The 2019-20 Stanford Women’s Basketball season didn’t end the way we wanted it to. It didn’t end the way they wanted it to.
The coronavirus pandemic shut down all winter sports’ postseason tournaments and all spring sports, however, those spring athletes were given a redshirt year to retain eligibility. For those seniors in winter sports, their final seasons were cut short without a proper end to their NCAA Tournament goals.
For Mikaela Brewer, who penned an open letter thanking Stanford and her teammates, her season cut short was heartbreaking.
Brewer was a longtime member of the Cardinal basketball team, joining the team back in 2016 and playing in 55 career games since then. She was named to the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll on two occasions and dating even further back, she has represented Canada in two different international tournaments.
She was one of the most decorated Canadian high school basketball players in recent memory hailing from Barrie, Ontario.
Brewer finished her collegiate career with a career-high in assists against Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament. And she had this to say to the Cardinal community:
Those who know me know my love for all things Marvel, but I never considered what it would be like to live in what feels like the Endgame. Even in the beginning of March, the end of Stanford seemed far enough away that I could avoid thinking about it. The even crazier part is, I don’t actually have the emotional capacity of a Q-tip like I joke. The truth is, I feel very deeply but leave it to my pen and paper. Recently, I have felt more than ever, as I am sure so many people have.
In the past month or so, our season, along with my collegiate basketball career came to an abrupt end. I lost my last few months at Stanford, which has become home over the past few years. For the most part, I have avoided the accompanying feelings that came with these endings. As I try to put them into words of sadness, thanks and hope I am telling myself that together these do not equal goodbye.
In times like these, memories with my teammates keep me afloat. I think of the times when we laughed until we cried or cried until we made each other laugh. We put one another and our passion before anything else. Collectively we fostered an abundance of talent but I don’t believe that is what made us successful. Tara always tells us that she doesn’t remember the scores of games. Looking back, I don’t either. I have endless photos, videos, memories and journal entries that somehow were packed into and reflect 2016-2020. As a senior, I feel my contribution to Stanford was unfinished, but I trust the hands, minds and hearts that will carry this sister(brother)hood next.
I do not have the words to encapsulate the profound thanks in my heart; the people who have wrapped me in family, hope and empowerment when I thought I was alone. Collectively, Stanford has enabled me to write and speak about my darkest struggles with mental illness and brightest of triumphs, in the midst of helping me through them. I have found my voice, played the sport I love when I thought I couldn’t and learned what my passion in life is through my studies and research. I was given my life back.
To our coaches, and everyone involved along the way, thank you for taking a chance on a girl from Canada and for supporting me through each obstacle God placed in front of me.
Estella, I’ll miss our hunt for good coffee and kombucha on the road. Sending Coffee Club your way!
Kiana, you’re one of funniest people I know. I always got you for some last minute editing.
Alyssa, it’s been a LONG ride, keep repping the Great White North!
Maya, you’re my best friend. Keep being your goofy self, and don’t stop dancing.
Lex, thank you for sharing my love for yellow, and being such a bright light.
Lacie, shamelessly pet every dog you see and laugh endlessly.
Jenna, keep that passionate reading, writing and thinking burning. All at Philz, of course.
Hannah, barbecue sauce might not be a 10/10, but you sure are.
Haley, my skating, Marvel and Star Wars loving friend, we will talk about these soon.
Ashten, twice as tall and twice as ginger! En français s’il vous plaît.
Fran, I just can’t imagine a better locker buddy. Stay fitted, plus or minus crocs.
To three of the most God Fearing, strong and beautiful women I know, despite what sometimes seemed an insurmountably bumpy path, WE DID IT. And we did it together.
Anna, your photographs are almost as beautiful as your heart and genuine love for people.
DiJonai, your energy, love and empathy for all of us (and cows, of course) never goes unnoticed.
Nadia, you are my rock, my voice of reason, and you give the best hugs ever. Your strength, in so many ways, is beautiful.
It has been inspiring to see how each of you have elegantly shone in growth, fighting for yourself and what you believe in.
The more I write, the more I realize that this is not the end. This is the beginning of lifelong, genuine friendships and a sister(brother)hood that this coronavirus doesn’t hold a candle to. In a time where we realize that our dependence on luxury and abundance has been shaken, we have to find peace in depending on one another. We have been stopped in our tracks, in the midst of the fast paced life of collegiate athletics, and realized that the most important things were not what we were prioritizing. As we re-evaluate what our connectedness means, maybe this pandemic will bring our team, the basketball community and the world closer together.
So, through all of this, I am grateful for the pain and the heartbreak. I am grateful for love and am wrapping my uncertainty in hope.
Thank you, Stanford, and Stanford Women’s Basketball, from the bottom of my heart.
Love, Mik #14
No, thank YOU, Mikaela.