Opportunities in view Women's athletics: Through National Girls and Women in Sports Day, many youngsters are getting a glimpse of what could be ahead of them.

January 30, 1998|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,SUN STAFF

Kelly Heier dreams of playing college basketball, but the 12-year-old has never been to a college women's game.

As a youngster, Dana Bollinger never attended a women's college game either, but she is living Heier's dream at Goucher College.

Tomorrow, Bollinger and her Gophers teammates will introduce Kelly and her Fallston travel teammates to women's college basketball as part of Goucher's commemoration of the 12th National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Kelly's team will scrimmage Towson's 11-12 travel team as a prelude to the Gophers' 2 p.m. game against Marymount.

Bollinger, who helped organize last year's event, knows that college athletes can have a profound effect on young girls.

"A lot of girls still think sports aren't really for girls. They think that's something for boys to do," said Bollinger, a Catoctin High graduate. "This gives them a chance to see that girls can be hTC successful at something they like to do and that they can go to college and play."

Kelly, who has played basketball since she was 7, can't wait.

"It's cool," said the fifth-grader. "I've been to a few college games, but I've never seen girls play, so I think it'll be exciting."

That's exactly the intent of National Girls and Women in Sports Day: to promote sports opportunities for girls and women. It was organized by the Women's Sports Foundation, the Girl Scouts, Girls Incorporated, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport and the YWCA.

Several other local colleges also plan to mark the occasion, officially Feb. 5, at home games around that date.

Loyola and Maryland will participate in the national "Take a Kid To A Game" program. A paying adult can take up to four youngsters free to women's basketball games at Loyola on Tuesday night and at Maryland on Feb. 12.

Coppin State's women's team participated in Maryland-Eastern Shore's "Take a Kid To A Game" night Tuesday, which included a hospitality room for the youngsters to interact with players.

Goucher, a women's-only college until 1986, has planned an extensive slate of events around tomorrow's game. There will be a coaching clinic at 10: 30 a.m., the Fallston-Towson youth game at noon and a shootout for prizes at halftime of the Goucher game. Everyone gets in free.

"With our history, this makes an awful lot of sense," said Sally Baum, Goucher's senior women's administrator. "Are we trying to make Division I athletes of every girl? I don't think so, but there is a place for every girl who wants to play. We do this every year as a community service, to get people on the Goucher campus and possibly plant seeds with the kids."

New this year is an autograph session after the game, because for girls like Kelly, the biggest thrill is to meet the players. "I want to ask them how they got interested in basketball," said Kelly, "and did they go to any camps and how did they get to be so good to make it to playing in college."

Kelly's mother, Karen Heier, coaches her daughter's team and plans to attend the coaching clinic. Heier played basketball at Parkville High and was the first female to coach a Fallston travel team.

She said girls need female role models in sports -- both athletes and coaches such as Goucher's Noelle Navarro -- and that events such as tomorrow's at Goucher help young girls realize what their futures could hold.

"This is a big thing for them -- to experience a college setting and to play on a college gym floor," said Heier, who played volleyball and tennis at Towson State. "I want them to realize that ultimately that's where I want them to end up -- at college somewhere playing sports."

Pub Date: 1/30/98

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