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‘. . . You don’t have to choose between being at the top of your game and raising a family.’

On Mother's Day, SportsCenter's "SC Featured" profiles sports icons Candace Parker, Adia Barnes, and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who are also busy moms. Meet the ESPN moms telling those stories

Three moms at ESPN will show their appreciation for moms in sports in a new “SC Featured” segment that will debut on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 9, in the 8 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. The piece will re-air in other editions throughout the day.

The new feature includes interviews with University of Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes, Candace Parker of the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, and Olympic beach volleyball champion Kerri Walsh Jennings, all mothers who work in sports. Their children also will be included in the interviews. Watch the trailer above.

The feature’s creators are Tory Zawaki Roy (lead producer), Katelin Stevens (editor) and Jen Lada (reporter). The three, who are pictured in the photo collage below, spoke with Front Row:

Roy: “Last spring, when the pandemic hit, I was worried – as we all were – about what our working environment would look like. But now, as this new workflow starts to feel like second nature, I’m honestly grateful. When will I ever get to say I was able to spend every day with my son while he ‘helped’ (that’s what he says) Momma work? It’s pretty cool.

“This piece is special to me because I could truly connect to these women as a mother, and I hope any mom who watches this story will feel that way. These women inspire so many with their accomplishments in their field, but their challenges and victories as mothers should not go unnoticed.”

Stevens: “It’s amazing to reflect on the last year and a half of this new normal and think – wow, I am surrounded by such strong women and moms – we did it. Raising little ones is already hard enough – but throw a pandemic and quarantine on top of that, and it seems impossible. But you learn, as you watch these rockstar moms, that nothing really is impossible when you have such love for these kiddos, and a deep-seated determination to succeed at doing the professional things that truly complete you.”

Lada: “I get emotional thinking about the sacrifices that being a parent requires and how it’s probably the most significant legacy I’ll ever leave. And yet, I know I’m a better version of myself when I’m fulfilled and pursuing my passions.

“I’m so inspired by motivated, strong, and resilient women (like the athletes and coach we’re spotlighting here) who juggle the demands of parenting and excelling at the most elite levels of their profession. Their stories will inspire not only their little ones but the next generation to know you don’t have to choose between being at the top of your game and raising a family.”

The new feature continues an “SC Featured” tradition of Mother’s Day content.

Last year, the series recognized mothers who were frontline workers with surprise messages from their sports heroes. In three prior years, “SC Featured” presented the “Dear Mom” series, with athletes writing and reading letters to their mothers, and in previous years there were other features on mothers.

Roy also is writing a companion piece for ESPN.com that will be available on Sunday.

Left: Katelin Stevens of her two girls Riley (L) and Madison; Center: Jen Lada and daughter Layla (not pictured: her son Chase and daughter Keira); Right: Tory Zawacki Roy and her son Braxton.
(Photos courtesy Stevens/Lada/Roy; Illustration: Rich Arden/ESPN)
MORE SPORTS MOMS CONTENT ON ESPN AND OTHER PLATFORMS

ESPN will once again provide wall-to-wall coverage of the entire NC Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship from Gulf Shores, Ala., May 7-9. Duals will be televised across ESPN2 and ESPNU with individual court coverage streaming live on ESPN3. The balancing act of super coach and super mom Brooke Niles, leader of Florida State’s program, will be among the profiles presented during the telecasts. ESPN and other media platforms have featured sports moms – including ESPN commentators such as SportsCenter anchor Nicole Briscoe – telling their stories. Here’s a sampling:

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