The Minnesota Lynx starters — Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson, Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen — hosted nearly 50 local boys and girls from a North Minneapolis elementary school, and taught them game fundamentals and values on the day after their Game 1 buzzer-beater defeat.
WNBA President Lisa Borders sat in her workout gear watching the youngsters and the players happily interacting at their various on-court stations. “Working with young people is a priority for all of our athlete, ” she told the MSR Monday. “These players lost a game yesterday but they are living in the moment today.
“What they do as professional basketball [players] is not who they are. Pillars of the community are who they are. This is bringing to life what is important to them, which is giving back to the next generation. I think it is so emblematic of the personalities you see” from the Lynx players, said the first-year league president.
Spending close-up time with professional athletes is a highlight for most of the kids, noted Alcindor Hollie, a fourth-grade teacher at Lucy Laney School. “This is the first time a lot of these kids have cometo the Target Center,” he pointed out. “This is a great experience.”
“It’s always fun working with kids. They are so impressionable. We get the opportunity to instill in them the joy of the game, and helping them overcome different challenges when they are not good at something,” added Moore. “I think it is really important for kids at this age group to see us here with them, instructing them and having fun with them.”
Although her non-playing days are a ways down the road, “I enjoy [coaching] in a clinic format,” said Moore.
“Sports is an international language, and teaching the fundamentals at such a young age really engages the kids. But it also helps them get into an active healthy lifestyle,” continued Borders. “They can relate to those players more so than they can relate to Jane and John Q. Public.”
The president also noted that the W players are excellent role models as well as seed planters. “Who knows — the next Maya Moore or the next Seimone Augustus might be right here,” surmised Borders.
“They would have gotten a great experience with these athletes. It becomes more than a role model but becomes an aspiration. They can see the professional opportunity right in front of them, and they can reach out and touch them. It’s wonderful,” she said.
Game 1 delivers best overnight TV ratings
Going up against NFL regularly scheduled Sunday games, the Minnesota-Los Angeles WNBA finals first game on ABC drew the best ratings (0.5) since 2010, ABC/ESPN officials announced Monday.
Minneapolis (2.1) was the best of the top five markets recorded, followed by Nashville (1.4), Hartford-New Haven (1.3), Louisville (1.0), and Charlotte (0.9). However, Los Angeles, who took a 1-0 Finals lead, posted a 0.4 market rating for the city’s WNBA club going for a league championship.
Game 2 is on ESPN2, 7 pm CST.
Read MSR News Online for more WNBA Finals coverage.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charles Hallman is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be reached at email@example.com