Seventh Grader Bernice Nimely has a passion for sports and would love to see more but positive decisions made to advance them.
The exceptional student of the Brigade Preparatory & Junior High School at Camp Schefflin plays basketball, soccer, volleyball and table tennis. She is a child of multiple talents and her parents are pleased with her. She follows the example of her sister Gifty Hanson (track and field) and her brother Sam Hanson (soccer).
“My parents encourage me to follow my dream,” she told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday. “And so I play to the best of my ability.” And this includes playing for the love of it. Her main reason for playing sport is “for the love of it.” But along for her passion, comes when she may be recognize for her exceptional ability as a sportswoman that she can earn glory for her country.
Bernice said, “Anything you do and you put your heart there I know you can be happy doing it.” And that is the philosophy that the 13-year-old has been applying to follow her passion for sports.
Last year, she was a member of the United Ladies Basketball team and played at the YMCA on Broad Street, Monrovia.
She has graduated playing at the YMCA and Bernice, supported by her mother organizes her own practice sessions and plays regularly, along with friends.
“I just love to play basketball,” she said, “but along with it I also play soccer and my friends call me midfield Deeko.” This is because she plays in the midfield. With time spent on practices under her mother’s (Mrs. Linda Nimley) guidance, many a student would have had problems with her academic work but not Bernice, her mother said.
“She had 89.4 average and came first in a class of 68 students in her school,” admitted her mother, “I’m glad for her achievement,” which supports Bernice’s claim that beside her friend Melvina Brown, who plays basketball with her, her mother is her second best friend.
He said of her mother, “She supports me and encourages me.” But Bernice said while her mother gives her much encouragement, her saddest moment was when her father, J. Kotee Nimely did not show up to see her play in a match for the United Ladies basketball team.
“It was a sad day for me because I wanted him to be there,” she said turning her face away, “I wished he was there.” Perhaps, like many young girls, Bernice is one of those ‘Daddy’s Girls’ who would want her father to see what she is able to do. But said she said she is glad her mother fills in when no one was there.
Though she wants to play basketball into her teens, the absence of basketball news about its development and sponsorship in her community hurts her very much.
“Since many kids want to play,” Bernice said, “why, somebody has to organize it and makes sure that it develops.” A defensive player on the court, she explained that she once visited the Sports Commission on Broad Street in Monrovia the venue the Liberia Basketball Association hosts its league games.
“I’ve been there before,” Bernice said, “I want to play there.” But for the meantime, Bernice, like many others, plays in her community and hopes that basketball will receive better development and promotion.
The young woman seems to have her future all set because she believes that any promoter interested to develop her talents and those of many young people would be doing a great service to Liberia.
“I hope there will be someone good out there who will want to promote me and many others,” Bernice said, “but until then I will continue to play sport.”