Of the numerous skills that Sheana Mosch has exhibited this season for Montepellier in France and in FIBA Europe's EuroLeague Women All-Star Game, none were more important than her ability to spin a basketball on her finger this weekend.
The American guard, along with CSKA Moscow's Ann Wauters and ESB Villeneuve d'Ascq LM's Geraldine Robert, spent an hour on Sunday morning with children who have lost the use of their legs at the Hospital National de Saint Maurice in Paris.
Seven All Stars visited three hospitals on Sunday as part of the FIBA Europe Social Activities initiative, an offshoot of the Year of Women's Basketball which officially ended in 2007, but has carried on as FIBA Europe continues to work to grow the sport of women's basketball.
|Cathy Melain and Mudju Ngoyisa outside of the Hospital Robert Debre.|
Mosch casually whipped the ball into a spin on her finger and did tricks, much to the astonishment of the children.
She then put the ball on a fountain pen and kept it spinning, before handing it to one child, then another and another.
"I could do a lot of dumb, useless tricks with the basketball," she said. "But you have moments like this where you see kids looking at the ball spinning (on the pen).
"They've never seen it before and all of a sudden, they're all proud of themselves."
Mosch played in front of large crowds at Duke in the ACC before graduating in 2003 and is now in her fourth professional season in Europe, with the first two having been in Turkey and the last two in France.
For the first year and a half after getting her college education, though, she worked in the Child Life Program at Duke Hospital.
The 27-year-old is also involved with BounceBack Kids back in the United States, a non-profit organization that looks to enrich the lives of children with serious medical conditions, and their families, by offering free year-round recreational, athletic, and social activities in a caring and supportive environment that is medically-safe.
"The most precious forms of human life are little kids having to go through so many difficult things in life," she said.
"It's really humbling. It makes you really appreciate what's important in life. The little things that used to bother you every day, they don't bother you anymore because you know it could be so much worse. It makes you grateful for where you are, that's for sure."
Ann Wauters, the Belgium international who is one of the biggest names in the women's game, was visibly moved by Sunday's visit to the hospital.
"I do think it's important that there is interaction between athletes and communities," she said.
"At the hospitals, we all know they have a hard time being inside all the time. For us, it's just a small effort but it gives them so much pleasure.
"You could tell by their faces that they really enjoyed it.
"It's something that's very good for us, too, as athletes, to be able to do that."
As part of the Community Relations event, All-Stars Cathy Melain of Bourges and Mudju Ngoyisa of Union Hainaut visited the Hospital Robert Debree and Bourges All-Stars Celine Dumerc and Alessandra Santos spent an hour at the Hospital National de Saint Maurice.