Diversity in sports speaker comes to campus

By Shannon Keough
February 15, 2007

People do not live in a world in which everyone is alike. Their differences make them unique and they bring them together. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to relate and accept people unlike themselves, but if they make an effort, they will benefit in the end. These were key points made by a speaker on diversity.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007, Tina Sloan-Green, professor emeritus and Hall of Fame lacrosse coach, came to Cabrini College to speak about her experiences with diversity in sports. She also enforced the importance of relationship-building and related this to the cultural experiences that athletes participate in. Following her presentation was her good friend and a vice president on Wall Street, John Sease, who spoke about the culture divide that still exists in America.

“You can have a team without a coach, but you cannot have a team without players,” Sloan-Green said. She stressed to students the importance of the relationships athletes build with teammates. Although all of the people on a team may be different in some way, they all have one goal in mind, which is to win.

Although she admitted that it is not easy to deal with diversity, the experiences people earn are valuable. In the real world, there will be many types of people and rather than just tolerating them, it is more important to embrace them. She believes that her personal encounters with diversity have made her a successful person.

“I now believe that through building relationships not only in sports but in my future career that I should look past the color of a person’s skin,” Thomas Heigh, a sophomore liberal arts major, said.

“When you come across any person, some people aren’t where they are because you had a better opportunity,” Sease said. He shared his opinions on closing the racial and gender divide. He began with an activity in which he split the room in half and told everyone to untie one shoe. He continued to tell one side to retie the shoe with both hands and the other side to use only their dominate hand. He wanted to prove that although many people are capable of performing a certain task, sometimes they just are not given enough opportunity.

“I liked the shoe-tying analogy because it gave me a new insight to the hardships that minorities face,” Kate Conahan, a sophomore pre-physical therapy major, said.

He then began to talk about history, “Although 144 years has shaped and changed a lot, peoples perspectives they have when dealing with each other has not,” Sease said. Society is constantly advancing in technology, yet people in society are unable to advance in their minds. He spoke about how there are still many “firsts” occurring in the United States. For example, this year there was the first black coach and winner in the Super bowl. Also, Condoleezza Rice was the first black woman to be appointed Secretary of State.

Sloan-Green shared some of her history with students as well. She grew up in Philadelphia and is now 62 years-old and a retiree from Temple University. As an African-American teenager, she attended Girls High, a predominantly white high-school. She was behind academically and considered transferring, but her teachers urged her to join field hockey to meet new people. She continued on to West Chester University, which began the first generation in her family to attend college. Again, West Chester was predominantly white, as was the lacrosse team that she joined, yet she found herself building long-lasting friendships with girls unlike herself. After college she received a job at Temple University where she taught about racism and college athletics.

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Shannon Keough

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