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Author Topic: How Two Young Women Have Inspired The Native American People Across The United S  (Read 1216 times)
GregoryBowen
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« on: April 28, 2014, 11:23:38 AM »



 

Native Americans and “Rez Ball” Basketball….. Across this vast country….On Reservations from coast to coast you can find young people playing Basketball…..But a little different style of Basketball…..”Rez Ball” is a little more flying by the seat of the pants style…..even organized Basketball on the reservation is less controlled and more run and gun….I myself am probably the worst basketball player that ever walked….Which just made me admire good ball players even more…..In the mid 90’s my wife and I worked at a reservation boarding school in central South Dakota…..In the evenings part of my job was to open the gym for a couple hours so the dorm students could use it……It may have been in the teens in temperature but I would see these young people make a mad dash for the gym wearing basketball shorts and tennis shoes and T-shirts carrying their basketball shoes to shoot some hoops…..Then I got to watch as they picked their teams and played the fastest pace of basketball I have ever seen…..These students could really move …..I noticed that they moved with more grace and ease than other kids….most teenagers are a little gangly and more knees and elbows as they move…These kids are more like watching the grace of fine running horses…….Indian people love to watch their kids play….The biggest tournament I have ever watched is the Lakota Nation High School Tournament in Rapid City S.D…….This tournament is of all the Indian teams in South Dakota by invitation…….You may as well be watching the NBA as far as the fans go….Each reservation has a huge fan base following them and fill the arena the whole tournament…..hoping to gain bragging rights for their rez and for their players…..Sadly enough after high school very few of these talented young people receive scholarships or enjoy the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level ……I’m not sure why that is exactly…..one, I don’t think that many big name colleges want to take a chance on Native American kids because they have such an attachment to their homes and family and people

Four Years ago The University of Louisville took that chance…..And recruited a young lady from the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon…..Her name is Shoni Schimmel……and Shoni did a good job early in her collegiate career……so good that after her sophomore year …….U of L recruited her sister Jude……Since then, It seems that they have taken collegiate women’s basketball to a whole new level…..not just at U of L…..but nation wide…..They not only have a local fan base ….but are watched by Native people nation wide….I heard a man from Oklahoma say that when those sisters are playing, Indian people are watching……Now you might think that this would cause a lot of outside pressure on the Schimmel sisters ….and that may be true…..But, nobody has ever seen any evidence of that being the case…..In fact….they have not only become role models and an inspiration to all Indian people ….They seem to embrace it……It was recently brought to my attention that these young ladies travel during the summer to different reservations, holding Basketball camps with middle school and high school girls ……teaching fundamentals and applying what they have learned with their students and creating more inspiration among young Indian girls

The last home game for 2014 was against UConn and was combined with senior recognition night and Native American recognition…..As you may know….UConn Men’s and Women’s basketball teams are both national champions after all the NCAA tournaments were done…and this last home game, UConn women were the victors…..but this night was the first time in U of L history, that there was a sell out crowd for the women’s basketball team…..I’m sure it had a lot to do with the thousands of Native American people that traveled, from all corners of this country to enjoy their schimmel sisters playing together for their last regular season game ……Shoni has been drafted to the Atlanta Dream WNBA team and Jude will be a junior this year at U of L …..At half time there was a drum group called Elk Soldier (from South Dakota) That Sang and approximately 20 Native American Indian dancers came out and performed for the sell out crowd, and were received with a huge positive response from the fans……up lifting everyone present ….Native Pride has never been so high!….After the game The entire U of L Women’s team made themselves available for autographs …….They stayed until the last person that wanted an autograph received them…..My family and I were among that crowd who stood in line for hours, for our opportunity to receive autographs from the team……The line was full of Indian people visiting and talking ….I met people from Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska…….Among some of the visitors, were friends and relatives that came to our home and stayed with us, from South Dakota…..Some of them sang with Elk Soldier….All came in support of The Schimmel sisters and we had a great visit…..In talking with our relatives, those couple of nights that they stayed with us, I could feel the pride and the excitement that they felt in their support of these two talented young ladies…..some of the young girls that came, had actually got to take part in a basketball camp last summer and spoke about some of the things that Shoni Schimmel had told them…..The one thing that sticks out in my mind was they told me that she had expressed to them ….That she appreciates them wanting to be like her….but she said “ Don’t be like me!… be better than me!” …..Wow….That hit me hard ….What great words…..

So Why are these girls so inspiring?……I guess to really understand how and why these girls are so inspiring…..You have to understand what the Schimmel sisters represent to all Indian people…..They represent Honor, and Pride, and Success, They made it away from home, away from the rez, but never forgot who they are or where they came from……and they did it In a very public way….at the top, among the best in the country……and made a path that others are inspired to follow…..breaking through racial barriers, stereotypes and proved to themselves, their family, their people and to all Native American people that they could compete with the best of them…..at the highest level……Like Jim Thorpe, and Billy Mills……..Thank You Shoni and Jude Schimmel for Your hard work and  we all hope and pray that we can see both of you on the court for a long time!

Below are a couple links …..one goes to a video about these amazing sisters ……the other is the half time performance at the last home game this season……and others with more information about the schimmel sisters….Enjoy….

Who has inspired you ?….Or who has made a difference in your life….and why…..Do you have a hero, or somebody that influenced your life that you swelled with pride?…..Please leave your answers in the comments at the bottom of this post…..It may say leave a comment in little words …..or it may have a number and comments, in little words……just click on that and leave your comment….Thank you for reading and come again….Smokey

 http://youtu.be/EO8zMtdT69A

http://youtu.be/IqJpHZkSPKQ

http://youtu.be/mgGEJRFJc5k

http://youtu.be/0UWFaNOUmr8
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motivating others, by serving others...you can too! Gregory "Smokey" Bowen
24hr contact http://my.vcita.com/gregorybowen 
   
gregorybowen@g-bowen.ws
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