WASHINGTON — The WNBA champion Seattle Storm came to the White House on Wednesday to help first lady Michelle Obama in her effort to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke — a former two-term Washington governor — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims joined President Barack Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony to congratulate the team on its 2010 championship season in a Rose Garden ceremony.
Afterward, the team shared some basketball pointers with children from the Washington metro area in a FIT Clinic, part of a league-wide initiative encouraging kids to be active and eat well. The clinic is associated with first lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to combat childhood obesity.
"Being a champion doesn't stop when you step off the court," President Obama said about the team's commitment to helping kids. "That's why they are playing their part in the life of Seattle communities by running healthy lifestyle programs."
Brian Agler, the head coach of the Storm, said the team did a lot in its community to promote playing sports and being active.
"It's important that young people have role models in regard to having a healthy lifestyle," Agler said.
Sue Bird, a guard for the Storm, was excited to come to the White House and "deliver a message to have fun and be healthy."
The message hit home with Alyssa Brown, an 11-year-old basketball player who participated in the clinic.
"It feels inspiring," she said of sharing the court with WNBA champions. "It makes me feel like it's not only boys, that girls can do it, too."
Bird stressed the importance of encouraging children to lead a healthy lifestyle from a young age and said the Let's Move! initiative was a great start to that.
"I couldn't agree more with the first lady's initiative, and if we get to be a part of that, that's great," Bird said.
(The Medill News Service is a Washington program of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.)
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