There’s a really interesting piece, previewed online but set to appear in this weekend’s NYT Play Magazine, about Oregon basketball phenom Jaime Nared. An excerpt:
The story of the kid who’s “14 going on LeBron,” as Sports Illustrated described the California basketball phenom Demetrius Walker in 2005, is not a new one when the kid in question is a boy. Girl sports prodigies are stock characters, too, though the athletes have tended to be gymnasts, figure skaters or swimmers, kids who excel at what Côté calls “closed sports — sports in which you learn a very specific skill and competitors don’t try to prevent you from performing that skill.” Given the post-Title IX explosion in girls’ basketball and the emergence of the W.N.B.A., the girl who’s 12 going on Candace Parker is just around the corner — maybe she’s already here — and that’s a mixed blessing.
Nared played on the boys’ team in her hometown until she had a ridiculously good game and then gym owners uncovered an obscure rule in the bylaws about no mixed gender athletics. The last time she played with girls her own age, the score was 90 to 7. For now, she’s playing on an all-star team with girls much older than her, but even that has its controversy.
I’m hoping, by the way, that the article’s title “Scary, Isn’t She?” is poking fun of those who see an athletically gifted teen girl as “scary.” Otherwise, I’d like a word or two with the headline writer over at the Times.