‘She’s in the game’ is all about helping female athletes
I will fully commit to being a positive change agent and a positive difference maker in as many lives as possible.
— The Daily Coach
Ken Ricker is not afraid to admit it.
If a pandemic had occurred more than 30 years ago when he was in high school, and athletic competition had to be paused or canceled as a result, he says he wouldn’t have graduated.
“It sounds bad, but I wouldn’t have,” Ricker said. “That’s what got me to school everyday.”
A former high school girls basketball coach in Chautauqua County and the current women’s head coach at Jamestown Community College, he believes young female athletes are the most impacted by the loss of games and/or seasons.
“When they quit (playing),” Ricker said, “they don’t come back.”
In an effort to keep interest alive, Ricker and a group of people throughout Western New York are doing all they can to promote female athletes by offering free camps and clinics, and awarding scholarships to high school seniors in the Class of 2021.
Called “She’s in the Game,” the organization has a 20-person committee and more than 1,000 members on its Facebook page. All are in it for the same reason: to advocate for sports participation among girls.
“We’re going to reach our goals and be able to give back a little more,” Ricker said. “That’s been a lot of fun. We had 400 members three weeks ago. We’ll be 1,200 any day now.”
Money for the scholarships has been raised through football pools and sports memorabilia giveaways, and plans are in the works for a banquet, when allowed, to honor female high school athletes.
Ricker’s post to the “She’s in the Game” Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon read:
“Hump Day news! Added three Hall of Fame mini helmets, an incredible Bills’ flag, Bills sweatshirts custom made by Brian (Baker), and the Josh Allen-signed game-day program and the Dominik Hasek-signed puck. (There will) be a pair of tickets to an October Bills’ home game (assuming, of course, that fans are allowed to attend games next season) and football-pool squares.”
Furthermore, when given the greenlight to do so, camps and clinics in all female sports will be held throughout the region, free of charge.
“I go to bed every night thinking of summer days, driving to Holland for a soccer camp and seeing 60 girls, and driving to Wilson for a basketball camp and seeing 100 girls out there,” Ricker said.
He noted that the “She’s in the Game” has “nothing to do with the JCC women’s basketball program that I’m so proud of.”
“It’s separate,” he added. “It has nothing to do with the wonderful institution at JCC and everything to do with participation of young ladies in athletics.”
For more information on the organization, check out the “She’s in the Game” Facebook page or email Ricker at firstname.lastname@example.org.