September 18, 2013

Coaches Corner: In Love & Basketball

Welcome to yet another installment of Coaches Corner where I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the Toledo Rocket wives whom I consider a dear friend, Allyson (Allie) Clifton Kalsow!

How did you and Kalsow meet? 

My husband and I met at The University of Toledo. However, we were not both students. In fact, I was just about to graduate with my undergraduate degree (3 weeks away), when he, along with the (at the time) NEW Men’s Basketball Coaching staff, was taking their first ever tour of the University. I spotted him in the coaching offices as I was waiting to do my “exit meeting” with my college coach. All I remember is he was (in my eyes at first sight) 7’0 ft tall & his dress pants that he was wearing that day touched the floor…the rest is now history. :)

So, you are a graduate of the University of Toledo and played for the WBB. It seems that you guys have a lot in common. Whose more competitive in the family? 

I know we will disagree on this one (point in case) but I am more competitive…for sure. ;) In all seriousness though I think that is one of the reasons why we are able to love one another so naturally. We are competitive and we both love a daily challenge. It keeps our relationship fresh because naturally we are trying new things with/for one another. It’s fun.

Do you miss the sport of basketball?

There is no doubt that I DO miss the sport of basketball. I miss being a part of a team, being able to lean on one another (my teammates) for support no matter if it is something that happens on the court, or if it happens off the court – that feeling is invaluable. The one thing I always had with basketball was a sisterhood. Luckily I am fortunate and have been able to stay in touch with many teammates. I also feel I am very fortunate because even though my career as a basketball player came to an end physically, I have found a career path in which I am on the court constantly. Being a sideline reporter (currently for Fox Sports Ohio & The Cleveland Cavaliers) I have been able to stay very connected with the game and now at an even higher level. It has been a BIG blessing & I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Wow! You have such a fun and exciting career! Where do you buy most of your wardrobe? Do you have a stylist?

As a sportscaster times are very exciting as I mentioned, yet can be challenging & “stressful” at the same time. What I mean by that brings me back to your question regarding a “stylist.” I do not have a stylist at the current level I am working at (The Regional Level). It makes getting ready and staying fresh (a new look) each and every game, tough. I am the type of girl that I will not wear the same top on air more than once throughout the course of a season (84 games – 7 months). So as you can imagine it can be costly, so I try and shop great deals with still a great look – New York & Company is one of my favorite places. Number one: It has a “TALL” pant selection. I am 5’11…pants aren’t the easiest to find, but they have them. Also, many different professional yet very classy finds.

Who of the female sports broadcasters do you admire most and why?
As you can imagine when ever I watch a sporting event now days, I am hardly watching the actual game. I listen to the commentators and watch the male or female on the sideline. Sam Ponder (College Game Day, Big Ten Hoops & Thursday night Game of the Week for Football) is one of my favorites. She adds a flavorful piece to each broadcast she does. Erin Andrews has always been a favorite as well – exemplifies hard work & what it takes to be successful in such a male dominated profession. There are many others (Rachel Nichols, Dorris Burke to name a few more) that I really enjoy.

You and Kalsow recently got married....
What was the best moment of that day?

We did. It was a day that I wish we could repeat X 10 all over again. We still talk about it & all the fun we had. The best part for me was the moment I spent with my father before and during our trip down the aisle as he gave me away to my husband – it was a priceless moment that I don’t get too often with my father who has been such an incredible inspiration in my life.

Also all the time I got to spend with family & friends leading up to the BIG day was GREAT – so many things, it is very hard to narrow down, I could go on for days as you can imagine.

What famous actor or actress have you met that made you awestruck?

I like this question for many reasons. A lot of people that I come across ask me how I interview NBA players and stay so composed. To me, that part is the easiest because I have played the same game since I was 3 years old & I was fortunate enough to play it at a high level. To me I think of these players as brothers “of the game” to me. I understand and GET, to a certain degree, what they are going through. BUT this past year when I came across someone who I just LOVE…Khloe Kardashian, I was NOT SO COMPOSED. I was with the team in LA for the Cavs/Clippers game when I found myself sitting in a “fold up” chair behind one of the baskets (somewhere you would never expect a celebrity to be sitting, especially not Khloe). I am paying attention to the game about ready to do an interview with Tyler Zeller when I look to my right & there she stood. She politely told me I was sitting in her seat so I moved, but then she said there was an extra seat so I just had to scoot over. No big deal right? One thing led to the next, a picture was captured, I proceeded with my walk-off interview & sent our broadcast to break with “..It’s the Cavs leading the Bucs at the half, stay with us.” (Hopefully you caught that, yes I said we were playing the Bucs…I blame it on being “awestruck” by the one and only, Khloe Kardashian…still a GREAT day!)

What is the most fun aspect of your job?

The most fun aspect of my job is getting to travel to all of the incredible cities, watching basketball & getting paid to do so. Truly sums it all up --- I cannot complain one single bit.           

What is the most difficult?

The most difficult is being away from my husband, Jason. It is not easy to have to live away from the love of your life for 7 plus months of the year. Luckily we are young and feel we can make it work at this time. We are two individuals who are very passionate about our jobs, but are more passionate of one another and our choice to be successful in our careers that we make it work. Communication & dedication to our relationship and now marriage is like our “competition” challenge & we at this time wouldn’t have it any other way.

I simply L-O-V-E Allie! She was my workout buddy prior to Greece, while in Greece, and now it seems that my workouts have slowed down a bit. Let me tell you, if you want to push yourself during a workout and/or feel super out of shape then workout with a former collegiate athlete, turned professional trainer - Yikes! 

Oh, and her story about Khloe Kardashian had me dying. When I originally heard the story, I think I posed about 1 million questions. It may have been one of the first times I had actually met her and I was certain that she saw me as a lost cause! Ha, she may still feel that way!

She has a fabulous family which is evidenced in her response about the best moment of her wedding day... And of course, we could not leave without a picture with the women of the Clifton Household, Allie's mother, sister, and self right before she walked down the aisle! 

Much appreciation to Allie for sitting down with me for a few minutes. She is actually in New York until Friday for some special NBA meetings... Wonder what those are all about?




September 17, 2013

Loutraki: Day 3

Hi folks! Let's venture back to Greece and reminisce over our experiences had. If you missed my previous post, here it is where I discussed what we did and experienced over our first two days!

Day 3 we were still in Loutraki and played another exhibition game which we again WON! Our day started with a day trip to Ancient Corinth where we visited the remains of the city. We spent most of our time at the Apollos Temple remains.

UT Men's Basketball Team & Coaches

The whole gang!

After we left Ancient Corinth we took a private cruise through the Canal of Corinth which was quite amazing! To think that humans thousands of years ago were capable of excavating and engineering such a large project.

With Coach Kemp

Later that night we played another game which we won!!!

The Scoreboard baby!!

After the game everyone standing around waiting for the bus to pull up.

All smiles after a W!


September 15, 2013

Loutraki (Day 1 &2)

If you follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram, then you are quite familiar with our recent trip to Greece. The trip was pretty amazing. A wonderful opportunity to get to know my new Rocket Family, cheer on the guys through 3 wins, and enjoy a get away with Coach Kemp.

For the MBB international games, we had the privilege of visiting three locales in Greece. We landed and departed from Athens, but we first went to Loutraki, then Mykonos, and concluded our trip with a few days in Athens. Overall, Mykonos was the most relaxing, probably because we did not play any games while there and it seems to be similar to Cancun - crazy party and lots of beach fun!

So, let's begin in Loutraki where we stayed at the Achillion Hotel.

Boardwalk View

Loutraki Boardwalk where our hotel was located

View from hotel balcony

We arrived in Athens and transferred to the hotel at around 9am. Many of us decided to take naps, and this was a pretty calm day (I went on a little run down the boardwalk which was pretty amazing!). 

On Wednesday, we departed for Epidaurus and Nafpilion - the huge theater at Epidaurus which has delighted visitors for its symmetry and beauty. This theater is still used today! The theater is marveled for its exceptional acoustics, which permit almost perfect hearing of un-amplified spoken words from the stage to all 15,000 spectators, regardless of their seating! Isn't that neat!!!

 The views of the mountains were absolutely splendid during our entire trip. It is simply surreal that we had the honor to see these sites with our own eyes!

A Group Shot in the theater

After our tour of the theater and on-site museum we headed back to the hotel for some down time in preparation of the first game! 

And we won Game 1 as indicated by all the smiles on Coach Kalsow and Coach Kemp's faces, and obviously Ally and I. 

That documents Tuesday and Wednesday of our Greece trip. I will continue to post summaries of the trip over the next few weeks intermittently. 


September 14, 2013

Our Newest Edition

It's been awhile... I know. Like I said, I most likely will be receiving the Worst Blogger Award for 2013. I have multiple excuses: starting a new job, painting two rooms in our house, my computer crashing, but most importantly, we got a PUPPY! Without further ado, please let me introduce you to Prince F. Kemp
The picture above is from the morning in which we rescued him from the Toledo Animal Shelter Association (TASA)! For those of you who know me, I will simply confess that the decision to get a dog did not come to fruition in typical Michelyn form. You know, months of planning, the reading of books, researching the web. Rather, on a Thursday before I began working I was pursuing the web, particularly, and came across a few cute puppies. I saw Finn, now Prince, as well as his two siblings posted and sent the picture to Jason while he was at work. His response was very simple: "Yes, please!" I was a little astonished. Yes, please as in you want to get the dog or what? You see, when Jason and I were first dating he was completely opposed to getting a dog. I, on the other hand, was truly longing for a dog since I had grown-up with a lhapso apso and missed that companionship and affection that small dogs can show. So, with the go ahead, I contacted the TASA and inquired into the status of the three puppies. In the meantime, I learned that we could come visit the dogs. Well, long story short, we went to TASA on Thursday once Jason got home from work, completed the application while there and were approved to rescue a dog. The catch came when we learned that there was another couple interested in Finn (now Prince) and that they would be given a deadline to complete their application. (What type of deadline, was the only thing on my mind. Uhm, I need specifics and was left with nothing!) So Friday came along and I was somewhat depressed and anxious. Were we going to get the dog? Should I begin purchasing supplies? I even went out and began price checking some essential items! Coach Kemp though I was absurd, and clearly told me to NOT purchase anything. Well, on Saturday morning we received a phone call at 9am that we could come and pick-up our puppy! See, I should have bought the pet supplies! Yikes, so we scrambled out of bed, yes it was 9am and we hadn't moved, rushed to Target and TJMaxx to buy some things and then made it to TASA by 10:15am to complete the rescue process!

Here is out little guy napping on his first doggy bed. Yea, that one was purchased from Target for only $9.99 but since has been destroyed!

That's my boy sound asleep! Yes folks, he sleeps on his back. Isn't it the cutest! LoL

But, do not let this cute face fool you! We have been to the veterinarian twice for his puppy vaccines and he is a complete drama king. Ok, I think he gets that quality from his momma! And, he despises being left alone and is quite the momma's boy like his father, Coach Kemp. I keep telling him that he's got it good since I work from home and am here 75% of the time. What would he do if I worked a 9am-5pm?

Quick Facts:

Name: Prince F. Kemp
Age: 3 months
Date of Rescue: August 31, 2012 (Ally and Kalsow's wedding day!)
Breed: Pomeranian Mix (1/2 Pomeranian, 1/4 Maltese, 1/4 Shih Tzu)
Current Weight: 5.2lbs (as of 9/13/2013 vet visit)