Nov. 17, 2004
by Kayleigh O'Keefe, Duke Sports Promotions
DURHAM, N.C. - Amidst training, competing and studying, Duke University student athletes have found time to interact with the local community as participants in the Verizon Read with the Blue Devils program. Over the past few weeks, Duke athletes from several sports have visited eight local elementary schools, reading aloud to third grade students. The students, many of whom are die-hard Duke fans, greet the athletes like celebrities and the athletes arrive to students clapping and cheering. After reading, many students scramble for pens to get players' autographs.
In front of a packed media center at Forest View Elementary, Mistie Williams at 6-3 needed no introduction as a basketball player. After Mistie read, students asked questions about Mistie's high-scoring games, her most memorable wins, and her inspiration for playing basketball.
"I love reading A Bad Case of Stripes," Williams said. "It's my favorite!"
At Hope Valley Elementary football C Dan Mooney expected to answer questions. What he did not expect, however, was a lesson in sports medicine from a third grader. One student in the audience of about 100 explained to Dan that if he were to be hit in the knee, his knee would snap like a rubber band, and require surgery. The boy went on to explain that Dan would then require four months of therapy and then still have to work hard to be able to play once again. Dan responded he was grateful for the information. The athletes learn as much from the students as the students gain from the athletes!
Athletes who have participated recently include: women's basketball players Lindsey Harding, Laura Kurz, Mistie Williams, and Caitlin Howe; football players Kenny Stanford and Zach Smith; men's lacrosse teammates David Misler and Kevin Coleman; women's tennis player Julia Smith and men's soccer player Joe Kelly.