Signing with a WNBA team is one of the most difficult achievements there is for a professional athlete. There are simply so few positions on the league’s twelve teams and so many hundreds of college basketball players competing for them. There’s no shame in not being chosen. But to be chosen, as has happened to Oregon State University’s Mikayla Pivec, is something worth celebrating.
Originally from Lynwood, Washington, Pivec calls herself “a West Coast girl.” Before signing with the Atlanta Dream, the farthest East she had spent much time was when visiting her sister at Boise State. Not daunted by the prospect of moving to a big city – in such a different climate and culture – Pivec says she’s excited by the opportunity, and that it’s one more thing to look forward to as the next phase of her adult life begins.
“I’ll miss college life, having teammates who’re all going through the same stage of life. On the Dream, some of my teammates will be new like me, and some will be veterans,” Pivec says.
But while that will be a different way of life, she says she looks forward to the challenge of “the next level.”
“I went from high school to college, and this is another jump. I expect to learn like a sponge from professionals who really love basketball.”
Asked if she’d rather have played in the WNBA’s first seasons, around the time she was born, or in some future decade when women’s sports may be more respected or better paid, Pivec says, “I think I’m meant to be in the time zone I am now. My Grandma couldn’t play full-court basketball. I benefitted from progress made thanks to Title IX, and in generations to come, I want my daughters and granddaughters to have even more.”
Pivec observes that even a long career as a professional basketball player would end in her early thirties. That being the case, she has already begun volunteering at Community Outreach, where she’s helped with medical paperwork and job shadowed physicians, laying the groundwork for an eventual career as a pediatrician or a psychiatrist.
By John M. Burt