MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — After Florida State’s exciting and emotional win over Indiana on Wednesday night, the Seminoles didn’t sleep in on Thursday morning. Rather, they went to East Middle School in Martinsville, Indiana and held a clinic for area youngsters, kindergarten to eighth grade. It is the season for giving, after all!
“I think the opportunity to give in different communities is so important,” FSU Head Coach Sue Semrau said. “I think for April (Traylor) to really honor her commitment to Florida State, we can turn around and give to her community which is special. I think it’s also special to have a team that is equally as committed to that. There could be a lot of jealousy and there’s none of that. They’re ready to give for each other. I think it blesses the community and it blesses us to give.”
The clinic lasted about an hour and a half. The Seminoles instructed the group of approximately 75 young girls the art of dribbling, shooting and defense. The youngsters were divided into three groups, according to age, and each group worked on a specific drill for about 15 minutes with help from the Seminoles themselves.
“It was cool and it helped me learn stuff like how to shoot,” 10-year-old Emily said. “The defense drills were my favorite because the lady that did it was really athletic and really nice.”
Following the work on the court, Semrau spoke to the children about the importance of being a good person, the importance of being a good student and then the importance of being a good, hardworking athlete. It’s the same philosophy in which Semrau has built her Florida State program – people first, students second and athletes third.
The talk concluded with a question and answer segment in which the girls had the opportunity to ask questions to April Traylor and Indiana’s Kristen Bodine, who both grew up in Martinsville.
” It was fun,” Shelby, who is 11, said. “The shooting was the best part. Having the Seminoles here all the way from Florida — it was amazing.”
Kay Traylor, April’s mother, called Cindy Kramer from East Middle School in Martinsville and told her that the Seminoles were coming to town to play the Hoosiers and that they wanted to put on some type of clinic. The ball started rolling from there.
“When I heard from Kay, I was thrilled to death, I thought it was great,” Kramer, who works with the Martinsville youth league, said. “In our youth league, our numbers grew tremendously when April was playing high school basketball here and it really benefited our program and peaked our kids interest.
“Today, they found out that these girls are not untouchable and that they are normal people. They look up to these girls. They really enjoyed it. It’s important for them to know that there is such a future for them in basketball, if they love it and work hard.”
The team signed autographs and took pictures with the kids to conclude the appearance. It was a simple gesture, that surely went a long way in impressing these young girls.
“We do things like this because we are a giving team,” freshman Jamil Burrell said. “We think community service is one of the most important things we do and it means a lot to the kids because they look up to us. Yeah, some of us are tired, but giving is the most important thing. We are role models and they look up to us and we inspire them to want to play and work hard.”