing my basketball career in the WNBA with the San Antonio Silver Stars.
The following is told by Detroit Shock Center Ruth Riley:
You may call it a “charmed” life—Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA Championship—WNBA first-round draft pick—2004 WNBA Championship and Finals MVP with the Detroit Shock. An exhilarating ride, yes, but my life hasn’t always been so easy.
Growing up in a single-parent home was tough. Mom was always there and her faith encouraged me, but Dad seemingly never cared to know me. That was painful.
At Notre Dame I became intentional about reading books to improve my character, and began attending church. I started “owning” my faith.
Then came the WNBA draft, moving me to Miami away from family and friends. Challenged, I discovered even greater spiritual growth. Pre-game chapels helped me give God my distractions and focus on His strength. Team Bible studies gave me perspective, allowing God to continue to fill the void left by my dad’s absence.
I have confidence in my game because I know God loves me regardless of my performance, and shapes me through my circumstances for His purpose. When the Miami Sol folded and I ended up in Detroit, I didn’t panic, remembering that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Whether my circumstances are “charmed” or painful, I know this verse is true! My part is to love God; His part is to work everything for good! Although I don’t always do my part well, God always does His part. This truth inspires me to give God my best game both on and off the court.
Ruth Riley, a gold-medal winner and WNBA Champion talks about where she finds her peace in life
Sharing the Victory Interview with WNBA Star Tamika Catchings:
SM: What role did your faith play in getting you to the WNBA?
TC: I was raised in the church, but for me it was more of a social thing until I got to college. FCA became a part of my life while at the University of Tennessee. It allowed me to talk about different situations that I wouldn’t have normally talked about. Growing up an introvert, I wasn’t able to express how I felt. FCA made it easier to talk because people understood what I was going through and the different emotions that I felt as an athlete.
I got hurt my senior year of college. But you know how you have that feeling of peace and calmness? That is what I felt. Yeah, I was disappointed that I was injured my senior year. I had all these goals and plans. But in some way, the injury made me focus on God more and on what I needed to do for Him.
SM: What did you feel you needed to do?
TC: Being an athlete, sometimes you start to worship your sport. You lose focus of what is important in life because basketball is what you do. I went to school, but when it came down to it, I was missing classes for games, missing church for games. Basketball was what I was thinking about when I woke up.
From the moment of my injury, my relationship with Christ began to grow. And to this day, I continue doing “Our Daily Bread” Bible studies, trying to focus on Him and figuring out what I can do through Him.
SM: How has your faith grown since you got to the WNBA?
TC: I have done a better job of reading the Bible and trying to immerse myself in the word and learn more. I see myself growing in my prayer life, and I’m asking for forgiveness. I’ve kind of gotten over that hump of where I used to be. I live my life in a way that I know He would want me to. I see other people changing around me, too. People who used to cuss all the time don’t around me. They respect me and know that God is the center of my life.
SM: Have any of your teammates kept you accountable in your relationship with Christ?
TC: Last year it was Charlotte Smith. She really changed our team dynamic. We had Bible studies at her house during the season and on the road—she, Ebony Hoffman and I. She was a very influential person because of her walk with Christ.
I was excited to have her on our team when I first found out she would be joining us—not only because she was a great basketball player, but because I knew that her walk with Christ was incredible. I was anxious to be around somebody like that. She changed my outlook on a lot of things through our Bible studies, talks and in just being able to communicate when experiencing the same things.
SM: How do you deal with the stress of going non-stop during the summer and then playing overseas in the off-season?
TC: Prayer. And realizing that this opportunity is going to come and go. So, I try to take advantage of it while I’m in the moment. It does get crazy. There are things I want to do that I can’t because of basketball. Like my family. My brother is married with three boys, and I saw them just four times last year. My nephews are starting to play basketball, and I missed out on their whole season this year. Little things like that are frustrating. But while I’m in the moment, I am going to enjoy it and not dwell on things I don’t have control over right now.