Helen White, 59, Arlington, Virginia
Spectators at the recent NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball regional semi-finals at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia were treated to a special halftime show at games featuring Notre Dame vs. Kansas and Duke vs. Nebraska. You might say it was “one for the ages” as members of the NOVA United Senior Women’s Basketball Association and guest players from West Virginia, Michigan and Windsor, Canada played 3 on 3 half-court exhibition “games” to the delight of thousands in the stands. ESPN even captured about 30 seconds of the action. Twelve of the thirteen players, ranging from 49 to 73, are registered to play at the 2013 National Senior Games Presented by Humana in Cleveland this summer.
“We did this for an NCAA first round game in 2012 so I guess you can say we ‘advanced’ to the Sweet Sixteen this year,” said Helen White of Arlington. “These are the first times senior women’s basketball has been showcased at NCAA tournaments. The crowd loved it and showed their appreciation during and after our play. It was fabulous to do that in front of over 5,000 fans and ESPN.”
For someone who keeps herself in the middle of the action, the 59 year old White does not like to be the focus of attention. In fact, she was a little uncomfortable with being selected as our Humana Hero and preferred to give us a photo of the entire exhibition team instead of one of herself. She is #3 on right of the back row.
To put it in Shakespearean terms, Helen doth protest too much. The former AARP staffer not only worked her senior players into the NCAA tourney well beyond their eligibility limits, she also co-founded NOVA United, a nonprofit organization that promotes senior women’s basketball in northern Virginia and draws its members from Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC and West Virginia. In Cleveland, she will play both basketball and pickleball and is the USAPA Pickleball ambassador for Arlington County. Currently she is completing her master’s degree in sports management with emphasis on senior sports and fitness at George Washington University.
While she presents herself humbly, Helen is a passionate advocate and “doer” who makes a difference helping to provide opportunities for senior women in sports. Our guess is that this modest lady turns into a fierce competitor on the field of play. When you see #3 enter the court, you better have your best game ready because Helen White always brings hers.