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Olympic Hopeful Rebecca Mehra’s Random Act Of Kindness

Rebecca Mehra is a professional track athlete for Oiselle who currently competes in the 800m and 1500m. An All-American at Stanford, she now lives and trains in Bend, Oregon. Her story about shopping for an elderly couple who were scared to enter the grocery store in light of the coronavirus went viral over the weekend, leading to interviews on CNN and Fox News. Below, Mehra recounts her act of kindness and reflects on the impact of coronavirus on both her professional career and personal life. 

Can you walk us through what happened in that grocery store’s parking lot? 

After practice on Wednesday, I went to the grocery store to pick up some basic supplies and some food for dinner. As I was walking in, I heard, off to the side, a woman, yelling, “Hey, hey!” I had this moment of immediate apprehension, because it’s someone yelling at me from their car. But when I look, I see it’s this old woman waving at me. So I walk over, and she says, “I’m wondering if you can help me with something?” I say, sure. She goes, “My husband and I have been waiting here for a while. The first case of the Coronavirus just hit town, and we’re nervous to go to the grocery store. We know that the virus is disproportionately affecting older people, and it could be deadly for us, so we’re scared to go inside.”

What were your first thoughts when she said that?

I was just taken aback. I mean, during these crazy times, you think so much about yourself and your own situation. All my track meets are being canceled and my gym isn’t open. Those kinds of things affect my everyday life, but I’ve never been nervous to go into a grocery store or just to go outside because I’m afraid of being exposed to this virus. Of course, I don’t want to get sick, but I’ve never felt like my life has been threatened by this. So hearing her say that forced me to realize that there are people for whom this situation is just a lot more dire than it is for me. It’s nuts, honestly. In the moment, I was so surprised, I couldn’t say anything. But then as soon as she asked me if I would mind getting groceries for her, I said sure.

What happened then?

She had her window kind partially rolled down, just enough to slip me a handwritten little grocery list and a hundred dollar bill. So I go in and get their groceries. When I come back, they pop the trunk and I just put the groceries in there and then hand her back her change. I told her to have a great day, and she thanked me.  As I left, I didn’t think anything of it. But as soon as I got home I immediately regretted not giving them my phone number in case they needed help again.

What led you to share your story online? 

I didn’t really think much of it till I went home and typed out what had happened. I sent it to my boyfriend, Jordan, and he said I had to tweet that. We went back and forth, because I don’t really like Twitter. But I decided it may be worth it to share what happened, so I edited what I wrote him and posted it to Twitter. I usually just post about running, and immediately I could tell this was getting more attention. And as I kept checking it, the numbers just kept going up and up. I thought it was crazy when I went to bed and there were a few thousand likes. And then I woke up, and there’s over 10,000 retweets. Jordan and I realize, this is seriously viral. And the numbers just kept growing from there.

Why do you think so many people were inspired to share your story? 

I think that it resonated with people so much because this is such a hard time for everyone in so many different ways, and we’re all seeing the terrible news everyday. This was a small bit of light in a very dark time. I also think it made a lot of people come to the same realization that I had, that there are people in worse situations than me who I need to help. Ultimately, it’s a reflection of society at the moment. Everyone in the country is affected by what’s going on, which is why I think it hit home.

This must be such a strange time to have a tweet go viral. Obviously, you’re dealing with the impact of the virus on your career and your life, and then next thing you know you’re being interviewed on CNN. 

It’s a super weird dichotomy. One of my best friends is supposed to get married next weekend, and her wedding just got canceled. Three of my family members in Switzerland might very well have coronavirus. They haven’t been tested or diagnosed, but they have all the symptoms. So this is hitting home in a lot of ways, and then to have this weird viral fame for doing something that I think most good people would do anyways… it’s just such a strange and stressful time. At the very least, I’m glad that my story has provided people either some hope or some inspiration to be kind and help each other.

How has the virus impacted your own training and near future? 

I’m watching races just disappear from the calendar one after another. Every single event. Track season was supposed to start in April, and none of the meets are going to happen anymore. May is totally in limbo. There haven’t been any announcements yet on the Olympic trials, which are supposed to be in mid-June. I don’t know what will happen if either those or the Olympics gets cancelled. It’s hard to comprehend the possibility that you work all year for this one thing, and that it could just be completely taken away. I think we’re all just really scared and upset.

How are you managing your mindset given all the uncertainty? 

You have to find the normal in the abnormal. Not knowing what my season is going to look like, after I had it meticulously planned out, is all super uncomfortable. I was supposed to go to Europe and run these really cool races, with one in Italy, and now there’s no chance that’s happening. But that’s the reality for all of us. Our future is going to look a lot different than any of us expected. My hope is that the trials won’t get canceled, so there’ll still be something to be out there competing for. If there are any other races, they’ll be with tiny fields and no spectators. It is what it is. You just have to keep going and carry on.

Have you let yourself consider the possibility of the Olympics being cancelled or postponed, or is that just too far down the line? 

I don’t know what’s going to happen if the Olympics are canceled or postponed. It’s so unprecedented. It’s hard for me to make any guesses. I know this is going to keep getting worse for a few weeks, and then hopefully it’ll start getting better by the time we hit mid-to-late April. And maybe that will give us the opportunity to act safely and have some track competitions. But of course, it’s safety first.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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