There are moments in the sports world when we’re reminded of the bigger picture.
One of those moments occurred Monday morning when the Minnesota Lynx hosted their annual Military Open Practice. The team, along with Disabled American Veterans of Minnesota, hosted 50 veterans and their families for an open practice. It’s the third-annual open practice.
For Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, this is a day that she circles on her calendar. Reeve grew up in a military family. Her dad, Larry, was a Master Sergeant in the Air Force who served the country in Vietnam.
It’s something that Reeve might not have valued as much when she was younger, but as she’s gotten older, she’s also gotten more perspective on how her upbringing helped shape who she is today.
“When you’re a kid, you just don’t know. And then later in life, you go, ‘that’s why I do what I do.’ You learn, you’re understanding, of a couple of things for me,” Reeve said. “I’ve been able to be more transient, I adjust to transition well, in terms of picking up and moving. We didn’t do a lot of that, but it was enough that I remember it and think about my WNBA career and this city, that city. I think that’s helped me. I think the attention to detail came from that. There’s no doubt about that. My dad and my mom, they were sticklers for that. My dad obviously because his participation in the military.”
One of the members in the audience, Emily Larson, knows a thing or two about a military family.
Larson has been serving the country for the last 26 and a half years, wearing a variety of different hats. Her 16-year-old daughter was in attendance and while there’s plenty she can learn from her mom, Larson thought that there was also a lot to take away from the practice and the Lynx.
“I thought the Minnesota Lynx actually provide a really good example of teamwork, and how we’ve watched the program continue throughout the years, and how they’ve become more and more successful, and I think a lot of it is having not only the skills, you can be physically capable but you have to know how to work as a team and you have to know how to transfer and share that knowledge and receive that knowledge and they are a very excellent example of that,” Larson said. “And as the influential 16 year old that my daughter is, I loved what coach had to say as far as the definition of how to work hard. It means starting from today what do you need to do starting from today to be successful and attain what you are looking for. To persevere, and you can give yourself little breaks, but always have that focus on what you want to do in terms of attaining what you want.”
It’s an event that is meant to honor those families who have served our country, but indirectly, it’s an event that also helps Lynx players open their eyes to the bigger picture.
“It’s about so much more than basketball, and this is one of those days,” Reeve said. “I love for our players to see other things outside of what they’re doing as professional players. To know the sacrifices that they’re making.”