Interview with Cheryl Bishop: Coach, Officer and Mentor
BY HAYLEY NIGRELLE | EDITORIAL INTERN
There are many people in my life that have inspired me to be a better person. So when I was thinking about who I wanted to interview for this article, Cheryl Bishop came straight to my mind. Ms. Bishop is one of the assistant coaches for Roosevelt Girls Basketball in Seattle, Washington. She joined the coaching staff last season and has made a big impact on me as a player and a person. Ms. Bishop is very passionate about the game, which helps instill passion in the young players of the team. She keeps everyone in check and honest about their skills, which has bettered the team. Ms. Bishop is also a very honest person and coach, which makes her a great person to go to for guidance. So I wanted to get to know more about Ms. Bishop’s career in basketball and what has made her the player and person she is today.
In the championship game, they played against future WNBA All-Stars Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, and Tamika Dixon.
Ms. Bishop is currently a Supervisory Special Agent with the Department of Justice, Bureau of ATF. She attended the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) and graduated with a degree in Chemistry/Biology and played basketball at UAA for four years; she was inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame in 2004. Before her career in law enforcement, Ms. Bishop was a member of the practice squad for the Seattle Reign (first women’s professional basketball franchise in Seattle). In 1997, Ms. Bishop played on the team that won the National 3-on-3 Nike Sponsored Hoop-It-Up World Championship in Venice Beach, California. The winning team consisted of Ms. Bishop, Joyce Walker, who was the first woman to play on the Harlem Globetrotters, and C.J Sealy, who was on the Canadian Women’s Olympic Basketball Team. In the championship game, they played against future WNBA All-Stars Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, and Tamika Dixon.
In sports, people all have a different origin story that play into how they play later in their sport career. When asked about how her basketball career started, Ms. Bishop stated: “When I was in elementary school...there were a couple playgrounds and basketball courts near my house—my friends and I loved playing outside and frequently went to play grounds.” Soon, she fell in love with the game and started to play for teams. She added later that, “We didn’t have any real basketball skills but we liked playing around with the ball.” We can see the scene Ms. Bishop painted. Young kids with flushed faces just playing ball, big smiles and falling in love with a game that may end up playing a major role in their life.
“One of the things I remember sticking with me is a coach telling me they believed in me... and that ‘if I believed it then I could achieve it’. I didn’t know at the time - but that coach was talking about more than just basketball.” - Cheryl Bishop
Ms. Bishop has had a big impact on me ever since she joined the coaching staff. She seems to always know what to say to make the message stay with me and to inspire me to do better. I asked her if there has been a coach or a teammate that had said something to her that has stuck with her ever since and replied: “One of the things I remember sticking with me is a coach telling me they believed in me... and that ‘if I believed it then I could achieve it’. I didn’t know at the time - but that coach was talking about more than just basketball.” Ms. Bishop has definitely applied this to her life and has passed this message to our team. She also stated that she also remembers someone telling her that, “If it was easy...then everyone would be doing it.” This is something that had a lot of impact on me. During the basketball season we get wrapped up in the practices, the games and wanting to get better for ourselves and the team, which can lead to frustration and self doubt. But remembering that that you are okay and doing good reminds you that truly if it was easy then everyone would be doing it. There are truly wise words to remember no matter what sport, job, or task is at hand.
Lastly, I asked Ms. Bishop had a piece of advice that she wanted to give young athletes. She replied: “Believe in yourself… challenge yourself. And never listen to anyone who wants to tell you or convince you that ‘You can’t do or be whatever you set your mind to.’” These are great words to live by. There are many times that young athletes doubt their skills or if they can do something. There are always way to many opinions and thoughts people try to enforce on you. But what I took away was that it is yourself that has to believe in who you are and what you are doing to be successful. Then to take that a step forward to challenge yourself. If one doesn’t challenge themselves then progression won’t happen. These words help you know that if you believe in yourself and challenge yourself you will succeed and do well.
“If it was easy...then everyone would be doing it.” - Cheryl Bishop
I am very thankful to have been able to interview Cheryl Bishop, I am very thankful to have learned so much about her life and her basketball career. After doing this interview I was in awe of how much Ms. Bishop has accomplished in her lifetime. Not only have I learned about what she has done but what she has learned from doing those things and how she uses her experiences to help those around her. As my high school regular season comes to an end and as my senior year comes to an end, I know what I have taken away from having Ms. Bishop as a coach. No matter what field of work or schooling I go into. I need to believe in myself and need to challenge myself to be successful in what I am doing. This thinking will take me far in life. Ms. Bishop truly is an amazing person and a great influence of everyone’s life. I hope that whoever reads this interview has learned something positive and has been impacted for the better.
Each month, one of our interns will interview a former athlete and current leader. Our mission is to connect our girl athletes to experienced ones, to tell the stories of our women’s sports community, and to inspire her own voice. Interested in joining our Editorial Internship Program in the spring? Send a brief letter of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.