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This Belgian basketball writer’s 37 birthday wishes for a new normal (and more) just made my day

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Some of these wishes are also things we all want to see as we eventually get past the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Phoenix Mercury v Washington Mystics
Stéphanie, you’re always welcome in D.C.!
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

I hit writer’s block today. The Washington Wizards are on a two game win streak and I’m not sure what to make of it. And the Washington Mystics are probably not making more significant moves in their free agency period besides hopefully announcing Natasha Cloud’s extension sometime in the future.

While I was searching for ideas, I read a piece by Stéphanie Lahaye of Swish Swish, a Francophone Belgian women’s basketball site that primarily covers the WNBA (they don’t cover EuroLeague, etc. that heavily), just in French.

Her most recent piece wasn’t on any news in particular. It was a list of 37 wishes she had for the coming year because she just turned 37 yesterday, Feb. 15. Bon anniversaire Stéphanie!

The article is in French, but you can use Google Translate for it in English.

As I read it, I finally found something to write about since I really enjoyed it.

Basketball, or really, all sports bloggers are curious and geeky. In a good way of course!

Here were a few of her wishes, translated into English that illustrate this point that I think we all share.

Wish No. 10: Interrupting a movie or series because an incredible piece of news (ex: the 27th pick in the 2015 draft sprained a finger) just came out and I MUST write an article about it. — I HAVE BEEN THERE MANY, MANY TIMES!

This is exactly the type of thing I am infamous for: finding a 100 word article and writing a 1,000 word take on it where I add “useless” trivia along the way! I guess, this is my latest example!

Wish No. 14: Improve my Dutch to understand the interviews of the Belgian Cats on Sporza. — Maar Mevrouw Lahaye .... ik dacht dat jouw Nederlands echt goed is! Spreek gewoon niet met een “harde g” van Amsterdam alsjeblieft LOL!

To everyone else, if you don’t what I’m talking about, it’s on differences in Dutch accents between Belgium and the Netherlands. Here is a good example, with subtitles of course.

If you follow the Belgium women’s basketball team closely, most of the players speak Dutch as their first language, including Mystics forward Emma Meesseman. Also, their games have been aired locally on Sporza, a Belgian Dutch language sports network. I’m not as sure if the Francophone Belgian networks have aired the games as much.

Wish No. 22: Plan romantic evenings on Sunday evening when the time difference is favorable to us and be able to water the loved one with trivia of all kinds. Let him continue to pretend he’s interested. — Insert LOL emoji here. (I can’t use emojis in our system. They won’t show up.)

Wish No. 26: Watch Kim Mestdagh in the WNBA again and continue to call her “Kimichou.” — For a second, I thought you called Mestdagh “Kimchi.”

It’s because I saw that “chou” is a cabbage in French, and Kimchi is a Korean spiced pickled cabbage side dish.

So ..... am I missing something here?

UPDATE: A “chou” can also be a figure of speech for “sweetheart” in an endearing way.

Wish No. 29: May my two daughters continue to think that if the last name is Bird, the first name must be Sue. Not Larry. — I don’t hear of Larry’s name as often as Sue’s here in the DMV. But that’s just me and after all, Sue’s playing. Larry isn’t.

Wish No. 32: See Breanna Stewart’s medical reports. She MAY not have had an Achilles tendon rupture — Check this piece out that Joe Kennedy wrote last month, mon amie!

We long for a new normal where we can go to basketball games again

Our world has been affected by the coronavirus for over a year. And in a few weeks, it will be one calendar year since the pandemic affected the sports world. Some of Stéphanie’s wishes clearly are in line with what we all want, regardless of what side of the Atlantic we are on.

Wish No. 1: Go back to see basketball games — D’ACCORD À 100 % !

Wish No. 7: Eat stadium food full of melted cheddar cheese (and DEFINITELY NOT Hawaiian pizza!) while watching a WNBA game. — We can agree to disagree on the stadium nachos. And the Hawaiian pizza too.

Wish No. 9: See Becky Hammon become the head coach of an NBA franchise. No, but patience is fine for 2 seconds. — Let’s just say that a growing number of commenters here on BF are receptive to the idea of seeing Hammon become the next head coach of the Washington Wizards.

Wish No. 13: See the WNBA champions once again come to the White House to celebrate their title. Bonus: Kamala Harris is there too! — Since President Joe Biden is from Delaware like Elena Delle Donne, we may see that make-up visit this summer. You never know!

Wish No. 30: Getting up from my armchair in the night, arms in the air, after a clutch shot by Emma Meesseman — That’s every Mystics fan right there!

Wish No. 34: See Katie Smith as the head coach of another team but without James Dolan as the team owner. — Smith was the New York Liberty’s head coach from 2018-19 when it was still owned by Madison Square Garden Sports, which is controlled by Dolan.

Stéphanie, since your favorite NBA team is the New York Knicks, I think you can relate to many of the trials and tribulations Wizards fans are going through right now.


Anyway, that’s all I have to say with this piece, but it made my day because we are all hopeful for a new normal where we can travel and meet up at games again. Like Stéphanie, I will turn 37 myself later this year. June 30 to be exact.

So Stéphanie, when, not if you do come to D.C. after the U.S. and EU’s travel bans on each other end, tu es toujours les bienvenus ici ! Je bent hier altijd welkom!

You’re always welcome here! Next game’s on me!