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WNBA Champ Swin Cash Shares Tips on Balancing Work and Play (and Going One-On-One With the Commander In Chief)
Basketball star Swin Cash goes by some pretty prestigious descriptors. Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) champion and All-Star. Olympic gold medalist. She's also a former Girl Scout who runs a foundation for girls in her hometown of McKeesport, Pa.
"I grew up in public housing and wasn't exposed to Girl Scouting until I went to middle school," says the 30-year-old. "I remember being so excited to take the Girl Scout Promise. It was my first encounter with being part of a group of women, and I loved feeling like I was part of a sisterhood."
Now a forward on the Seattle Storm, the six-foot-two-inch Cash says that staying healthy is a huge part of her success. Even for her, though, it's no slam dunk.
What would surprise people about the life of a professional athlete?
Fans don't see the rigorous travel schedule or how we miss our families, or realize that even when we're not playing we have to take care of our bodies. The plus side is that when I'm exercising, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep, the effect on all areas of my life is tremendous. I'm not tired or sluggish. I'm more aware. I can contribute more and think critically and make decisions more easily, which helps me do everything I want to do. It helps me stay positive.
What's a typical workout for you?
I get up early enough to eat a good breakfast, something either quick like oatmeal and fruit or more involved like bacon, eggs, and toast. During basketball season, practice lasts about three hours. Afterward, I lift weights and get treatments like icing or a massage.
What's your favorite exercise that anyone can do?
I love videos that have really good music. My favorite is Tae Bo. I also really enjoy Pilates because a strong core is essential.
How do you stay in shape on the road?
It's a struggle, I'm not going to lie. I always look at my day and ask, "Where am I wasting time?" It's like solving a math problem. You have to see where you can exercise and get everything else done so you can be in bed at a decent hour.
Tell us about Cash for Kids
After I tore my ACL in the Athens Olympics in 2004, I was really down. The rehab was difficult and I had a lot of time on my hands. I needed some way to express the fire inside me, so Cash for Kids was born.
I had done lots of extracurricular activities when I was young, including majorettes and playing cello in the orchestra, which gave me opportunities I wouldn't otherwise have had. Since so many activities are being cut from schools, I decided to provide financial support for similar activities.
You also show girls the "real" you
I show girls pictures of me in magazines and how my body looks right now. I have cuts and scars all over from playing sports, but in magazines I'm airbrushed. It's amazing to watch their facial expressions when they see the difference.
So, President Obama—could you take him one-on-one?
I could probably take him. He's left-handed, so I'd try to force him to the right whenever possible. But I'm a little wary of the first lady. Michelle Obama is built like me, with long legs and arms. I think she's got some skills we haven't heard about yet.