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dasg234 Offline



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21.06.2018 15:29
are, less than 30 minutes from home and less than 30 minutes from Lizzie. Safely matriculated in a not-very-basketball school, s Antworten

Elena Delle Donne makes her body into a C-shape -- no bigger, an end parenthesis -- as she hunches over a workbench whose tabletop hits her midthigh at best. Shes in her garage on her parents rolling-hills estate in Delaware, and shes been tasked with holding a clamp steady while her fiancée, Amanda Clifton, uses wood glue and a nail gun to affix a small plank of wood to a greater wooden canvas. Theyre making a piece of wall art, one of the 30 orders theyve received from fans or woodworking connoisseurs since they Instagrammed their first project, a coffee table. Amanda does most of the design and cutting work. Elenas duties are more in line with this clamp work. Its because shes so strong, Amanda says. Elena moves her legs into a sturdy stance and screws the clamp in steady.This is how she uses her monolith, her Statue of Liberty of a body, in the offseason. There are no months for the remarkably versatile forward-guard, just a season and an offseason. During her time off, which this year began after her Chicago Sky lost in the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs (she sat out because of a thumb injury and subsequent surgery), Delle Donne and Amanda hightail it out of Chicago and back to the estate. They live there in a rustic-decorated apartment beneath what is known as the barn, a vast and high-ceilinged structure that hosts family get-togethers. In their apartment is the first dining room table they ever made, about a year ago. When Elena posted it to Instagram, the comments section went nuts with compliments and people asking if they could order one. Thats when Elena and Amanda knew. Elena has always wanted to have a plan for a business post-basketball that wasnt about basketball, that wasnt about being 6-foot-5. This seemed like it could be it.Its not that she doesnt like being tall. Her height is part of her success, which includes an MVP title in 2015. Because of the extreme nature of her height, she had to sort through her feelings about it a long time ago. But the weird thing about personal growth is that nobody cares how examined and at peace you are. A while back, Delle Donne was at a grocery store in Chicago and a guy said, Youre tall. She never understands that -- the people who just tell her what is obvious, as if she doesnt know, as if thats not what everyone says. He asked if she played basketball. A little, she answered. And he started telling her about Elena Delle Donne, the greatest of all the women basketball players, the WNBA MVP, that she should try to meet her because maybe together they could do some great things. Delle Donne wondered whether he was messing with her, then decided he wasnt, and so she just nodded and let him speak.She is accustomed to this. Shes been 6-5 for a long time -- by eighth grade she was already 6 feet -- and one of the things she learned from standing out so egregiously is that people are watching and the best bet is just to behave. People sometimes think shes bland -- I was warned she was a boring interview -- but its not true. Whats true is that she has learned to stay quiet. Shes learned that people arent really interested in the truth of your experience if it doesnt confirm their theories about you. They dont understand what its like when you present with something special, like height or ability -- or both, in her case -- how your future is decided for you long before youve had a moment to consider it. They dont understand how you could spend the rest of your life wondering if the choices that were made on your behalf were ones you would have come around to on your own.In her first memory, Elena is 3, and she is sucking on her pacifier on a trip to the market with her mother, and people are saying to her mother that an 8-year-old shouldnt be sucking on a pacifier. When she was in fourth or fifth grade, a doctor told her mother that Elena was getting too tall, that he wanted to start her on injections to stunt her growth. Her mother wasnt having it, but it was too late: Elena left that appointment feeling there was something wrong with her. Her mother had a hard time finding clothes for her. She had to special-order her size 12 shoes.It was hard to find people in the culture who were as tall as she was to give her a sense of the impressions she made. Theres the tall that models are. Thats acceptable. But then theres the other tall, Delle Donne explains while sitting in a large, tapestried company chair in her living room. Like youre a monster. Her worst day at school happened in third grade when students had to measure themselves on a length of paper for a science project. Her paper, when hung up, went down the wall and across the floor. She was humiliated.Her self-consciousness doubled as she came of age and realized she didnt just have a body -- she had a body that could do a great many things that the body of her older sister, Lizzie, couldnt. Lizzie was born blind and deaf, with cerebral palsy and autism and no ability to speak, and from an early age Elena understood that not everything was OK with her sister. She remembers lying with her body pressed up against Lizzies, communicating with her in a way that was wordless and soothing. She remembers going to physical therapy with her sister and jumping around on the equipment. She remembers looking over at her mother and the therapist stretching out Lizzies legs. Then she remembers a friend who was visiting on a playdate and who had to leave because she was so frightened of Lizzie. Elena wasnt ashamed, though. She was mad. She also felt guilty. She wasnt just able-bodied and strong. No, she was on her way, even at that age, to becoming Elena Delle Donne, top recruit, WNBA MVP, superstar. Why was it fair that Lizzie had no control over her body, and she couldnt speak or hear or see, and Elena was Elena?She doesnt remember why she started playing basketball. It was either because she came from an athletic family -- her father, a real estate developer who stands 6-6, played college golf, and her brother played college football -- or because of the tide of inertia and that she didnt yet know to question her trajectory. People would say to her, Youre not going to waste that height and talent, are you? And shed think to herself, Its not a waste. I can do other things, you know. But she wouldnt say it aloud.Its such a gender thing, Delle Donne says. Like being put right into a box and thats what you have to do. Men might be heralded into basketball when theyre tall, but with a woman, theres a general sense that she has to play basketball because what the hell else is she going to do? You have to be either a basketball player or a volleyball player, Delle Donne says. Fighting the tide will do you no good, because at that point youre not just tall, youre female, and there is something about the audacious act of being female that makes people who encounter you on the street, the same ones who say Hows the weather up there? -- like youve never heard that one before -- think you are looking for their opinion.At her high school, Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, she led her team to three straight state championships and was named an All-American. She was also the state Gatorade Player of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2008. She was the top-rated recruit in 2008, her senior year. She chose UConn, of course. UConn is where you go when youre a star. But something felt rotten from the minute she signed. She thought maybe it was nerves, but it didnt dissipate.She began school in June, and on the first night, the basketball team had a pickup game. Delle Donne played, but all she was thinking was, God, I dont want to do this. Were inside her apartment now, and her Great Dane, Wrigley, who is nearly her height, is on his hind legs, pushing up against her. Like, this is pickup. Pickups fun. This is supposed to be when the teams just having a blast, getting along, playing basketball. And every time I stepped on the court it was nauseating.The next day, she calmly went through her classes. Her English teacher talked about a paper theyd have to write and she realized there was no reason to take notes; she wouldnt be writing that paper. She wouldnt even be around for the next class.Delle Donne left in the middle of the night, quietly. She waited until her roommate, who was also a basketball player, fell asleep. She had a friend from home pick her up. By the time she arrived at her parents house in Delaware, it was 7 a.m. and pouring. Her mother opened the door and said, What are you doing here? And Elena was crying too hard to explain.I always felt like I was kind of following the path everybody told me to go on and that I needed to do, Delle Donne says now, as it starts to rain outside her apartment. And I think thats why I went through burnout and went through what I did, because finally I was like, well, what do I want to do? Let me step back. Do I really want to do this, or do I want to be something else?Her coach, Geno Auriemma, called immediately. He told her mother to bring Elena back to school. Hed seen this before -- homesickness, nerves. But Elenas mother knew something about this was different. I can see it in her face, she told him.They were in for one awkward summer. The Auriemmas and the Delle Donnes had vacation homes in Avalon, on the Jersey shore. One afternoon, Elena rode her bike the few blocks to the coachs house. They sat and talked for hours. He suggested she come back to school, no basketball. She stuck with her no. Auriemma seemed sad. He thought my dreams were to be the greatest basketball player to ever walk the planet and to win championships, she says. But that just wasnt my dream at that time. Auriemmas wife, Kathy, who had overheard the whole conversation, finally came in. She said, Geno, shes not going to play for you. Let her go home.Auriemma had been so eager to coach her. Its very rare to find someone who is that tall and can handle the ball, pass the ball, shoot it like she does, he tells me. Can you blame him for being upset about losing a player with those abilities? The way shed linger in the air while taking a 3-point shot, the way shed cut and glide around the floor. Those are all things that when she was in high school you didnt see much of, he says. This feeling that someone like her comes along once in a great while. People had not seen this in the past.Delle Donne spent the rest of her summer ignoring the rumors about what was wrong -- that she was pregnant, that she was sick, that she was on drugs. She spent her time with Lizzie, who doesnt know that Elena plays basketball and who had no questions about her motivations.That summer of 2008, one more thing happened that would change the course of Elenas life. She began getting terrible migraines, and her muscles ached so much she couldnt get out of bed. One doctor suggested it was mono; others thought it was depression that was either the impetus for or the culmination of her dropping out of UConn. Her mother took her for some blood work. She had Lyme disease. A tick, a bug that tops out at 10 millimeters, felled 6-5 Delle Donne, which is as stark a lesson on size as we have here.She went on antibiotics for 20 days, then said she felt fine, unaware that she was suffering from a chronic illness.A few days after her talk with Auriemma, she enrolled at Delaware, less than 30 minutes from home and less than 30 minutes from Lizzie. Safely matriculated in a not-very-basketball school, she joined the volleyball team, which might have been her first clue that, yes, she did choose sports, that, yes, it was in her. She began to relax into this new life, to understand that she was a mind and a soul, not just a body that found its way onto a basketball court out of a sense of might-as-well.But she kept remembering one moment over the summer. She had gone to visit Lizzie at her school, and a woman named Dawn came to greet her. Dawn was a basketball fan with cerebral palsy who used a wheelchair. She said, Elena, do everything you can with your abilities, just like we do.Delle Donne soon found herself in the back corner of the arena at Delaware, asking her friend Meghan McLean if she had the keys to the gym. She wanted to test out a theory she was developing, that maybe she could return to basketball as her choice, that maybe she would have loved the game had she not been delivered to it as an inevitability. Volleyball was great, but basketball. She loved how fast it was, how you had to

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