On June 11, 2017, I attended my second Annual Survivors Celebration at the Hyatt Hotel in New Jersey. This was my second Survivor Celebration, and I was excited to meet the guest speaker, Hall of Famer, Vivian Stringer. I knew very little about her except for what I saw in the news or read in books.
Her personal story told me so much more about her and was so much more inspirational than all the press clippings and sports statistics could ever say.
It might have been because I knew so little about her that her talk was so captivating there were moments in this huge banquet hall you could hear a pin drop. She had a low voice and a soft manner, which seemed surprising to me for someone that is one of the most notable woman’s basketball coach in the country.
At that time, I hadn’t read her book, and so I wasn’t familiar with her cancer story, I was flabbergasted when I found out. Her telling us about her personal journey told me so much more about who she was than all the press clippings or sports statistics could ever say.
She didn’t tell her story as a sob story, she talked about fear, determination, internal fortitude that she had to tap into to move past each and every situation she had to deal with her entire life.
She talked about her early years and a defining moment when she was in school trying out for cheer leading and was told there were no black cheerleaders. That might have been one of the bed rocks of the determination she carried with her for the rest of her life.
She talked about her husband dying and a daughter with spinal meningitis. By the time she was hit with cancer she had already weathered so many storms, she had become a pro at “moving on”. Her family and her sisters have been by her side through her entire journey. It was clear how tight the bond was with her family.
Again I’m a firm believer of the fact that people can be motivational inspired by one word, one sentence, one action by another person. Listening to Vivian I admired how she let her passion lead the way with what she had to do. She had a strong family that allowed her to pursue her passion even with all the chaos around her.
As a follow-up to the celebration, Vivian had extended special invitation to all the survivor’s at the Celebration to a basketball game at a date to be determined. That date was Jan 13, 2018, and I attended.
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed watching strong young woman play basketball. Years ago Denise was good enough to play all-star basketball. I LOVED watching her. She was a fierce aggressive player, and now she’s a strong fierce aggressive woman.
So kudos to Vivian and woman like her, you can see just how much inspiration she brings not just to those girls and the game, but to the school, the community, and the whole state.
Helping to form and shape great leaders with strong ethics and integrity. Just being at the game and watching Vivian and her team, gave me a boost of energy and inspiration.
If you need a little encouragement about life, read her book, and after each chapter, you’ll get the true definition of perseverance. “KEEP IT MOVING”