2009-10 NCAA.com Division I Women's Basketball Blog
Hoops, High Notes and Politics
on February 3, 2010 3:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
While student-athletes try to be well-rounded by having many interests, for Ayla Brown, a 6-foot senior guard at Boston College, being able to enjoy it all is not a balancing act.
"I'm a firm believer that if you love something, you make it work no matter what," said Brown, who is sixth in scoring and third in rebounding on the team. "That's been my phrase growing up especially when it comes to signing and playing basketball. People ask how I balance things and keep my head on straight. I tell them that if you love to do something, you make it work no matter what, which is how I feel about basketball."
Whether it was a love for basketball or just pure determination, Brown is nearing the end of her collegiate (and maybe overall playing) career after beginning that was all about enjoying some quality father-daughter bonding moments.
"I was in the second grade when my dad introduced me to the game," said Brown, of her father Scott Brown, who is the Republican Senator-elect from Massachusetts after last month's special election. "I wasn't very good then, but I was always tall for my age, so my dad figured he would try to get me into the sport. He played at Tufts University, so it's always been in the family bloodline in a way."
"When my dad was first trying to get me to do a reverse lay-up, I did not understand the concept nor did I really care to understand it. He was so persistent and told me I had to learn how to do it in case anyone cuts me off, I would need to be able to throw the ball up over my head while being behind the basket and still making it. I told him he was crazy, but he still tried to teach me how to do it over and over again. I got so frustrated that my fondest memories are of me chucking the ball at him. He made me so mad, but it was because I didn't understand the concepts at the time. I remember the first time I ever did it in a game I was in seventh grade and after I did it, I looked at him and just started beaming because I understood what he was talking about. It all came together eventually, but in the beginning I was not having it."
Basketball may be in her bloodlines, but it is how the sport has brought her family together that has made her love for the sport grow.
"Before I started playing at Boston College, my extended family never came to games," said Brown. "When I started playing here, throughout the years it has brought my family together, which has been special. Whenever I look up in the stands now, my grandfather, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and people I don't get to see on a regular basis come to the games."
Along with receiving lots of support from her family, Brown also receives support from her non-related fans. After being a semi-finalist on American Idol four years ago, Brown is hoping her musical talents will take her on the next journey of life.
"I sing all of the time," said Brown, who released her second CD called Circles, last week. "I sang on the CBS Morning Show in New York last week and I will sing a lot more in the future. The year that I got off of American Idol, the Boston Pops Symphony Orchestra asked me to sing at the Fourth of July spectacular on the esplanade in Boston. On Idol you know that 35 million people are watching, but there are cameras you are singing to. To actually look out in the crowd and see one million people is incredible."
If being gifted both athletically and musically isn't enough, Brown expanded her interests even more last month during her father's senatorial campaign.
"I was very vocal in the last month of the election," said Brown, who was the No. 2 most searched subject on the internet after her father's acceptance speech (link to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eBWfUTgEsM
). "My sister and I held our own press conference after his opponent, Martha Coakley, started running negative ads about my dad. We took a stance and demanded that she take the negative ads down as they were not the way to conduct politics. We felt that it wasn't positive for young women trying to get into politics. That was nerve-wrecking, but exciting. Once we did that I was on-board from then to the end of the election."
No matter what happens to Brown after the season, it may be her love for basketball that keeps her balanced in life.
"Something that my dad and I still have that is priceless is that we will play 21 together," said Brown. "It's not your typical 21 where you are playing one-on-one. Instead it is based on foul shots. Even after all of these years, he doesn't have to shoot a ball for a year or two and he will still beat me. He is such a good shooter and beats me. It's his claim to fame and whenever he wants to put me down he will challenge me to a game of 21. I really need to challenge him to a game of 21 whenever he is not in Washington or something."