14-year-old preparing for summer trip to New Zealand and Australia

Published 10:52 am Saturday, April 10, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN -- While most of her peers are slaving away at summer jobs or fighting off summer boredom, 14-year-old Ashley Pointer of Buchanan will be improving her basketball skills in New Zealand and competing in Australia.
Pointer recently received word that she had been accepted to represent the United States as a member of a People to People Sports Ambassadors basketball team that will travel to Auckland, New Zealand and Canberra, Australia from July 5-18.
Pointer apparently was nominated to participate in the People to People program by one of her coaches, but was not informed who the recommendation came from. She plays for two AAU teams--the Southwest Michigan Storm and the Indiana Elite.
Much like applying for a job, Pointer had to compile three references and undergo a phone interview before she officially became part of the team.
For a 14-year-old leaving home to fly across the world and stay there for two weeks, Pointer has no reservations or anxiety.
Pointer is currently playing on the Buchanan varsity softball team, but it's basketball that has taken first place in her heart. She was the starting point guard on the junior varsity team last spring.
One of Pointer's goals as a sophomore is to make the varsity basketball team.
Pointer may not have much time to see all those friends who are less busy than her this summer. Besides the trip to Australia, she plans to play on a travel softball team, play in a summer softball league and play on a travel basketball team.