The activities, learnings and some feelings
Nike has always been supportive of athletes regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or socio-cultural background. Its past and most recent campaigns have featured superstar—or rather superhuman—athletes, celebrities, sports fans and enthusiasts and, perhaps most importantly, real people. And the message is always, always transcendent of sports. One of my favorite Nike commercials from yore was If You Let Me Play:
Growing up a girl in a patriarchal world is not easy. If girls wanted to do anything the boys did, it makes them un-girly or worse, they’re prohibited from doing so because they a) could get hurt or b) are just not strong enough. But women aren’t fragile or delicate as we are thought to be. And I love that Nike has always reminded its audience that she can play the game and that she has what it takes for greatness.
This year, the retail sports giant reinforces the same message and says it louder for the people in the back through the new Hypercourt 2.0 and the launch of Hypercourt For Her.
The morning of the event started with something light and easy. Us girls sprawled out on the wooden floors of Kerry Sports as we listened to the opening remarks of Nike Country Marketing Manager Jino Ferrer. Jino also introduced the new and improved Hyper Court 2.0, an on-court digital experience that trains users headfirst and showcases their progression. Through the app, they can also earn rewards and sign up for local events. What’s exciting about it though is that they’ve made it more gender-neutral; among the noticeable changes is the training videos now feature a girl (whom I’ve overheard someone say is the better dribbler than her boy counterpart).
Hyper Court 2.0 fast facts
Later, two inspiring women were introduced: former UP Lady Maroon turned first female basketball analyst of the UAAP Bea Daez, and leadership and performance coach Sari Marsden, who flew all the way from Singapore. Bea talked about the importance of mental toughness and meditation whether in the game or at work.
“We would have sessions every training, every game, around 10 to 15 minutes wherein we were just meditating…Mental preparation is as important or even more important than physical preparation for any battle or competition you’re going to enter,” said Bea.
Meanwhile, Sari walked us through five pillars of performance or what she calls the 5Gs: groundedness, grace, grit, guts and gratitude. The philosophy of this holistic leadership development combines the physical with the mental and emotional. We did some partner exercises, too, to better understand the school of thought and experienced first-hand, how doing anything (like singing!) with purpose yields better results.
Girls Got Game
We’ve been warned that the afternoon would involve getting our hands dirty. So we packed our bags and headed to the new Hyper Court For Her along 32nd st. in BGC. Of the two refurbished playing courts, one features the image of WNBA Minnesota Lynx superstar forward Maya Moore and the other, LA Laker’s LeBron James.
The new Hyper Court For Her
After we all had a look around, we realized the seriousness of what’s to come when coaches and players from Ateneo and La Salle emerged, and the basketball carts were pulled out. My experience in basketball is limited to grade school P.E. and occasional-maybe-two-times-a-year, super non-pro 3-on-3s at the village court for FUN.
I was nervous and excited, and I’m pretty sure the other girls I was with were too, because we’re representing not just ourselves, but young(ish) Filipino women everywhere. And we (we, because I am 200% sure we were all on the same page) wanted to do right by them. So there we were under the blistering heat, doing beginner drills based on the Hyper Court 2.0 app: basic ball handling, dribbling with both hands (not at the same time!) and finally, we got to do free throws. The last part was my favorite and was the most important for all of us because we were given the choice to shoot from behind the free throw line and well, an easy (close-range) shot. NONE of the girls made it easy for ourselves; after all we were there to make a point. And though not all made the basket, we were all pretty proud of each one for trying.
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The world still has much to learn about women and we women could use more female athletes, leaders and what have you to support and look up to. But for today, a step in the right direction is a win and a reason to celebrate. Tomorrow? We dream crazier.
Art Alexandra Lara