Apparently the team did not get that e-mail, because the training was a cruel surprise.
“On the calendar it said ‘team bonding,’ ” guard Natasha Lacy said. “So we’re thinking rock climbing or ‘you fall back I’ll catch you.’ Tug-of-war type stuff. We pull up to the park and see a Navy SEALs Humvee and everybody was like, ‘Uh-oh.’ ”
The workout was run by former Navy SEAL John McGuire and included rope drills, carrying one another from one point to another and a last-man-standing flutter-kick battle. And of course, lots and lots of push-ups.
“I’m not gonna lie, I was not excited when I found out what we were doing,” forward-center Ashley Walker said with a laugh. “But when you get out there and you have this man telling you that he’s fought for his country, our country, and he’s done things that he didn’t ever think he could do. He’s been in gun fights and knife fights and he’s here to train me? You can’t help but respect that.”
Both Lacey and Walker are new to the Mystics roster this year, one that only has five players returning from last season. It was a tough welcome to D.C.
“There was one drill where we had to paddle a boat, turn it around and carry it in a race,” Lacy explained. “It seems like it would be an easy thing to do. But there are six paddles and we’re taking direction from one person.”
That one person in each boat giving direction was a point guard, so the drills weren’t just hard. They had relevant application to what happens on the court.
“The best thing I learned was, never leave anybody behind,” Lacy said. “That’s big, not only in the Army, Air Force, Navy, but on the court. If somebody wasn’t finished with a drill that we were doing, we did it until the last person finished. Never leave anybody behind.”
The Mystics have video of the workout here, and the team should be grateful I didn’t participate. “Never leave anybody behind” means we’d still be out there.