This year marks the 30th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a national observance celebrating the extraordinary achievements of women and girls in sports. The official date was Feb. 3, but events are going on in the New York-New Jersey area throughout February, including this Saturday at Fordham University in the Bronx. Teresa Weatherspoon, director of player development for the New York Liberty, will be in attendance.
“I try to be the best motivator that I can be to help them along the way,” said Weatherspoon, who has visited several local colleges recently, including Columbia University, where most of the players are preparing for life after basketball. “Anything in the game of basketball is the game of life. They take those things very seriously. It’s all about your uniqueness.”
Columbia assistant coach Trena Trice-Hill was Weatherspoon’s teammate the inaugural season of the Liberty in 1997. They recalled how it was to forge a new path, and Weatherspoon compared that to the Lions’ efforts to forge a new identity for the program.
“They’ve got a great coach [Sheila Roux] at the helm doing such a wonderful job making them believe that they can do some things that they’ve never done. That’s what we were as well coming back to the U.S. from playing overseas and doing things that no one had ever done,” said Weatherspoon, who is also working with various Liberty players to prepare for the upcoming season.
On Feb. 2, a group of women involved in sports were invited to the White House to share their stories and speak about how sport impacts lives. One of the participants was TV broadcaster Christy Winters Scott, who also runs a basketball camp each summer.
“I thought it was a phenomenal opportunity to be around people who have … the ability to impact others, especially to give young girls confidence,” said Winters Scott. “It should be an all-girl environment at a young age where girls are learning how to compete. That’s what my advice was, to have more grassroots opportunities for younger girls who are beginning in sports.
“Especially for young women of color, I think it’s so vitally important to see [role models]. If they have a dream, aspirations or goals in athletics or anything else, they will see there’s nothing that can stop them.”