Sidney Gonzalez and Cristal Rincon
At a surprise event held on Mar. 28, the Los Angeles Sparks revealed the adoption of the Hollywood High School girls basketball team to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments this past season.
As part of the Adopt-A-Team Program, the team was granted a $2,700 check, season tickets, exclusive practice with the team, and STAPLES Center court time. Each year, the Los Angeles Sparks adopts different teams with the support of community partners, like the Hollywood Rotary Club.
“It is my hope that this motivates our young girls to continue to play basketball to pursue careers in either sports management or whatever they desire,” said Natalie White, Senior Vice President of the Sparks.
What started with a simple request for basketballs quickly became an unforgettable experience. Kristen Welch, LA Sparks senior manager, saw this request as a chance to provide an opportunity similar to the one she received when she played basketball as a high school student. Her own experiences getting to play at the STAPLES Center furthered her passion for the sport, and motivated her to pursue a career in the sports world, even after she stopped playing basketball.
“I love to provide for girls because I know what it’s like to play basketball,” Welch said. “Girls programs don’t get as much support. I hope that it opens their minds to what is possible.”
As soon as they heard the news, the girls faces lit up with both shock and excitement. Alyssa Cabahug, SAS sophomore said, “We’re very honored to be selected. We appreciate all they’ve done for us. I think it’ll improve our confidence because we’re able to see people care and want us to grow.”
In the midst of Women’s History month, this partnership supports gender equity within the sports community. The administrative team felt it was important to celebrate the girls basketball team, following their 15-1 season.
“We want to emphasize that female athletes are valued and that they are deserving of every chance and opportunity,” said Assistant Principal Pacino Furioso, who is responsible for organizing the event.