In the classroom, it seems math teacher Ms. Cave can solve any problem.
A lesser known fact, however, is that she is just as skilled on the basketball court. Before becoming a teacher, Ms. Cave spent a year overseas playing professionally.
Ms. Cave started her career as a player for Siena College in upstate New York, where she enjoyed the tightknit team atmosphere.
“The team was really great. I went there specifically because when I went on my visit, the coaches and the team were just awesome people, so as far as the experience goes, being part of a team was everything that I could’ve ever hoped for,” Cave said. “I made some really close friends there.”
After graduating, Ms. Cave wasn’t quite ready to give up the sport.
“After my senior year of college, I just didn’t feel done,” Cave said. “Basketball was my passion.”
She connected with an overseas agent, and worked as a computer lab monitor for Central Catholic High School until the agent found her a team to play for in Norway.
It was a big adjustment.
“I was the only American player, the only foreign player at all,” Cave said.
“Everyone else was Norwegian and they were either working during the day or in school, so our practices were at night.”
Since the team only practiced at night, Ms. Cave had to figure out how to spend her time during the day.
“At first, I had a hard time finding things to do all day,” Cave said. “Sometimes I would go to the gym or the weight room during the day and get an extra workout in, but still, there wasn’t a ton to do, so I started taking Norwegian classes and met more people that way.”
For Ms. Cave, the biggest difference between college basketball and professional basketball was the time commitment.
“For everybody on my college team, basketball was definitely their number one thing,” Cave said. “I loved school too, I really enjoyed college and my classes but we were really passionate about our team and about improving on a daily basis. Everyone in Norway was too, but they just had less time on their hands. Some of them were working full time and if they weren’t, they were in school full time and that means 8 hours a day.”
After her year in Norway ended, Ms. Cave strongly considered playing for another season.
“I really thought about going back for another year,” Cave said. “I actually registered at the University of Bergen to start my Master’s degree there. There’s a piece of me that wishes I had done that, but I decided to come back to the States.”
However, she felt ready to move on from basketball to continue her education.
“I had decided to play overseas because basketball was what motivated me the most at the time, and I wanted to keep playing,” Cave said. “I loved that experience, but I felt like I was a little bit more ready to hang up my sneakers by the end of that year, so I decided to come back to the States to do my masters degree and keep going with school.”
During the summer between the two years she spent working towards a Master’s Degree, Ms. Cave returned to the professional basketball scene, this time for a team in Ecuador.
Her advice for anyone considering playing overseas is to give it a chance.
“If you’re involved in athletics at any school, you have a shot,” Cave said. “Find an agent early, and keep pestering them if you don’t hear anything for a while. After college was the perfect time to live in a new setting, and I’ll always be grateful that basketball gave me the opportunity to do that. I highly recommend it if you’re interested!”