"You get to where we have to get and then it falls apart," bluntly states the Indiana forward now in her 12th WNBA season again preparing for a playoff run to hopefully culminate in hoisting the only piece of championship hardware that has thus far eluded a stellar career which counts Tamika Catchings a member of the All Decade Team, four-time Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year in addition to three consecutive Olympic gold medals with Team USA Women's basketball.
Determined to 'hold it all together' as the 22-12 regular season Indiana Fever begin their playoff run this Thursday drawing a first round match up against the defending Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream, Catchings knows all but one thing, "we need to care of business."
And in no uncertain terms, for the Indiana Fever, the business at hands stop nothing short of capturing what would be the franchise's first championship in the thirteen year history which has witnessed playoff runs seven of the last eleven seasons including a finals loss to Phoenix in 2009.
Catchings' Fever keys to victory to over Atlanta:
"I will always think that I have a few years left but hoping that we don't even have to talk about that,think about that. Just focus one game at a time. I'm excited about where we are right now. I know that everyone keeps saying, 'You guys are getting older', but I don't feel it; I wake up and I'm just so thankful that I'm blessed to have the opportunity to get out here and do something that I absolutely love to do ... We'll just take it one step at a time."
Something that always has to be in the back of her mind is the maddening fact of never winning the big one. A clutch player, a team player, one of the greatest of all time; it's hard to imagine that she has never won a WNBA title.
"It is definitely frustrating. I do a lot of extra work during the season and in the off-season and it's frustrating when you get to a point where it's like, "I'm putting in so much work and like every single year the same thing happens,' questioned Catchings who struggled for the exact words but concluded, "It can be definitely disturbing; from an emotional standpoint, you put so much into it and then things don't go the way you want it; it's a emotional letdown. And that is one thing that I don't want to do is let my teammates down."
Whether she ever wins the big one or not, one thing is for certain, there will never be a point in her career that she will ever let her teammates down. If there is anyone that deserves to lift the trophy, it is Tamika Catchings. A woman that carries herself with class and one of the most charming people you will ever come across.
Here are a few excerpts from the complete audio interview.
Fast Life: Now that the regular season has come to a close and you head into the playoffs, what are the feelings surrounding the team right now?
Catchings: Everyone is really excited. We just finished one season and getting ready to enter another. We've had some really good practices. The mood is light,the mood is right but,we know that we have to take care of business.
Fast Life: Now you have played a ton of basketball this year. How do you feel both mentally and physically right now?
Catchings: I feel great. I really do. I didn't go overseas(to play) because I knew that it was going to be a long year going from the Fever to the Olympics then,back to the Fever. I didn't want to do too much. I can say that going into the playoffs this is the best that I have ever felt.
Fast Life: Someone that I know you are very fond of and that is your old college coach, Pat Summitt. I was wondering if you had a chance to speak with her since she announced her battle with dementia. Your thoughts when the news broke?
Catchings: When she told me, I was kind of like,'What does that mean?' It's like when you hear the word, Alzheimer's and the impact it has on people. Not all of us have had it hit directly in our families but to many of us it has happened indirectly. With Pat,she has her good days and her bad days but,she has that fighting spirit so she is going to fight and live her life to the fullest.