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By Jordan L. 4th grade

Bev Smith was a famous basketball player and coach. She played for the  U of O and went to the Olympics.I had a chance to intervew her. In this interview you will hear her feelings about events and at the bottom there will be advice for kids who want to get better at sports.

When Bev was a kid she lived in Canada and played sports all year long including hockey, basketball, softball, and soccer.  Her family liked playing sports together.  There was not a lot of organized sports so kids played sports on their own.  Bev wanted to play hockey, but they did not have hockey teams for girls back then and her mom wanted her to play a more ladylike sport. Who knew a famous basketball player wanted to play hockey!  Bev watched her older sister play basketball.  She saw how fun it looked to be part of a team and wanted to be part of that.  She joined the basketball team because she loved the social aspect of playing with friends.

Bev said that attending the University of Oregon changed her life, both getting her college degree and being on the basketball team.  She has very special memories of the great crowds cheering for her team at games.  It was hard for her to describe being in the Olympics where everyone is a champion.  She worked so hard to get there and was trying to do her best, but also wanted to watch the other athletes who were the best in the world.  In 1984 they came in 4th place and they did not do very well in the 1996 Olympics.  At the time that was disappointing, but now she looks back on how special it was to even be at the Olympic level.

Bev loves this quote:  To play the game is good, to win the game is better, but to love the game is the best.  Some of her favorite memories are of being with her team and having to face challenges and get through them.  For example, when they were trying to qualify for the 1984 Olympics, Bev was recovering from a knee injury and her team was very supportive.  Bev admits that she love playing even more than coaching, but she also enjoys coaching because she watches how much fun us kids have and sees that we have a lot to teach her as well.

Bev thinks that sports are important for kids because kids get to make their own decisions.  Sometimes they are successful and sometimes they are not and either way they learn a lot.  You are challenged in both ways and can learn in both ways.  She also thinks kids need to be active and release energy so you can focus better in the classroom.  She also thinks “it is just fun to move your body with other people.”

Bev’s advice for kids who want to improve at sports: You have to love what you do and do what you love.  You should go for it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.  Focus on practicing just like you study for school.  Enjoy it and don’t worry about whether you win or lose, just worry about giving it your best.  Sports and life don’t ask you to be your best, they just ask you to give your best.

A really cool thing about Bev is that she is right here in Eugene and she coaches my basketball team! She does it very well and I am thankful that I have such a close relationship with her.  A shout out to the “gray wolves” (my basketball team).