Traveling Your Own Path

Traveling Your Own Path


Elena Delle Donne is a WNBA player for the Washington Mystics. She has quite a resume. She was the WNBA MVP in 2015 and is a multiple year all-star. She led her team to the NBA Finals this year. She also earned a gold medal playing for the 2016 USA squad. Coming out of high school, Elena was the top-ranked recruit in the country. She signed with Connecticut, the #1 ranked women’s college basketball program.

Elena arrived on campus and stayed exactly 2 days. Why? She has an older sibling, Lizzie, who was born deaf and blind, is unable to speak, and also has cerebral palsy and autism. Elena missed her sister. She didn’t want to live without her. Elena went back home and eventually accepted a scholarship to the University of Deleware, where she could be close to Lizzie.

Elena’s Words: “Every time I was playing basketball, I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t realize that feeling was having to leave my family – having to leave my sister, who can’t even communicate with me when I’m gone. Lizzie and I have an unspoken love. That’s something you don’t have in our time with people today. It’s amazing to have that connection with her and to have her as my role model and my angel. Life is way more than a game. It’s way more than basketball.”

Joe’s Perspective: Elena has so much to teach us. She thought that she wanted to be at a top school and win national championships. She quickly realized those were goals that other people pushed on her. Elena had to figure out what made her happy. For her, it was her connection with her sister and her family. Elena is a huge success in her sport and in her own life. She just did it her way, traveling down her own path.  The challenge for each of us is to figure out what drives us and makes us happy. She found it. Have you?

Your Turn: If you strip away all the expectations and the desires of everyone else, what truly makes you happy in this world?

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  1. What would make me truly happy would be the amount of care shown. My family has always been there for me no matter the situation, and nothing could make me any happier than spending time with my family.

  2. The thing that truly makes me happy in this world is my friends and family. Although I absolutely love the sport I do I would not be able to do it with out my family.

  3. I don’t know what truly makes me happy in this world. I love to spend time with my family and friends, and I am very grateful for all the love that I get, but I believe this is only a piece of all the factors that contribute to my happiness and I don’t believe I have come to the realization of what that really is.

  4. What truly makes me happy is my family and friends. I enjoy spending time with them no matter what I am doing. I also find happiness when I see that the people I love are truly happy.

  5. I don’t really know what makes me Happy in life, but I know that spending time with family is not what a lot of people have. That not everyone is as lucky as I am to have as many people that care about me in my life. So maybe I do know what makes me happy. Making my family happy is what makes me happy.

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  6. what makes me happy is playing basketball and being with my family. Some people don’t have what i have so just appreciating my family and playing basketball is what makes me happy.

  7. basketball has be i my family forever starting with my grandma but i has no been the same because she had past away i i thought that not playing will make me not think about here but i still do . we where so close and she showed me every i know about basketball and wen i play i still think of her but makes us closer.