by Dr. Boyce Watkins
It’s hard enough to be a good athlete and make the team at a competitive school. But when you are a 13-year old girl, it’s even harder. Even more, being a girl who gets to be the co-captain of a boy’s team pretty much makes you phenomenal.
Janya Lilly is the only girl on the basketball team at Hampstead Hill Academy in Baltimore, MD. According to WBAL-TV, she’s also the co-captain.
She says that the reason she joined the team was because she felt that the boys could use a little boost in effort and talent, and offered her services to help them out. It didn’t matter to her that she was years younger than the boys and that a lot of girls would have concluded that the team was not for them.
“I was watching the boys play, and I went up to the coach and asked if I could try out, because it looked like I could help them out some,” Lilly told Yahoo. “They looked like they were a good team, but they needed encouragement.”
Not only is Janya an amazing athlete, she’s also a superstar student. She has a 3.8 grade point average. She wants to one day become an attorney after she spends a few years playing in the WNBA. So, it appears that her life is mapped out for her already and she’s headed right toward the top.
“She is one of the best players on the team … and she’s a leader,” coach Jason Wheatley told WBAL-TV. “I think the biggest thing about Janya is she’s fearless, which makes a great athlete.”
What I love about Janya’s achievement is that she reminds us that great children are produced by extraordinary parents. Like products off an assembly line, our kids are reflections of what values we instill in them. Someone told this young lady that a) she is as good as the boys, and b) she should chase her dreams, and that’s what she is doing right here. If someone had instead killed her confidence, she would never be bold enough to try to do what she’s doing right now.
The second thing we can notice about this story is that Janya’s accomplishments show that there is a direct correlation between athletic achievement and academic achievement, if we approach it with the right attitude. The same day-to-day work ethic, focus, and commitment it takes to be an extraordinary athlete can be easily translated into the tools necessary to succeed in business, school and anywhere else. So, the next time you hear the star of the basketball team tell you that he can’t understand basic math, your response should be “you’re full of it.” It takes a whole lot more intelligence to understand complex offensive schemes than it does to do Algebra.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance PhD, Financial contributor to Jet Magazine, and author of the book, “Everything you ever wanted to know about college”. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.