Dec. 21, 2011
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — With the fall semester in the books, the University of Iowa women’s basketball team should only have basketball to worry about for the next month. With the holiday season in full swing, the team added another responsibility to its list; volunteering.
Both coaches and players spent time this week volunteering for the Salvation Army. The players spent a few hours at the Salvation Army church in Iowa City, serving dinner and helping organize storage closets and food pantries. The coaches spent a morning at Sycamore Mall in Iowa City, manning one of the famous red kettles with bells in hand.
“It’s a great time of the year for our team to be out in the community,” said UI head coach Lisa Bluder. “The players don’t have to worry about classes, so they only have basketball to concentrate on. With it being the holidays, it’s a great time to give back to the community.”
While the holiday spirit brings out the giving back side of most people, Bluder believes her team enjoys spending time in the community year-round.
“Being seen in our community is very important to our players,” Bluder said. “They care about this city and community; they aren’t just here for four years and then leave. They care about Iowa City.”
“Being seen in our community is very important to our players. They care about this city and community; they aren’t just here for four years and then leave. They care about Iowa City.”
UI head coach Lisa Bluder
Members of the women’s basketball team realize the opportunity they have as a Division I student-athlete. Not one of them takes that opportunity for granted.
“It’s really important for us to give back,” sophomore Theairra Taylor said. “We are extremely fortunate as student-athletes at the University of Iowa. We need to share that with the people around us and show the community how much we appreciate it.”
Taylor spent most of her time at the Salvation Army church on a ladder, re-stocking boxes of food for future meals. Her teammate, freshman Samantha Logic, was on top of a ceiling-high shelf taking boxes from Taylor and re-organizing them.
“Things like stocking shelves, organizing food, anything like that, makes you realize there are other things outside of basketball,” Logic said. “We just want to help in any way we can.”
The lessons learned from stocking shelves and helping people less fortunate are ones that Bluder hopes her team takes with them after leaving the program.
“There are a lot of lessons learned from volunteering,” Bluder said. “The first lesson is just the joy of volunteering. Being able to help someone who maybe isn’t as fortunate as you is an idea we try to get across to all of our players. Our hope is that the players continue to volunteer once they graduate from the University of Iowa.”
Even though the holiday season is almost over and the spring semester is right around the corner, the volunteer efforts won’t be slowing down any time soon.
“It feels good to show our support in the Iowa City community,” Taylor said. “Our team really enjoys coming out and helping in any way we can.”
If Taylor’s message is any indication, the rest of her teammates will be spending just as much time off the court on the community as they do on the court preparing for their next opponent.