A Mother-Daughter Connection


Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate

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For many young basketball players, this week was an unforgettable experience. After all, attending a three-day camp coached by Lynx players and coaches is the stuff of dreams for many young girls.

But for 9-year-old MaiaSimone Franklin, it was a different kind of experience. Although her mother, Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin, said she and her daughter don't spend much of their time together playing basketball, she enjoyed having her daughter in camp.

"She's a tennis player," Taj said. "She likes basketball, because when you're around it 99 percent of the time, at some point you're going to want to play it. We play a little, play around."

Taj said that this is MaiaSimone's second year of Lynx camps, but that she doesn't usually attend basketball camps because it's not her sport of choice. Wary of being "that mom" who forces her kids into things they aren't interested in, Taj doesn't want to pressure her or push her to like basketball.

"Last year I asked her and she said, 'Yeah, I'd love to go.' She likes other kids. And she's never around them because her siblings are both older, 22 and 24, so it's just her at home. When she hears other kids are going to be there, she gets really excited," said Taj. She added that seeing other girls her age playing basketball makes her more eager to participate.

"I just let her feel her way. She's going to be really tall, so maybe she will play basketball. But I don't want to push her and hound her and say, 'You've got to play.'

Of having her mom as a coach, MaiaSimone said, "It was all right," but Taj wasn't convinced.

"I don't know. I don't think she likes having me as a coach," she joked. "You can't be Mom and Coach, because something's going to have to give. You can't always be mean and on them -- they've got to have a break. So I didn't really coach her. I said a few things to her and then I left it alone."

The almost-fourth-grader said she had a good time at the camp, and although she admitted to liking tennis better than basketball, she said she gained some skills during her time with the Lynx.

"I told the campers that even though it's basketball-related, I think the same drills that we do here help with other sports, with tennis, with soccer. So I hope she will take away at least some of the techniques. Maybe it's not shooting. Maybe that shot is her overhead smash."

Above all, Taj hopes her daughter takes away the competitive attitude and drive that's required of athletes, and the sense of family that comes with sports.

"I hope that she would take just a little bit about the amount of energy you need to expend to do what you do well. She's always around [the Lynx players], so she knows they're great role models. She loves them, loves being around them. So just being around and soaking up some of what [they] bring."
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