Posted at 7:03 AM on July 3, 2008
by David Zingler
Note: We've been contemplating making "Bleacher Bums" an all-sports blog; just to test the waters I've decided to place an occasional random non-baseball related entry. Any feedback you have on this idea would be greatly appreciated.
If you've been to Lynx game this season, you've probably seen and heard Jamie Tarr loudly cheering on his wife - Lynx forward Kristen Rasmussen - from behind the home team's bench.
If Rasmussen, a stoic 9-year WNBA veteran and Michigan native and Tarr, a fiery, outgoing Australian strike you as an unlikely couple, wait until you hear about their storybook meeting...
DZ: How did you two meet?
RASMUSSEN: Jamie was going to work one day in Australia (in 2005) and heard about a contest on the radio. He had to name three things and he ended up winning a MP3 player and had his name entered into a large drawing for a $10,000 trip to Europe. Meanwhile, I am over in Zaragoza (Spain) - which is between Madrid and Barcelona - playing basketball.
(A few) days after (Jamie) wins the MP3 player, he gets a phone call and they're like "You won the $10,000 trip to Europe" and he never wins anything...So he goes over to Europe and is traveling between Barcelona and Madrid and is in Zaragoza on Sunday and goes to church...
TARR: And out of a sea of short, tiny Spanish people - there's (6-4) Kristen standing 10 feet above 'em...We just started talking.
RASMUSSEN: It's kind of tough not to notice the blonde hair and blue eyes amongst a bunch of Spanish people that don't speak English.
TARR: So we hit it off and I waived my trip and stayed with her for 3 weeks...At the end of the trip I went back to Australia and we kept in touch with the phone and Internet for about a month and then she came and visited at the end of the season in Europe. On a road trip up the coast, I took her to a lighthouse at the eastern tip of Australia at sunset and asked her to marry me.
So then we spent the '05 season together in Houston, (she was with) the Comets and got married in Hawaii after the season.
DZ: Talk a little bit about your career; you were drafted low (51st overall in 2000), played on some teams that are defunct now (Utah, Miami and Charlotte), been through some tough trades - what's kept you going all of these years?
RASMUSSEN: I just think it's the passion and love that I have for the game. It's so much fun, I am able to go out on the court and (give) everything I have - play with all of my heart....the other part of it is, I like to meet new people. In every situation I've been in - there's a lot of great basketball memories - but, getting to know the people is what most of my memories are about.
DZ: What do you admire about her?
TARR: Oh my gosh! One thing that stands out is her professionalism - she leaves everything on the court, what's on the court stays on the court. She just keeps on going. She doesn't have an attitude about anything, she's nice to everyone - it's two hours after the game and she's still signing (autographs).
DZ: I've been to a few games now and I hear this guy (Tarr) cheering behind the bench. I think everyone pretty much hears him; you must hear him too.
RASMUSSEN: I have kind of learned to tune that side out. I had an incident in Phoenix where - Jamie doesn't quite understand the game; he was yelling out the wrong thing at the wrong time - I was in the paint and Jamie's yelling out "3 seconds!" and I was on offense.
(Top photo by David Zingler/Bottom photo courtesy of Jamie Tarr)
I really enjoyed your article. Sometimes it's nice to read about the personal side of an athlete. The humor was an extra bonus!!!
Cool article. Can never have too many kind of sports to blog on.
When Kristen and Jamie were in CT on the CT Sun team it was great fun having them here. I met them both the first time when on a visit to Adelaide Australia and attending a WNBL Lightning picnic. KR was a member of that team! Jamie is so very outgoing as is Kristen and it is easy to feel comfortable like ole friends with them both. It was very hard to understand why we had to transfer Kristen this season; especially not being able to say "goodbye and good luck" at least not until they both came with the Dream team to play here in CT. It was like old home week with Jamie encouraging Kristen from the sidelines and him roaming the area saying Hi to everyone. I wish them the best of luck in their lives and I also wish I could visit with them when they come back to see their CT home and pet dogs.
Thanks for the coverage!!! Great story.
So, you are happy to have found such an ugly boy in Zaragoza? I am sure many of those "tiny Spanish people" where more handsome than that guy...
Maybe we are tiny but at least we are not so ugly as you are dear americans :/
This is a bit off topic, but I really enjoy the Twins talk. I especially enjoy the interviews. They help me get to know these guys a little bit more, especially since I don't get a lot of Twins coverage out here in Seattle. I'm not completely opposed to other sports coverage, but I vote that the Twins stay the main focus.