Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson was one of the guest speakers at the Walter Camp Football Foundation Stay In School Rally on January 10th at the Floyd Little Athletic Center in New Haven.
Its been a busy offseason for Lawson, who has been named an honorary co-chair of the Pat Summitt Foundation Advisory Board, sharing that distinction with fellow Tennessee graduate and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. For more information on the Foundation and Lawson's role, click HERE.
Lawson recently took a few minutes to discuss her offseason, which also includes ESPN commentary duties and a heavy workout program she believes will help her build on last years success.
You had a pretty direct message about the importance of hard work during your speech today. You seemed to really enjoy yourself.
Anytime you get the opportunity to speak to high school age students, its important. There are a lot of habits they have already formed, but they are still impressionable, especially if theyre athletes. They look up to some of the guys who were here who played in the NFL . Its a natural thing at that age to have people you aspire to be like, and so your message sometimes can be a little more impactful than other professionals who come in, because sports and athletics is such a big part of the high school experience, even if you dont play. So it was great to interact with some of the players.
Do you still remember what it was like hearing professional athletes speak when you were in high school?
Well, we never had anything like this. This was great. But anytime I had an opportunity to observe or be around pro athletes, I was thrilled about it. I maybe tried to play if off like I wasnt excited on the outside, but certainly on the inside it was pretty special. I did observe and try to take some of the things they said made them successful and try to incorporate it into what I was doing because I wanted to get there. I wanted to go from being a high school athlete to being a pro athlete, and somebody who is already there, they must know something about how to do that.
What does it mean to you to serve as a co-chair of the Pat Summitt Foundation?
They approached me a couple of months ago myself and Peyton about being the honorary co-chairs of the board. For me, having played for coach Summitt, and having continued to have such a great relationship with her, it was an easy decision. (Peyton) is very close to Pat as well, and hes about as popular as it gets in terms of former Tennessee athletes. Peyton has been a great representative of the University and it is something I have always strived to be. Its something coach Summitt really instilled in her players. When you leave here, you represent yourself your family, the university,and so make sure youre doing that in a positive way. So what better way to pay her back for all that she has done than to help her with this fight?
You had a career year for the Sun in 2012. What is your mindset as you train for 2013? Are you looking to maintain the level of play you reached last summer, or do you believe there is another level to be reached?
I cant give away all my secrets. The maintenance word is not one I like to use. I think if you are maintaining what you are doing, you are losing ground. Our league is so competitive and there are so many great players and you have to try and find ways to keep your edge. For me, its full bore, lets get better, lets improve, lets come back as good as you can possibly be. I look at last year, and there are things I am pleased with about last year. But my plan is to be a whole new player come training camp.
Lastly, you will be playing for a new coach this season in Anne Donovan. You played for Anne in the 2008 Olympics. Can you talk about your expectations?
For me, any time you have experience with a coach, that certainly puts you at ease a little bit. You know what to expect. You have a relationship. You kind of have an idea of what things are going to be like. I spent a lot of training sessions, a lot of practices, a lot of time around Anne. I have a pretty good feel for who she is as a coach, and I think she has a pretty good feel for who I am as a player. So for me, its just preparing and trying to come up with a better season for our group.