“Play, Believe, Achieve”

Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports Day with the New York Liberty

By: Alexandra Stegura

The New York Liberty and the Boys and Girls Club of Newark teamed up to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day observed on February 2nd. What began in 1987 in Washington, D.C., National Girls and Women in Sports Day has become a nationwide celebration of the importance and the accomplishments of females in athletics. This years theme was “Play, Believe, Achieve” which is exactly what Connie Ludwin, the CEO of The Boys and Girls Club of New Jersey, had to say to the sixty children, both boys and girls, that showed up to the Liberty’s event yesterday.

“As a former athlete, I have learned so many skills from participating in sports such as teamwork, hard work, and perseverance,” said Ludwin. “I have applied all of these skills in every part of my life and it has given me success in the real world.”

A special Proclamation from Mayor of Newark Cory Booker was presented by Deputy Mayor Margarita Muñiz to the Liberty for promoting the value of fitness and sports and also welcoming the team with open arms to play at The Prudential Center in Newark for the next three seasons. Mentioned in the Proclamation was gratitude for former Liberty player Kym Hampton, and Liberty head athletic trainer Lisa White, for their participation in the day’s event.

Hampton stressed the importance of hard work to the children.

“Every day is important. You dictate how good you are and you must always give it your best,” Hampton expressed. “It is up to us to encourage one another how important females are in sports.” Different stations were set up throughout the gym at the Boys and Girls Club of Newark that included fitness, rebounding, shooting, passing, and dribbling. All the children had the opportunity to participate in all the stations and by the cheers and laughter that filled the gym you could tell they were having a great time.

Also helping out at the event was the girls’ basketball team of Malcom X Shabazz High School in Newark, currently ranked as the top team in the state with a perfect 16-0 record. Their biggest win this season came from defeating formerly top ranked Neptune High School at The Prudential Center at the Newark National Invitational.

Senior Shabazz guard, and University of Cincinnati bound student athlete, Alyesha Lovett had the closing remarks of the day to the children that participated.

“Keep playing hard and working hard. If you want to do it then do it!” encouraged Lovett. “Study hard and do well in school. Books are the best!”

“Play, Believe, Achieve” was certainly shown to the children at the Boys and Girls Club of Newark thanks to the help of the New York Liberty.