Ridin' With Cierra: Work & Play

June 26, 2014


Tennessee rising senior basketball player Cierra Burdick is enjoying a very busy summer. The 6-foot-2 senior from Charlotte, North Carolina (Butler H.S.) has been to Colorado Springs twice, winning a qualifying tournament to help her team become USA Basketball's top 3x3 women's team and preparing to represent her country at the FIBA World Championship tournament in Russia.

As for the trip to Moscow, it proved quite productive, as Burdick and teammates Sara Hammond, Jewell Loyd and Tiffany Mitchell fashioned a 9-0 record and won gold medals in Russia.

Burdick also moved to New York City for the summer to serve as an intern at ABC's Good Morning America.

We'll be "Ridin' With Cierra" this summer, as she shares her experiences with USA Basketball and ABC's long-running morning show. We hope you'll join her on the trip and enjoy her fourth installment.

Work and Play. Love and Inspire

    Ohhh, where to start?? This past week and a half has been so eventful. I feel like if I had the time to sit down and write a blog every day I would have no problem coming up with the material to do so. The one problem with doing a blog once a week is the internal debate on what information to include and what to leave out.

    I'm tempted to wear a GoPro strapped to my forehead so others can experience the adventures I take, the people I meet, and my day-to-day journey living, working and hooping here in the city; I think my 6-foot-2, lanky frame attracts enough inquisitive attention without strapping a small camera to my forehead.

    Anyway, I've gotten a lot of questions pertaining to what exactly I do at Good Morning America, so I'm going to do my best to answer those questions. My job title is technically an Intern for #TeamRobin. In other words, I work with Robin (Roberts), her two producers and her assistant, Sonny. I do everything from going into the studio and observing and learning to logging Robin's old ESPN reels to pitching stories for the following day's show.

    I love watching Robin's old ESPN reels, because they're filled with great interviews and I learn so much information about past and present athletes and sports broadcasting in general. It is a true privilege to be able to study Robin and learn from one of the best in the game. Robin has been extremely generous with her time and space: taking me under her wing, introducing me to co-workers and celebrities, and allowing me to pick her brain over breakfast and car rides.

    Outside of work, you can usually find me in a gym somewhere in the city. Thankfully I've linked up with some great trainers and coaches and have the opportunity to work on my game every day before and/or after work. Coach (Stephanie) Glance and the rest of Columbia University women's basketball staff have been very helpful, opening their facility doors to me and allowing me to do some training there. I've also been doing some great skill work with the ProHoops Fam, which is a premiere basketball training company based in New York City. Through the trainers at ProHoops, I've also managed to find my way back into the community working with New York youth in Drill & Play programs.

    The program is a part of the Saturday Night Lights initiative that uses sports as a hook to get kids off the streets. From 5-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights (the time kids are usually on the streets getting into trouble), ProHoops holds free basketball clinics at eight different sites around the city. It's honestly one of the best parts of my week. The site I work at is in the lower east side of the city at the Boys and Girls Republic. It's about a 45-minute commute on the subway, but the opportunity to get out into the community and build a relationship with these kids makes the near-hour journey totally worth it.

    This past weekend was my favorite weekend since I've been in New York, because I had a very special guest... MY MAMA aka My Bestfriend!! She turned a young 51 on May 26th, so for her birthday I bought her plane tickets to come and visit me. It seemed like forever for the weekend to finally arrive, but once it did it was totally worth the wait. She flew in Thursday night and we were up and at em' at 3:15 a.m. Friday morning getting ready for a 4:30 a.m. call time at Central Park for the Jennifer Lopez, otherwise known as JLo, concert that is a part of the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series. This past Friday was technically "Bring your dog to work day," but I decided to bring my mom instead.

    Following the concert, we took a little tour of my stomping grounds at the office, got some brunch in Times Square and headed back to the apartment for a five-hour afternoon nap. Those early call times are brutal! On Saturday, my mom was a true trooper and spent the entire day with me in the gym observing my workouts and watching me interact with the kids at Drill & Play. On Sunday we spent the day at Coney Island and it was a BLAST! From the filming of my Chillin4Charity video to the non-stop laughter on the subway to the waves, kites and sunshine - it was an awesome day spent with just my mom. Because of our busy schedules, we don't get as much quality mother-daughter time as we would like, but when we do, we pick up right where we left off and have some great times.

    After we said our goodbyes Monday morning, I sent my mom a novel-like text explaining a proposition I had for her. Throughout the weekend I noticed how much my mom's knees were bothering her so I decided to brainstorm some solutions. It dawned on me that my mom has a triathlon in September that she's been trying to train for but just doesn't always have enough time in the day. So what better way to kill two birds with one stone than to challenge my mom to start training for at least one hour, four days a week? Through my personal experience with sports, I've learned that the more active I am the better my body feels. So my proposition was this: If my mom started training for at least one hour, four days a week in preparation for her triathlon and to get her knees feeling better, I would do something of her choice for the same amount of time. She excitedly complied and challenged me to get eight hours of sleep at least four nights a week. This may seem like an easy challenge, but anyone who knows me knows my sleeping pattern, or lack thereof, isn't the healthiest. So the first #CareChallenge4Change has been enacted!

    My mom and I would love to encourage others to challenge a loved one to make a positive change in his or her life so they, in return, can challenge you to do the same. Whether it's getting more sleep at night, drinking less soda, or simply taking more time for yourself, it is much easier to make a positive change from routine and habit when you have someone doing it with you.

    Although my mom's and my challenge is from now until September 21st, you can personalize the challenge time span any way you would like. With July just around the corner, it wouldn't be a bad idea to set a time span of July 1st to August 31st. If you do decide to participate in the #CareChallenge4Change, my mom and I would love to hear about it! You can share your challenge with either of us on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CareChallenge4Change @C_Burdick11 or @lburdick_26. We would love to hear about how you're bettering your life and the lives of those around you.

    Above all, my mom and I hope that we can be a testament of genuine love, positive change, and encouraging accountability. After all, life experiences are so much better when you share them with the ones you love. Until next time, live without pretending, love without depending and speak without offending.

    Stay blessed!

    -- Cierra





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