Oct. 10, 2001
Florida State women’s basketball head coach Sue Semrau and her staff runs their program in such a way where their players are treated as people first, students second and athletes third. So when sophomore Tasheika Morris’ car broke down on her way back to Tallahassee from her hometown of Huntsville, Ala., this summer, it became apparent that the Seminoles, as people, needed a lesson in car care.
“Tasheika experienced some difficulties with her automobile this summer,” assistant coach Theresa Gernatt said. “Basically, she didn’t know what was wrong with her car. She called us from a pay phone and was trying to get to a gas station. It was kind of scary, because we realized she didn’t even know what to do or where to look or where to start. So we asked the rest of team if they would know what to do or how to change a tire and none of them did, so that’s kind of how this came about.”
Randy Green, a licensed mechanic from Tallahassee Ford, spent about an hour with the women’s basketball team and staff on the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 9th and gave the group a lesson on the “10 Tips For Car Care.”
“It’s great to do something like this because not everybody knows how to do these things,” Green said. “It’s quick to do. It doesn’t take that much time and if it helps anybody from being stranded on the side of road and not knowing what they’re doing, then the time isn’t really that big of deal. It’s fun to do. I know a lot about cars and I don’t mind sharing the knowledge with them.”
He covered areas including what should be stored in your car, like a flashlight and jumper cables, knowing where your owner’s manual and jack are and how to use them, knowing how to visually look over your engine and what to look for, knowing how to keep your tires aired up and why, knowing how to recognize where noises from your car are coming from and why, knowing where the dipstick is and how to check and fill fluids, and maintenance on your car like oil changes and tire rotation.
“I think that every lady should know about their car, because you never know what will happen,” Morris said. “You might be running late to a game or anything and end up on the side of the road stranded and you can prevent it. It’s very important, because I’m illiterate when it comes to cars and I need to know more and today I am getting that opportunity.”
The seminar proved to be beneficial in a number of ways, especially for freshman Linnea Liljestrand, who is a native of Sweden.
“I’m excited that we are doing this because I don’t know any of the words,” Liljestrand said. “I knew it all when I took my test in Sweden, but now I have no clue. I don’t have my own car, but hopefully I’ll get a Jeep Wrangler next year.”
After Green talked to the team, he had the players lift their hoods and get to work. Each had to check their oil and transmission fluid levels while Green went from car to car assisting his pupils and answering questions.
“My parents are extremely happy that we are doing this,” Lauren Bradley, a native of Lake Mary, Fla., said. “My step dad helped me a little bit before I came up here, but it’s always good to reiterate what I need to know. I am interested in learning how to change my tire, because I have no clue how to do that.”
Locating the spare, using the jack and changing the tire were the final lessons of the seminar and this seemed to grab the attention of every one of the Seminoles. The team begins practice on Saturday, October 13th, but has been conditioning since September. Although the season is just around the corner, it was still important to take time out to help educate the team off the court.
“We did this today in an effort to help the players deal with things that are important in life and not just on the basketball court,” Semrau said. “My car dealer was willing to come out and do an educational seminar on what all of us women, and guys too, need as far as how to take care of a car. Not only if something goes wrong, but how to keep it running smoothly. Hopefully this will jar their memory and they’ll know to go to their owner’s manual. As a coach, you want them to be taken care of in every way and having this knowledge and education is really important.”