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Special toThe News JournayTOM NUTTER

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Basketball star Val Whiting uses league to teach kids about HlV, AIDS
BY KEVIN tlOOllAl{ Staff rePorter

on a leave of absence fum the Deboit Shock of the WNBA. Whiting isn-t sure if she wants to continue her pro

Val Whiting saw the statistics, but she didn't see cold, meaningless numbers. She saw Young women whose lives were being ruined, and sometimes ended. And sheknew she hadto do something, anYthing,
to help.

fessional careef so Detrcit put her on the league's suspended list. For the past few years, she's also

run a sunmer basketball league for high school-age girls inhernative

Delaware. This year, she'll have 12 teams in theleague, which is cosponsored by Wilmington Parks and Recreation and willrun from June 15 to July 20 at Wilmington trYiends School. basketba& and about life off the court, as well. Whiting will make AIDs education an integral Part of her lea,gue, with daylong seminars
sponsored by the state Division of zuUtic tteatUr on June 24 and JuIY

firose statistics showedan alarm' ing increase in cases of HIV and AIDS inwomenage 13to24, espe cially amongminorities and esPe cially inDelaware. AndWhiting is
using her clout as a basketball stand-

fire participants willlearn about

outto increase awareness abouthow the diseases have sPreadinrecent years and how to avoid them. "What's the point of being a role


modelunless you use thatto helP other people?" Whiting said. "I'm


not being noble or anYthing like, that, I'm just taking advantage of the opportuniW I have because I'm a professional athlete and have some

name recognition in Delaware.I'm iust forhrnate that because of who I

andwhatl do thatl canhave somekindof imPact."

Whiting was an AII-State basketball player at Ursuline Academy and an All-American at ,O* StanfordUniversit5z She is currenfly

AP lile Photo

According to the Aflanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 1986 Delaware has ranked from second to 18th in AIDS cases per 100,0fi) PeoPIe, and currently is eighth. And what skuck home wds-thls: Aftican-Americans make uP 1"2 percent of the population of women

ValWhiting is considering whether she wants tb keep playing in theWNBA.



to 60 Percent




Athletes, Bancroft students celeb

Message delivered is to work hard at getting an education
Staff reporter

hope to the youngsters," si Thompson, who coaehed basli

ball, tennis and track during m than 25 years at Wilmington Hi

'Although it's Black Histr Month, we're dealing with cl dren, and the diversity of cultu

here is vast," Thompson said.

point Tuesday, Bancroft Elemen.tary School honored some of Delaware's finest African-Americans in the worid of sports and the

Black WILMINGTON - As Ilistory Month reached its mid-

"Regardless of it being Bk History Month, which we have have, the message goes for all k

and all walks of life." Thompson invited each stud to take up a sport this summer. He said students who take p

performing arts.

suing a career in professional

sports is a noble goal, but perform-

The main message was that pur-

sports are more likely to stay al from society's negative temp tions.

in positive

endeavors such

,ing well in academics should always come first. The honorees for the school's

Whiting's introduction focu

on all of her basketball success

third annual African-American Awards ceremony included .Newark High football standout Kwame Harris, former Wilmington High multi-sport coach Gene Thompson, WNBA player Val Whiting and ballet star Heidi

Special to The News Joumal/TOM NUTTER

Pro basketball playerVal Whiting, a graduate of Ursuline Academy' signs autographs for-sttidents at BancroflElementary Schoolduring a Black History Month event.

When she stepped forwa Whiting told the students she r most proud of something else:
college education.

Whiting graduated from St ford, where she played on t

NCAA championship teams.

Stanford University, pot only because he's a talented athlete.

Yancey-Mosley. But the 36 members of Marie .Moore's fifth-grade class stole the 'show

"He's a very good student,"

Hodge said.

cblly diverse group. 1A fantastic program, and each of the honorees gave a message of

"When you accomplish soi thing, don't become complace: Whiting told the students. "I dr

The students artfully quoted

facts and a poem about Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Said Kari Malatesta, 10, of Newark: "You need a good education to get into sports. If you don't have that, you can't be in sports."
were excited to meet Whiting, an Ursuline graduate who plays for
the Detroit Shock.

The two were influential black

Malatesta, and many others,

leaders of the early 1900s. .' "You are always supposed to get

your education first," said Dustin

Hodge, 10, of Newark.


ris, a lineman who will attend

Hodge said he looks up to Har-

The more than 600 fifth- and sixth-grade students attending the event formed a racially and ethni-





celebrate black histot*

bv this' but

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ror Yancw Mosrev, a


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d *xffi?i::3#ml,nl: Qopson invireti
to take up a sport this summer.
each student



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: i

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on all of her basketball success.

q-trtting's introduction focused

*Y,X?1;lifJ :fJr""i,l".xtj; . -gft proud of something else: her

Nq$j championshit;d;." " " ,, . accomplish some_ don't
become complacentJ'

- Whiting graduated from Stan_ tord, where she played on two "

college education.


Whiting told the,t"a""iri-,t"Jri.i"

Women In Sports Day 2000

(From left) Cherohn Brorrn,11, of Seaford;Jennifer.Watkinsn 10, oJ Qgar;and Lauren Saveikisn lS, of Seafoii'iitneWomin lay aw.ards ban-quet at Wesley Gollege on Sunday. Watkins'cousin, Vanita Bentley, was among tliose honoreO ai tlre lvent. Brown and Saveikis came with a group lrom theWestern Suisex County Boys and Girls ctu6. A[ three hive a keen]inteitii in ipo*i.


Special fli The News JountaUDEE



The Future: Gherohn Brown, Jennifer Watkins and Lauren Saveikis

Staft reporter

DOVER - Lauren Saveikis knows what women athletes have had to overcome.

home and couldn't work, and it's still kin! 9f like that today," the 13-year-old

"Women couldn't vote and had to stav

eighth-grader from Seaford Miildle

School said. "Peopiil still think men are better." That's why 240 people, at least 200 of them women, gathered at Wesley College on Sunday to celebrate the 13th annual "Women in Sports Day." Sponsored by the Delaware Women's Alliance for Sport and Fitness, the event raised almost $3,000 for scholarships with an auction, handed out awards to 27 hig}n school and eight other female athletes and contributors, and gave Delaware female athletes an invaluable dav of their own. "When I was growing up 25 or 30 years ago," said DWASF president

show a clip of a women's sport." She never dreamed of the strides women's athlelics would make in ternoe of opportunities and exposure since..

Karen Conlin, "I'd watch,lWide World of Sports'. Every six months or so, they'd

then. Yet Sunday's luncheon stands as the one day for Delaware's women athletes to come together in their own spotlight, Hearing the stories of speakirs Val Whiting and Mamie Johnsbn, and seeiJrg the reactions of the crovird, gave Conlin a reminder of why the DWr\SF ,:.




Women In Sp
"Be the first to arrive at class,

the first to arrit

WNBA player and Ursul


stars ofl,

women's sports will grow. And the more Whitings there will be. Not that becoming what Whiting has become a WNBA star,

Stanford grad, -future medical student and public speaker is


"Be the first to arrive at class,

be the first to arrive at practicg

be the first to arrive at excellence," Whiting told the audience. -:*-Whiting vividly


the failed cheerleading tryout in seventh grade that launched her

basketball career.

Her mother, Claudette, remembers the taunts her daughter received for being a tall, la4ky, fe-

male athlete. Now Whiting is speakingto an

auditorium full of people about

week, giving a motivational speech to MBNA executives the

Martin Luther King Jr.


Cheering on the sidelines while her father coached youth

know what was out there.

next, then taking her boyfriend's 11-year-old sister to practice at 7 a.m. to show her what hard work really is. "When I was young, I didn't know what it took," Whiting said.

football, Whiting didn't even

women's and girl's athletics, which Whiting is a big part of,
there is more awareness andmore

In the current world of

opportunities. There are more Val Whitings. Sunday afternoon, there may have been a few Whitings in waiting in the audience, seeing in person what today's female athlete
can be.

ValWhiting {right) goes up for a shot while playing with Detroit in aWNB,

orts Day 2000

r at practice, be the first to arrive at excellenGe.'n
ne graduate Val




fllgh $clrool

lfilete lwmds

Lauren Shaw, Middletown Vanita Bentley, Delcastle Tracey HoweH, A.l. Dupont Josie Harris, Hodgson Vo-Tech lGren PettyFhn, Sussex Central Lauren Spivack, Brandvwine Lindsey Elliot, Delmar Edca Labar, William penn Amber Chambers, Dover Caroline Salas, St. Andrew's Suzanne Speed, Smvma Kristin lrwin, Seafordliffany McCrea, Laurel Kenna Healey, Archmere

Kristy Vodvarka, Polvtech J-ennifer Sheets, Wobdbridge Kellye Hines, Glasqow Lindsey Couilney, e. RoCney Meghan Hannum, Sanford Kelly Hoisington, St. Etizabeth Nicole Faries, Lake Forest Stacey Phillips, Concrrd Kristin McGough, Ursuline Clare Poynton, Newark Laura Gillaspy, Charter Marcy Shea, Tatnall Jacqueline Clements, Christiana

lhlawme lhment lfliancc lor $pont and HmGs$ lwands

Shirley Hart, Bettv Richardson

Janet Lardear Judy Kreggenwinkel Jana Withrow


Karen Biesinger Willy Miranda

Or$htrgCdt SrfuSrtnrunr

Sctnnnsill Ebffi*m

Marion Lisehora

Future: Girls learn from sport pioneers

FROM PAGE Cl - ."Blq is why we're doing this. This is what we're about," Conlin said. Some of the youngest athletes on hand hope the DWASF keeps u[ its mission un-til tley cqn join the group. 'I think that would [elp support other people." said Seaford Middle School sixthgr-adgr Cherohn Brown, who, like Saveikis, came to the luncheon with the Western Sussex County Boys & Girls Club. "sportsinoritd be treated equally." many people stunned by Johnson's stories of playingbaseball in the Negrb L"ai.ret with the men. "f thought women weren't allowed, because they aren,t now," Brown said. "If [women] are good enough, theyshouldbe on baseball teams.". . Johnson's message was so msprnng to some. it made her
She was just one of the

accomplishment seen simple. "Baseball is very easy,'t said l0-year-ola .lennifer' Watkins of Bear. "I think there could be all-girls teams right now."

in yourself," Brown said.

did refer to her as "that tall lady," there is good that comes from live proof of success. "It shows you to have faith

Whiting a former Ursuline star who now plays in the WNBA, said she's never sure what kind of impact she makes at an event like this. Even if one young athlete

"When you have faith you can do it, you can do it." "ft helps me," Saveikis said. "Knowing they succeeded in ryhat_they did helps me say that I can do it."


game last season.


To learn more about the visit its Web site at

Reach Doug Lesmerises at 32&2g50 or dlesmeri

Pasfi Johnson's Negro League experience paved waY for women


color line." The explanation of her accomplishment was accomPanied by tfie proper awe from the audi" ence at the "Women in SPorts

"lt's a pleasure
to stand here and say not who I am, but what I am.o'
Mamie 'Peanut' Johnson small, Johnson had a record of 33-8 durine her three-Year Pitching career with the IndianaPolis Clowns. She ioined WNBA star Val Whitin"g as guest sPeakers at the luncheon, and a room full of women athletes liked nothing more than getting to know a woman who proved she was as

that whatever he can do, she can do just as well. Johnson operates a Negro League memorabilia shoP in
Washington, D.C. now and travels the country speaking at banquets and gatherings about a baseball feat most of her aufiences know nothing about. Johnson's career begs one question: Will a woman ever match Johnson and play men's professional baseball? - "The men are so Pig-headed," Johnson said. "They still think it's a man's thing and women aren't supposed to do what theY can do. "It's that macho thing. But you have to be able to plqy. W9 played like the fellas, although we weren't the fellas." If there are any questions in the future about what women can do, Johnson's past can helP provide an

Day" luncheon SundaY at Wes" Eu"r, belaware Women's Alliance for Sport and trltness uresident Karen Conlin had as-

lev Colleee.

sumed Johnson played in a women's league before she met her. "She's a true pioneer," Conlin said. "You don't get much better

than that."

Dressed in a Negro League

sweatshirt and cap, Johnson came across as a universal

grandmother. with "babY" and nhoney" sprinkled liherallY through her baseball slories. She learned the curveball fiom Satchel Paige and was a teammate of Hank Aaron' And
she was good. Nicknamed "Peanut" because she was so

good as the guys. - "lt's a pleasure to stand here and sav nbt *ho I am, but what I am," J6hnson said foom the

oodium. ' What that is is living Proof


The Pas[ Mamie 'Peanut'Johnson

Stalf reporter

The Present: Ual Whiting

Staff reporter

DOVER*WhenMamie Johnson atternpted to try out for the All-l\merican Girls

Professional Baseball League almost 50 years ago, they turned her away
because she was black.

DOVER-Val Whiting
leaned into the microphone at the pofium, pumping up

her game-worn Detroit Shock jersey that hadjust been put

up for auction.

Her selling point? Real

game sweat.

The 64year-old

That's as good an example


believe the ban and

you'll find of today's


later calls pathetic. But she's

glad the league refused to


This baseball card shows "Peanut" Johnson in her Negro League playing days. play in a men's ptofessional baseball league and is the only one still alive. Unable to follow Jackie Robinson's lead in breaking the color line, she broke the
gender line.

woman athlete - a confident, stunning role model who gets paid to play her passion and who can have people fighting to bid $300 for a WNBA jersey heavy on the

Specihl to The News JoumayDEE ihAFlVlN

ValWhiting went from Ursuline Academy to Stanlord University to the WNBA, where she plays lor the Detroit Shock.
be James Worthy."

break its color barrier. "Because they didn't let

me play, they gave me the chance to be in a whole

perspiration. "I didn't have people to come back and give me inspiration," said Whiting who
has been returning to

The teen-agers at the

Women in Sports Day luncJreon

league of my own," Johnson said Sunday.

Johnson took her baseball skills to the Negro Leagues, where she joined the Indianapolis Clowns. She became one of the three women to

"To me that's much more

important," Jshnson said. "That's much better than the



Delaware to do that since she left Ursuline Academy for Stanford University more than 10 years ago. "These young athletes have a chance that I didn't have. When I grew up, I looked up to James Worthy. But I couldn't

at Wesley College on Sunday do have the opportunity to be

the next Wlriting.

Andthemore Whitings
there are, and the more they
come back, and the nlore they inspire others, the more


ffiffiffiffi ffiffiffi

&tutu-ffiwffiffi wffiffiffi

NBA, WI.{BA hope

clinics promote reading, education
Staff reporter

for many sports
"I.don't think basketball play_

all abour the money

tl_ad(son speaks tans.

_ WILMINGTON _ Tamisha

shawn Smith. Monday afternoon,

nities &r h-er g-year-ota s'dn f,e_

about the education and opportu-

mought sports was all about-the money" .^ -J-ugk..oq is.a woman of opin_ rons,. b]rt she is most passionate

ff iriisl9":i:f,i'$,'f


)All-Star Weekend sat on a schedule ........ G6 wooden bleacher

clarence Flaim Boys and.changed. he1 4qind about pro_ ressronal basketball. That's what the NBA and WNBA


utn* .ilf;

Jackson said.

Basketball" message out to chil_ dren. lt s_ure doesn,t hurt if the momsanddads getthe word, too . "'l'o_come out and care enough to tell kids to read, I have a new_ t:9l,ld respect_for the league,,, ,,Now
it's more-than

of teamwork and sportsmanshio. the leagues are taking steps in ttie cornmuutyto get their "Books and

read and leaniing the fundamentals

week clinic aimed at gettingkids to

wer-e h_onins for. With an ait_Stai

Iust me andfiis teachers telling

Ursuline grad VaI '#f_.#Xl.l*l#i$fl Whitine_Rav-


mond was the main speakei who

Sgc.heg out to 50 kids wearing Jr: VBA/Jr.- WNBA T-shirts anO-fol_


,..Iormer NBA player Buck rylltams-was also supposed to ppea1 aJ Mo4day's ctiiiit, lut fri anceled_at
the last minute and ormel University of Delawiie
riayer Robdrf .lact<ion stennea]

"" ,,.,u-i,nJu;3ffi:ll'#'flyJ$'33i?T"1fj,f:,ffi[li,HT,'j^'#I",tK1Whiting.Raymono...nffi

Clinic: More to the game than fun


WNBA basketball program. Whiting-Raymond's words. For The first-year program helps 45 minutes, the kids listened and youth l,9agues, providing whisfles, asked q4estions. Then came 45 clipbodrds, certificates and pliayer minuteS of dribbling, passing

WILL HELP ME groups in Delaware to take adBETI{EBESTICANBE!" vantage of the program. 'jStaying in school, reading, At the Fbaim Club, participalistening to your coach - those tion in the basketball league messages can have a huge im- doubled to 150 children as parpact coming from professional ents and kids noticed the clirb's basketball players," Whiting- mention on '"The kidS think, Raymond said. 'If I'm Jr. The clinic was one of four NBA or Jr. WBNA now, then that took place around the when I grow up I can be in the Philadelphia area Monday They NBA or WNBA,'" Parrishserved as the kickoff to All-Star Poindexter said. "They're so week, which culminates with proud to be part of it." Sunday's NBA All-Star game. The Fraim league also uses The Fraim Boys & Girls Club NBA and WNBA jerseys ordered was chosen because of its good from the program, jerseys the reputation and because it is a players wear even off the court. member of the Jr. NBA/Jr. That added to the weight of

ford graduate who is training for her second season with the there to watch his 7-year-old WNBAs Minnesota Lynx, was commercial for the program last daughter Natasha. "It's not all more than capable of carrying year, sent in an application and about fun, it's not all about basthe load, getting out of her chair watchedthefree stuff pour in. ketball. But then they got to to scream, twice, the final pasNewark Parks and Recre- havefun." sage of the NBAs Read to ation and the Dover Air Force As they lined up for an autoAchieve pledge as the kids re- Base Boys & Giris Club and graph from Whiting-Raymond, peated after her. Youth Center are the only other there were laughs and smiles ..READING
was already

Whiting-Raymond, the Stan-

organizations that applied to be af filiates. Yolanda Panish-Poindexte{, the physical education director at the Fraim Club, saw a

"That showed thern there's more to the game than just the garre," saidBear's Jim Rayfield,

and hints of a message received. As for Tamisha Jackson, she


a good mood.

report cardfrom the fourth grade at Richardson Parks Ele-

When her son brought home his

mentary he had boosted his

grade in reading from a B to an
A. As areward, Jackson

Leshawn to the NBA Jam


exhibit that's part of All-Star week. It will be a day to remembe4 but she also hopes he doesrt't

sion on Saturday an interactive

forget what he was told Monday "Hopeftrlly after what he saw today" Jackson said, "his grade next marking period will be an A-plus."
li ne.


and parent manuatrs

to and defense drills.