A typical day for Helm begins at 6 a.m. and doesn't end until after midnight. Besides carrying out her motherly responsibilities, playing ball and studying, she also finds time to coach a kids' soccer team. Her coach, Myrond Brown, lets her leave basketball practice 45 minutes early so she can pick up her kids at school, but she makes up the time by working out alone before practice.
"I come home after practice and might do 10 loads of laundry, fix dinner and clean up," she says. "The other girls can go and relax when practice is over, but my work begins."
Her playing career will be over at the end of this season because, says Helm, she's not good enough to get picked up by a four-year college. After the season she will begin looking for a part-time job to help make ends meet.
"The situation is tough right now," she says. "I fall asleep drooling in my books a lot. But I would like for my kids to be able to see the good in things. I hide the ugly part as best I can. I think the kids were scared at first about me playing because they wanted me to be with them, but they've gotten used to the idea, and they have been great."
AN F FOR COACH K
Last week was a tough one for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. On Monday, Jan. 15, Coach K invited the sports staff of the student newspaper, The Chronicle, to meet with him. If the student scribes thought they were in for an amicable get-acquainted session, they had to be shocked when Krzyzewski brought them to the locker room and, in front of the team, unleashed an eight-minute, profanity-laced tirade about the paper's lack of support for the Blue Devils.
The article that sent Krzyzewski over the brink was a piece by Brent Belvin, who graded the performance of the team as a whole and of each individual player. Never mind that Belvin gave the team, which was 12-2 at the time, a B-plus and didn't give any player a grade lower than a C-plus. Krzyzewski told Belvin his story was "full of—-," which was one of the nicer things he had to say once he got warmed up.
Without Krzyzewski's knowledge, an enterprising student reporter tape-recorded the entire lecture. "You can rip me, praise me, whatever you want, but you guys are really screwing our basketball team," Krzyzewski said. "You're whacked out, and you don't appreciate what the—-is going on."
Chronicle sports editor Rodney Peele said the meeting was "humiliating" for his staff. "He treated us as if we worked for him," said Peele. Athletic director Tom Butters only heightened the controversy with this cryptic comment: "If The Chronicle chooses to make an issue of it, then I'm going to look at it very, very closely, and somebody's going to come out the loser."
Giving Krzyzewski the benefit of the doubt after the apology he made to the student journalists last Friday, the incident only proves that even the best coaches can occasionally be overcome by the stress inherent in big-time college sports. We look forward to seeing Coach K work to bring up the F we must give him in Understanding Journalism 101.