Dear Tara

"Backward! Turn backward! Oh, time in your flight. Make me a child again...” Oh Tara, no need for you to do that, you still have your youthful spirit today, just like you did at 5 yrs, 12 yrs, and 17 yrs old! Yes, even in 2020. You often say that when you were a child in the 4th grade you learned the “3 player weave,” were introduced to dribbling, passing, and shooting, curling around playmates, all while throwing and catching that basketball, you thought one thing ~ this is fun! Who would have imagined that the joy you found in 4th grade PE would evolve into a wonderous journey?

Nneka and Tara after Stanford & Team USA's 2019 matchup.

I always admire the kindship you shared with Pat Summitt. Your comradery was so evident as I listened to your “pregame talk,” “half court,” “full court,” “layups,” and “transition game.” I know she was one coach who you admired and respected. I have a sense that feeling was mutual, and that she would be happy for your success today!

Remember our family philosophy, “If everyone works, no one works too hard.” “Life is to enjoy; so, let’s enjoy it!” Often it was through sporting activities in our backyard with your 4 siblings, mom, dad, extended family members, and friends that life lessons were learned. How fortunate I have been to not only reminisce about family times, but how wonderful it has been to cheer for you along your basketball path. Now what a grand happening as you are celebrated, and we have the opportunity to applaud your achievement.

My love and best wishes are with you always! Keep your childlike spirit and enjoy our wonderful life!


Rita VanDerveer

Rita VanDerveer has been at the side of her daughter, Tara, for the entirety of her basketball career, beginning in its early stages in Chautauqua, New York. Always Tara's number one fan, she takes Tara back to her childhood days, and doesn't hesitate to beat her often in their games of bridge.

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