Military Night Series Part 4: Reeve's Childhood On The Air Force Base


Editorís Note: The Minnesota Lynx will hold its annual Military Night on Aug. 31 against the Tulsa Shock. Leading up to that evening, LynxBasketball.com will highlight members of the team who have family military ties. Part 4 looks back at coach Cheryl Reeve and her father, who was in the Air Force during most of her childhood.

Andrea Allis
Web Editorial Associate

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As a young girl, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve didn't know how much her father's life as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force would affect her.

When she was born in Omaha, Neb., near Offutt Air Force Base, Cheryl's father Larry Reeve had already been an Air Force member for about five years, and he served in Vietnam before Cheryl was old enough to remember. Her family spent nine years in Omaha, after which they moved to Georgia, where they would stay for three years. When Larry received orders to relocate to Alaska, the Reeves prepared to move once again.

"I remember he had this big four-door truck with a big camper on it, and we were ready to make the journey to Alaska," Cheryl said.

But about a month before they would set out, Larry's orders changed, and he was to be stationed in Japan.

"That's when he made the decision," Cheryl remembered. "I was in middle school. I had two brothers; my oldest and I were in middle school and the other was a little bit younger. He made the decision to retire."

By that point, he had dedicated two decades of his life to military service, and the Reeves moved back to New Jersey, where both of Cheryl's parents were from.

"That's where a lot of our aunts, uncles, cousins all were," Cheryl said. "From there, he did the navy yard thing, so he was very committed to the forces.

"My dad loved it," she said. "He was a lifer, and he wouldnít have retired had it not been the orders and the family situation he put first. But he loved it. That was his passion, his calling."

Reeve said that growing up as part of a military family instilled a sense of rigidity in her brothers and her.

"My dad was a disciplinarian," Cheryl said. "It was black or white, there was no in between. If itís a rule, itís a rule. If it says not to do that, you donít do that. If someone is in a position of authority, if they say it, it goes. I think that helped us in our upbringing, and that attention to detail is something all three of us kids carry with us in our professional lives."

For Cheryl, her life as a professional basketball coach has certainly been influenced.

"I think the harder part of me is definitely my dad," Cheryl said. "I just donít know if itís who he was as a young person and it just flourished in the military or if he became that in the military. But yes, I think my rigid nature comes from that. I think it has to be."

The Lynx will honor military members and their families on Military Night on Aug. 31 during their game against the Tulsa Shock, when they hope to have thousands of military families in attendance with tickets paid for by donations.

The Lynx are accepting donations in any amount from now until game day, Aug. 31. To donate, call 612-673-8400 or mail donations to 600 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55403 labeled "Military Donation."

Reeve said the night not only gives her a chance to reflect on her personal experience with the military, but that it also allows her to show appreciation for the freedoms that allow her to live her dream.

"I think itís an amazing thing to be a part of," Reeve said. "Especially if you are not in the military, it gives you a chance to say, 'Hey, we really appreciate it.' I get to coach a game that night because we have freedoms, as a woman in this country, as an individual, to be able to live my life as freely as I do. Itís a chance for all the people to take note of something they maybe wouldnít have thought of.

"I think this allows us to shine a light on military families and the sacrifices they go through for us and for our freedom that I think oftentimes we take for granted. If we can shine the light on that and have it more in our minds, I think itís a great thing for all of us."


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