Former Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete (1998-2001)
Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau Director of National Accounts
This is when things get serious. The lights come on, the whistle blows and for 40 minutes you get to compete. If you lose, no time to pout because you have to do it all over again in a few days. When you win, celebrations are short because the next season is right around the corner. GAMETIME. As an athlete, it’s the one moment you cherish the most.
Because I was once a Razorback athlete, every time the lights come on in the arena of life, I’m ready to play. No, I don’t have a super human talent or a leg up. I compete well in the game of life because my time on the hill taught me how to prepare. All of those pre-season workouts have translated into professional developments and writing courses. Now instead of a reading a play book or scouting report, I study industry trends and succession plans. Long hours spent traveling throughout the SEC, have become business trips and book signings. My four years as an Arkansas women’s basketball player was simply a trial run at life. I am proud to have worn the jersey.
Today, I live in my hometown of Little Rock. After 15 years away from the city, I returned in 2012 to work as a Director of National Accounts for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. I am also a published author, a public speaker and an adjunct instructor. As I look back, I realize that every role I play in my adult life, is enhanced by the many transferable skills I learned as an athlete. It was in the locker room that I shared with women from all over the United States that I gained an appreciation for connecting with people. Interviews in the press room allowed me to practice public speaking long before I stood in an auditorium. Working basketball camps during the summer nurtured my love for teaching and motivating the next generation.
I have no doubt in my mind that signing a national letter of intent, was the single most defining moment of my life. That one decision not only served as a solid foundation on which to build my adult life, it was even beneficial to the generation before me. In 2008, at age 56, my mother moved to Fayetteville (where I was living at the time) and completed her bachelor’s degree. Today, she has a masters. I am no longer a first generation college student.
To all who now wear the jersey and have the privilege of doing what so many wish they could, embrace it. Enjoy it. And most off all, understand that you are a part of something big. So big, that one day you will want your kids to be a part of it. Yes, being a Division I athlete is tough. And yes, you will make a lot of mistakes. However, trust me when you get in the game of life, you too will be ready to play.
Go Hogs! WPS!
Last September, Anderson was a panelist for a free educational program sponsored by The Razorback Foundation, Inc., the University of Arkansas’ Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center entitled, “How the Razorback Athletic Experience Prepared Us for Life.” The event held at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock featured four former African-American Razorback student-athletes including Anderson, Muskie Harris (football), Allie Freeman (men’s basketball) and Terry Prentice (men’s track and field). The program was emceed by University of Arkansas professor Dr. Gerald Jordan.
Training Ground For Life Series
James Johnson: Click here to read