Athletes encourage youth to stay active, healthy



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Around 100 local boys and girls worked with WNBA stars October 15 on staying active and living healthy.

The five Minnesota Lynx starters — Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Taj McWilliams-Franklin — along with WNBA Legend Teresa Edwards worked with Southside Family Charter School students on basketball fundamentals at the WNBA FIT Dribble to Stop Diabetes clinic on the team’s home court.

Southside Family Charter School students
Photo by Charles Hallman

“It warms my heart, and it says a lot of the character of the women,” Edwards noted of the five Lynx players whom she beforehand introduced individually to the students. Each of them had played a game the night before but spent part of their off-day with the kids.

“Having the young kids here and being able to interact with them” was important for the Lynx players, added McWilliams-Franklin. “I love interacting and teaching.”

Although the youngsters perhaps are too young to fully understand the values of living healthy, McWilliams-Franklin pointed out they are never too young to understand that they can live healthy. “You have to take care of everything you put into your body,” she told the youngsters, “because if you put good things in, you will get good things out.”

“We’re glad to have you here — it is an important part of what we do during our championship games,” said WNBA President Laurel Richie, who advised the young people that taking care of themselves will help them in school as well as in sports. “It is really important for kids to figure out early [in life] to be active,” she said.

“One of the things I really loved as a kid was going outside and playing with my friends,” recalled Moore. “I loved going home from school, finishing my homework as fast as I could, going outside and just playing until the street lights came on.

“Even if you don’t like playing, exercising [and] playing sports, it’s okay, because you can learn how to like that,” she said.

Edwards, a former Lynx player and Basketball Hall of Fame member, noted that over the years she’s seen plenty of programs that claim to help youth but aren’t really beneficial for them. “I think a lot of people in the world say it, but not many are doing it. I just want to be part of the doing. I love being part of the doing.”

McWilliams-Franklin, a mother of three daughters, told the MSR, “I think the main thing for me is about lifestyle. The same thing that I have for my kids…teaching them a lifestyle change to help you understand your body, be healthy and eating right. I think that is more important for me than what I do on the basketball court.”

“Our players are great in giving back,” said Richie.

The Dribble to Stop Diabetes is a national campaign developed by the WNBA, NBA and the NBA Development League to raise awareness about type 2 diabetes.


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