Katie Smith Storms Salvation Army Day Camp in White Center Tuesday

by Margaret Ryan

“Be competitive.”

“Be strong.”

“Believe in yourself.”

“Go, David!”

These were the words of encouragement Seattle Storm basketball player Katie Smith told the young audience when she visited the Salvation Army Day Camp in White Center Tuesday. We’ve all heard these words used in many applications, but when a real sports star tells them to a bunch of eager kids, they might hit home.

David Williams, 14, a ‘shooter guard” for his school team, said meeting Katie was the highlight of the afternoon for him – maybe even for the week. Scores of kids sat on the gym bleachers shooting questions at the Seattle Storm player. Katie knew how to work the crowd, but when the questions went on non-stop after half an hour, it was time to sign autographs and hand out flyers about the Youth Sports Night Pregame Free Throw Contest coming up August 16 at Key Arena. David wasn’t sure if he could make it, but you could see the wheels rolling around in his head.

Katie played on the gold medal-winning Basketball Team USA at the Beijing Olympics four years ago. Two of her teammates, Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson. are representing the US and Australia respectively this year in London. Katie admits to ‘playing with the guys’ and confesses that Michael Jordan is her basketball hero. That drew a cheer of approval from the crowd.

After a photo shooting session, Katie had to dash.

Many of the crowd got right onto the basketball court, to see if any of her aura had spilled over onto them.

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