By @DEATHRACERCHEVY, Travel Grant Recipient for the USA Women’s Olympic Basketball Game
Have you ever had that dream where you try for something… a job, a goal, or a lucky guess and you imagine where you are at that moment in time? I had that moment during a weekend in January.
I saw a 1,000 Dreams Fund post seeking applicants to win a trip to the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Exhibition match in Connecticut. I struggled internally about whether or not I should apply. I believed the amount of applicants applying would be so high that I stood next to no chance. To set the scene, I sat in my living room with my laptop going over and over and over in my head what to say, how to stand out, and what was the probability I would even be the one to be selected. Those hours were a whirlwind of emotions.
I’ve enjoyed sports for my entire life. It’s something my dad and I bonded over — and it is also the primary bond that my husband and I share. My home is filled with different championship banners, pennants, and flags of all the sports that I enjoy and follow throughout the year. So, for me, this 1,000 Dreams Fund opportunity would bring all of the hopes and dreams to fruition — hopes and dreams that my five-year-old self imagined so many years ago.
As the hours passed while waiting to hear a confirmation if perhaps I was the lucky person selected, I quickly texted my husband and asked one of the funniest questions I’ve ever asked him: “Would you miss me terribly if I had the opportunity to go to Connecticut?”
Then, as luck would have it, I received a call from family that said they were having a birthday party that night, and I was more than welcome to come. I jumped at the chance to leave my home so I didn’t keep periodically checking my emails and phone for some word of “CONGRATULATIONS” over and over again.
Arriving at the party, I had a wonderful time with friends and family I had not seen over the holidays and did everything in my power to just stop focusing and fidgeting with my phone. Then, the email came through. I had been chosen. I tried everything I could to stop the tears from welling up in my eyes as I was taking pictures with the birthday boy.
The joy was overwhelming and then the panic set in. I was going to be flying across the country, in a plane — something I had not done in over 16 years.
A red-eye flight! Well, at least I got to sleep a bit!
The exhibition game would be on a Monday, and I sat in my living room counting down the hours until my plane would leave. I Googled everything under the sun when it came to flying, and what in the world to expect at the airport. As soon as the time came, my excitement level couldn’t be any higher. I boarded the plane and landed in Connecticut in the early afternoon.
OMG snow! What a view of the Capitol Building in Connecticut.
After checking into my hotel and having a quick lunch, I made my way over to the XL Center where the game would be taking place and met up with the lovely people and the USA Basketball Foundation that were making this whole event collaboration possible.
[Caption: A special stream with BlackKrystel, directly from a suite located at the XL Center during the USAB vs. UConn game ]
Being able to help fellow content creator BlackKrystel with her charity stream for the USA Basketball Foundation was exciting and so much fun. We played various games together while eating, laughing, and watching the game.
This amazing experience of meeting with all kinds of basketball leaders and content creators is an opportunity I’m forever grateful for. I was watching people from the sports side in awe of those on the Esports and content creation side — and vice versa — and it was a sight I had longed to see! It was the merging of my two passions: sports and video games.
Such a beautiful moment of remembrance.
Prior to the game starting, there was a lovely memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, along with the rest of the victims of the helicopter accident that had taken place a mere 24 hours before. The impact that Kobe Bryant and his legacy had on the community was clear. His loving support of Gianna was also something many people touched on, with UConn specifically paying tribute by honoring her with a UConn jersey at the end of their bench.
Meeting the UConn Husky while holding back tears of joy!
There’s no way in my lifetime I could have dreamed that I’d be in a suite watching some of the greatest female athletes play a match — while I played video games to help raise money for a great foundation!
I’d love to thank 1,000 Dreams Fund for this opportunity. Seeing all of these strong, confident women going after their dreams and breaking all kinds of barriers gave me such a renewed sense of life and confidence. Being courtside at a basketball game seemed like such an impossible, unattainable experience and yet there I was where so many of my favorite UConn players stood before me.
As I boarded my plane for the journey back home, I knew this experience would be something I will always cherish. And now, thanks to 1,000 Dreams Fund, I am a believer that dreams can come true!