Tags: Featured Story, Sports
Photography by Melodi Photography
Interview with our cover model, Erica McCall, WNBA athlete and daughter of Greg McCall, CSUB Women’s Basketball coach
Erica McCall is a Bakersfield native who has found her own success with basketball following her family’s legacy with the sport. Her Dad, Greg McCall, is best known as the women’s basketball coach at California State University Bakersfield (CSUB).
A graduate of Ridgeview High School, Erica played for Stanford and then the Indiana Fever before moving on to Atomeromu, a Hungarian team. Her parents, Greg and Sonya, reside in Kern County.
Erica’s future plans include continuing to pursue basketball and perhaps a career in sports broadcasting. She graciously shared her limited time at home with our staff for a photoshoot and the following interview.
KCFM: As a WNBA athlete, you have no doubt faced important challenges. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Erica: If I could go back in time and give my younger self some advice, it would say, “Erica, do not let the game of basketball consume you. Although it is something that you have worked hard for your whole life, playing basketball is supposed to be a positive experience. It should never constantly make you upset or unhappy. You have to remember that this game is meant to be fun. So don’t let it negatively control who you are, because at the end of the day you play basketball because you love it.”
KCFM: What advice can you offer parents who are interested in helping their child excel at sports?
Erica: The best advice I can give parents is to let your child have fun and enjoy the journey of sports and competition. I’ve witnessed plenty of people I grew up with enjoy a sport when they were younger and hate it by the time they graduated high school, or even earlier, because their parents did not allow them to enjoy sports. They constantly yelled at them for messing up and had extremely high expectations. It’s all about enjoying the process of improving. Create a positive atmosphere for your child to excel in sports. The more they love to play, the more they will want to do the things to succeed.
KCFM:2020 has proven an unusual year on many fronts. How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your training routine? Are you seeing social distancing as a recommendation that remains possible in the current conditions?
Erica: COVID-19 has definitely altered the way I train, but it has not been a negative experience for me. Every week, I have a specific routine I go through that allows me to stay focused and in shape. Every day, I do a strength or cardio workout outside in the morning and in the afternoon I have a basketball workout with my father and brothers. It’s a different type of training that required physical and mental adjustment, however it has gotten my body in probably the best shape it's been in a long time.
Social distancing is definitely a challenge with the current conditions, especially as our hands and keeping our environment sanitized. Social distancing will look different as the days go by but in the end we must do the little things to protect an athlete. My job requires a lot of physicality, however when we begin to play we can still take the proper steps to keep everyone healthy through constantly washing health as well as the health of others.
KCFM:Our country is experiencing civil unrest at this time. Is there any kind of statement you would like to offer regarding racial tensions? How can our readers better support people of color in athletics and beyond?
Erica with her dad, Greg McCall
Erica: The first thing we must do during this time of civil unrest is to acknowledge the issue, which is Black people are experiencing serious racial injustice.
Every day, Black people are discriminated against because of our skin tone. This is not just interactions with law enforcement, but in also in our everyday lives, in our workplaces, neighborhoods, stores and restaurants.
We’re fighting for change and most importantly we’re fighting for equality. For someone who is white and wants to help for change, one of the best ways to join the fight is to educate yourself. Have conversations with your friends of color about the issues, read books on the history of black injustices and speak up when you see racist behavior from your white counterparts. Change starts now and you can be a part of it with just educating yourself and using your voice.