The Boy

kelsey-the-boy

By Kelsey Bone

The first 10 years of my life were like a fairy tale.  I was an only child and enjoyed the love and adoration of my family: I literally had their undivided attention.  I never thought about sharing my room, my toys, or fighting over which cartoon I would watch.  I just basked in the glory of being the center of attention, the star attraction of my own little world, and life was good!

On September 1, 2001 my world, as I knew it, was turned completely upside down. Tragedy struck.  My mother gave birth to a baby boy who would become known as my little brother.  Who me? A baby? A baby brother? Who has kids 10 years apart? Like really, mom?  Like WHY?  The anger and confusion that surrounded me, at the tender age of 10, was indescribable.  We didn’t need another child in this family, we were fine.

On Fridays, my mom would pick me up from school and we would shop and eat and enjoy each other. That was OUR day!  Now we had to stop at the daycare. We had to pick up diapers and milk. Suddenly, there was this little human being sitting in the back seat with me–in a car seat of all things– and he belonged to us!  I wasn’t sure what all of this meant, but I decided I wasn’t participating in any of this foolishness.  I was the perfect child.  My mom loved me. Now, this little person demanded way too much of her time and attention.  I thought he would go away, but they kept bringing him back home so this little baby named Donovan Kennedy Williams became a part of my reality.  I stopped peeping at him or giving him my infamous side eye and actually picked him up one day.  In that moment,  I fell in love with my brother.

kelsey-2As I approach my 25th birthday, I realize that I have been blessed with the best brother ever!  He has watched my entire career unfold over the past 15 years the good, bad and ugly, the tears, the failures, and all of the successes.  He was at the gym in his car seat when I was running and doing Miken drills.  He traveled and watched every game that I have played from AAU to USA basketball to the WNBA.  One of my fondest memories was an AAU game in California when he was supposed to just be passing out water during a timeout.  Instead, he came into the huddle and yelled at me to REBOUND! He was five!

I was selected as the number 5 draft pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft.  It was my night to shine. However, it was my brother who Kevin Nghandi announced on national television was the best dressed person in the building.  He was the star!  When I announced my college selection, live on television from the McDonald’s All American game, he was front and center smiling and again stealing the show.

When I’ve play my worst games, he has said, “Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Just get back in the gym!”  One of the worst parts of playing overseas is that I have had to watch him grow up from a distance.  Every time I see him, he has grown a few inches taller, his feet are larger, and his voice is noticeably deeper.  He is now a 10th grader playing on varsity and I sit waiting for reports after each of his games.  My mom always begins by saying they won or lost and then I ask, “How did he do?”

Playing in the Chinese League will allow me to come home early enough to watch him play and I am super excited to do that.  He has watched me and looked up to me for quite some time, but what he doesn’t know is that I have been watching him.  He is smart, outspoken and charismatic.  I am in awe of his ability to walk into a room and own it.  He grew up in the gym watching me and now I get the great pleasure to watch him, to cheer for him, and … to yell at him to REBOUND!

That little human being who invaded my territory 15 years ago, whom I affectionately call “The Boy,” is why I play this game.  I want to share with him all the things that I have learned and help him on his journey.  For him, the BEST is yet to come!