New traditions make for fun holiday

Editor's note: TCU's Sandora Irvin, C-USA's career rebounding leader who also is closing in on the NCAA career blocks record, will share a diary with ESPN.com for the remainder of the 2004-05 season.

Dec. 29, 2004

It's a known fact that the NCAA prevents coaches from giving us gifts for Christmas. However, not even the NCAA could stop my coach from giving me the biggest gift I have ever received in my four years here at TCU. (Drum roll, please.) Women's basketball fans, can you believe it? My teammates and I went home for four whole days.

How cool is that?! Last year and the years before, we have always spent our Christmas on a plane back to school.

Now, to some people that's probably not a big break, but for me it seemed like an eternity. Don't get me wrong; I love basketball. But being with family and friends is and will always be at the top of my list.

This year, Christmas was a lot different for me, but I really enjoyed myself. Instead of going home to the beautiful state of Florida, I went to New Orleans with my best friend, Charity, who I hadn't seen in a long time. Her mom, Nelly, came all the way from Lagos, Nigeria, for Christmas, and it was my first time meeting her. She was so funny and really cool. She even gave me a Nigerian name: "Nkechi," which means "Power of God." Pretty powerful name if you ask me! I had a great time learning about their culture, language and eating their favorite foods. Although a lot different from what I am used to eating, the food tasted great. I was able to get some sleep in and that wasn't too bad, either.

To make things even better on Christmas, I got a chance to see snow for only the third time in my life. It was so pretty, and I played in it for just a split second. It never snows in Florida and maybe once in awhile in Texas. What a break and what a white Christmas!