Countdown to the Women's Basketball season: Austin appeal
Countdown to the Season Series: As the Longhorns coaching staff and players gear up for the official start of the 2005-06 season, TexasSports.com will go behind the scenes and help you get acquainted with the players and coaches and give you a look at what's going on as the team prepares for another year of challenging for championships.
The city of Austin is home to the University of Texas and also home to an abundance of national honors for being one of the nation's BEST cities, in terms of overall lifestyle, offering great professional, social and recreational opportunities for all.
Austin, tabbed "The Live Music Capital of the World", is ranked No. 1 in so many different national media polls and surveys. (Check out some of these ratings and rankings which follow).
As the lone Austin native on the women's basketball team, freshman post Ashley Lindsey names "the people, food, and entertainment" as the best things about her hometown.
Aptly summing up the city in those three words, the rest of the team couldn't agree anymore. Named the "best city to live in the United States" by MSN.com, the No. 1 ranked city "Where Ideas Happen" by Forbes, and on of MSNBC's "top 10 getaway cities" with the likes of Bermuda, Hilton Head and South Beach, the city of Austin has many features beyond the University of Texas that appeals to the players.
Voted the fourth "most loved city in the USA" by AOL users, Austin captured the hearts of the basketball team immediately when they arrived on campus.
In fact, the majority of the team thinks that the best feature about the city is the people.
Ranked as the fourth friendliest city by Travel & Leisure and the fifth "smartest city" (by Men's Journal) and the fifth safest city nationally (by Morgan Quitno), this town has an interesting and diverse group of people. This drew freshman guard and California native Erika Arriaran to say, "Everyone is so nice, out-going and accepting; it's kind of like [I'm] living in the twilight zone!"
Aside from the people, Austin has also been recognized for its entertainment scene. Not only do actor Matthew McConaughy, who can be frequently seen at Texas football games, director Robert Rodriguez, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and actress Sandra Bullock call Austin home, but the movie "Man of the House" was filmed on the 40 Acres last year. Because of its unique appeal, Austin was named the "second best city for movie makers" in 2005.
Austin also draws in thousands of visitors annually for the multi-artist Austin City Limits festival and South by Southwest, a music, film and media festival, living up to its nickname of "The Live Music Capital of the World". To top it all off, the music scene only gets better once the sun sets.
The Sixth Street area of Austin is freshman newcomer Mariana Mergerson's favorite attraction. This area is loaded with restaurants and clubs that also serve as music venues for many local and independent artists. In addition, fellow freshman Crystal Boyd, who hails from Arkansas, values "the live music and entertainment as my favorite things about Austin" as well.
One distinguishing characteristic of Austin is its diversity. With the "Keep Austin Weird" campaign that supports local businesses, and other events such as First Thursdays on South Congress and tons of art festivals co-existing with high tech industry and architecture, Austin was ranked #1 in 2004 for "Places Where Ideas Happen" by VISA's Innovation Index.
In fact, both senior Daria Mieloszynska and Oklahoma native and freshman Earnesia Williams love the city because, as Mieloszynska said, "every weekend we can do something different, and mostly we can do things outdoors all year long". The native of Poznan, Poland misses the lakes, rivers and cafes of her hometown region, but when she immediately discovered an abundance of both water and restaurants in Austin, her adjustment to Texas was made that much easier.
"Austin breaks the stereotypes of Texas that you read about or see in the movies," Mieloszynska explained. "We have so green with so much water here in Central Texas; it is a beautiful part of the country with great people."
Junior All-American Tiffany Jackson agrees with The Boston Globe when they dubbed Austin's theme as "easy does it." With many parks, lakes, and trails that overlook scenic Austin for one to escape from their daily life, it's no surprise that Austin was also chosen as the "10th healthiest city" among the country's 50 largest cities (Sperling's Best Places, April 2005).
For relaxing indoors, many coffee shops offer both relaxing blends and free wireless internet. With, upscale dining juxtaposed with good local TexMex and Southern cooking specialties, the Austin restaurant scene is also cooking up a buzz.
For senior guard Coco Reed the "great Austin restaurants" make the city a great place worth living; fellow senior Nina Norman, a budding chef, also concurs that the "restaurants, along with the great friendly atmosphere", make Austin special.
Overall, relaxing in Austin couldn't be easier and healthier; combine the great dining and many outdoor music, recreation and fitness activities and the result is a city of everything and diversity - for all the Longhorn players to enjoy!
Yet, above all, what makes Austin such a great place to be at?
Mieloszynska summed it up in two letters when she responded: "UT"!