Mary Ann Van Osdell, Judd, Cathy S.
News Release Distributed 07/16/10
RUSTON, La. – Don’t lose a dream by hanging out with the wrong friends, Coach Teresa Weatherspoon told a group of 26 sixth- through eighth-graders as part of the Celebrate Girls 4-H Club event July 14-16 here.
Weatherspoon is coach of the Lady Techsters basketball team, a Louisiana Tech graduate herself and a member of the U.S. women’s basketball team that won the gold medal at the summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, in 1988.
Cathy Judd, LSU AgCenter extension agent in Lincoln Parish, who organized the 4-H Club Celebrate Girls event, said its purpose was to help teach self-esteem and how to make good choices.
“I don’t know you, but I love you because you are important,” Weatherspoon began. “I am no different from anyone in this room. If there is success before me, I am getting it.”
Your mental state is important, she said. “You must value who you are. We are all great and perfect in our own way. We are all different, but we can learn from each other.”
She said she was told by a coach in her hometown of Pineland, Texas, population 882, that she would not make it as a basketball player. When she returned home from Seoul as a gold-winning basketball player, she knocked on his door at midnight.
“Get the last laugh,” she said. “You are going to be told no.”
She shared personal stories of a nephew who was killed in a wreck after he let someone drive his car and a brother who could have been a pro athlete, but had drug problems.
“Think before you do,” Weatherspoon said. “I don’t want any of you to lose your dream if you decide to be in a crew that pulls you in the opposite direction. It is OK to be in a circle by yourself.”
Weatherspoon told the girls academics is first and foremost. “Basketball will deflate,” she said.
Topics addressed at the event included nutrition, hair care and make-up, healthy relationships, organizing and decorating your room, teamwork and career choices.
LSU AgCenter extension agent Amanda Simmons presented Internet safety, and Carol Remy, another agent, gave a lesson on etiquette.
This is the second year for the Celebrate Girls event in Lincoln Parish. Webster Parish 4-H had a similar event earlier this summer, and Red River Parish 4-H is sponsoring a series of Celebrate Girls events this summer, Judd said.Mary Ann Van Osdell