Noah: Welcome to USADSF Spotlight with Noah. I am Noah Valencia. Today, we will interview a talented women basketball player with a legendary resume of winning MVPs 6 times in basketball tournaments along with two gold medals. She happens to be my role model, looking up to her while growing up as she proved and demonstrated to the world what it is like to be the world’s greatest player and yet remain humble. I am very excited to interview her today!
Noah: Ida, how did you fall in love with basketball?
Ida: Well, how did I fall in love and found my passion for basketball? Back then when I was 6 or 7 years old, I used to attend Arizona School for the Deaf (and Blind). Every time when our teachers told us to go out and play during free time, we all got together and always played basketball. I played along with boys repeatedly. And I come from a small town where I had only one deaf brother to hang out with, so what could I do? I played basketball! So that is how I fell in love with playing basketball.
Image: Winning her first championship for USA Deaf Basketball Women Tournament (US Deaf Basketball National Championships) with her Black Widow Team in 2007.
Noah: You know, sometimes when being bored, we usually try something new like basketball and end up loving it. Look where it led you to. You played at ASDB (Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind) and several other hearing teams but you ultimately ended up at Marshall University. Marshall University is a big time, division one university! How did you reach that point? And what was your experience like?
Ida: The head coach at Marshall University was the son of my assistant coach at Central Arizona College (where I went, a junior college). This assistant coach was the father of my head coach at Marshall University. That was his son who coached at Marshall University!
So they had the same philosophies and systems. So I did not have to start all over again, for the coaches to explain to me what I need to know of the playing systems, etc.. The system, including hand signals, remained the same as what I already knew, using the same plays, motions, presses, and many others signals. So I felt relieved.
Image: Ida in white Marshall uniform, going for a layup, beating two college players who attempted to block her.
Ida: Playing at Marshall was never a hard time because during practices, I made sure that I knew what offense, defense and out-of-bounds strategies were so I knew what was going on. If there was a change in plays, I would catch it and know what to do. I had to be very observant at all times. Sometimes I would run back across the court in a defensive position, and see something was off, I would quickly catch on the change in formation and get into position. I would always need to pick up quickly to stay with the team formation so I would never feel pressured because I felt I was in the flow with the team and PLAY BALL!
Image: USA Women Basketball Team at 2005 Summer Deaflympics at Australia.
Noah: While you play at an elite level, playing big time, you don’t allow yourself to stress out, you shut down your opponents. You are really good at that! You played at three Deaflympics, 2001, 2005, and 2009. Out of those three, which one was your favorite?
Ida: My favorite Deaflympics out of 2001 at Rome, 2005 at Australia, and 2009 at Taipei, is really all. Why? 2001 was my first Deaflympics ever, 2005 was where all games were played at the same location which was cool, and 2009 where it is the most organized from opening ceremony to the closing ceremony. It was exceptional. But if I had to pick one, it would be 2001 because it was my first Deaflympics ever.
IMAGE: (2009) Ida in curls in white USA uniform holding an international ball.
Noah: I cannot wait for my turn when I experience my first Deaflympics ever, hopefully in Brazil! You won MVPs 6 times which is a remarkable honor! What is the secret to do so? Tell me.
Ida: Noah! I hate the spotlight on my MVP awards! Actually winning the 6 MVP awards is all based on the statistics, well. But in reality, it was all about the team effort! We had great players on our team. Some players hail from Deaflympics levels, university levels, and had a lot of experiences. So I always had great players on my team. It was fun to play with them!
Noah: See?! Winning 6 MVP awards, two gold medals, and remains humble and thought of her team first. That is the reason why she is my role model! Thank you, Ida, for your time! Until then, so long.