Big Game, Small World
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T W E N T Y - O N E : Japan
PHOTO BY: LYNN JOHNSONYears ago I’d stumbled upon a book called Enlightenment and the Art of Basketball. In it a hoop sage named Hirohide Ogawa describes what he calls "private basketball," a mixture of balance, hoops and Zen. So of course I lit out for Japan, hoping to take a spot at his knee. But when all my pre-departure efforts to locate Ogawa failed, I went to Japan anyway—and wound up pursuing a spiritual tale of another sort: the story of how Shelly Pennefather, winner of the 1987 Wade Trophy as the best collegiate women’s player in the U.S., went from well-paid professional to cloistered nun.

SHELLY PENNEFATHERLynn Johnson, who took the picture of a jerrybuilt outdoor court in the Philippines that you can see if you click here, took this shot above of Shelly, now Sister Rose Marie, greeting her former Villanova teammates at the screen in the Poor Clare monastery in Alexandria, Va., in 1997, shortly after she took her sacred vows. For purposes of comparison, here’s Pennefather in action for Villanova.


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