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January 18, 1985 - Image 80

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-01-18

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Friday, January 18, 1985


Karen Sklar's
athletic prowess
leaves no doubt
that this
Farmington Hills
Freshman is
very feminine.


yen though she was voted
class jock by her peers at Farmington's
Harrison High School last year, Karen
Sklar is every bit a lady.
Watching the Michigan State
University freshman during a recent
basketball game at the main Jewish
Community Center — a game in which
she was the only woman — Karen
played hard, and her fellow players
seemed not to be making any special
provisions for her.
However, sometimes she detects
some deference to her gender. When
she is in a game, "It seems like they
don't play as hard," she said. "When it
comes to me, they throw a little softer."
Karen is being primed by the
Jewish Center as a contestant in next
summer's Maccabiah Games in Israel.
She wants to compete in both basket-
ball and volleyball.
The Center's director of physical
education, Dr. Marty Oliff, called Ka-
ren's chances in the Jewish athletic
competition "excellent."
"She's a true JCC athlete. She
grew up at the Center, participated in
basketball camp and day camp. We're
very proud of having the possibility of
Karen playing in the Games."
Oliff, who helped Karen complete
the forms to enter the Maccabiah, said
that she was recommended as a con-
tender by Max Sheldon, the local
representative to the U.S. Committee
Sports for Israel. He sent Karen the
application which entitles her to try-
out at the East Coast regional elimina-
tions. If she succeeds, she will have to
commit herself to two or three months
of practice prior to participating in the
July Games.
Practicing sports is nothing new
to Karen, whose interest in athletics
began in second grade, when she
started playing softball, her favorite
In the eighth grade she took up
basketball and volleyball and audi-
tioned for cheerleading, but didn't
make the squad.
In high school she was very sports
oriented, so much so that she was All
League Honorable Mention for three





Local News Editor

years, 1984 All Area Honorable Men-
tion for basketball and volleyball and
was named Harrison's most valuable
player in girls' basketball for 1984.
Her coaches remember her ath-
letic prowess well. Jill Turley, Karen's
counselor and volleyball coach, said
she watched Karen blossom.
"I know she was very valuable as a
team player and as an individual gave
lots of support with a team attitude,"


Turley said. "She's coachable. Karen
will give, will try new things. She's
dedicated to her team. She has a win-
ning attitude."
Mike Teachman, a math teacher
who coaches boys varsity basketball
and girls varsity fast-pitch softball,
praised Karen's abilities.
"She was a smart ballplayer. She
always kn6W- where to put the ball."
Teachman said Karen had a .340 bat-
ting average over three years. He
called her a smart baserunner, adding
that she stole bases 70 percent of the
time she tried. Women's volleyball
coach Ron Shortt concurred on Karen's
talent. "She has a tremendous amount
of potential."
Karen now participates in in-
tramural basketball at MSU. "Some-
times I get in pick-up games with the
guys at the dorm," she said. She also

runs, does aerobics, lifts weights and
practices shooting baskets. When she
is home from school, she'll go to the
Center to practice ball handling.
Shooting drills and dribbling are also
part of her regimen, which she says
helps her get her control back.
Karen isn't the only member of
the Sklar family who participates in
sports. Her father, Larry, is a member
of the Center health club. Mother
Donna swims and runs. Brother
Stuart is involved in_softball and sister
Valerie played racquetball on her
school team. Grandparents Esther and
Norman Goldenberg also swim at the
Because they are interested in
athletics, Karen gets a lot of support
from her family. "They've always been
behind me," she says.
Is Donna Sklar proud of her
daughter's athletic achievements?
"I'm delighted. The whole family is
proud of her achievements."
But Mrs. Sklar voiced some mis-
givings about Karen's pursuit of sports
in college. "College should be a time
when she should broaden her interests
because she had so much of it (sports)
in high school." She added that if
Karen chose to make sports a full-time
career, she would give her "limited
With an interest toward account-
ing and business, Karen doesn't
foresee a career in sports. "There's no
career in it," she said. "There's really
nothing money-making I can do except
sports medicine."
She added that she doesn't want to
be behind the scenes when it comes to
sports, but wants to be where the ac-
tion is.
Would she consider trying out for
the Olympics? Not really. 'She's more
excited about the Jewish Olympics —
th Maccabiah — especially since her
first trip to Israel in 1975.
"The Maccabiah, being what it is,
would have more special meaning to
me than the Olympics as a Jew and an
Having the opportunity to try out
for the Maccabiah is special in itself.
When she found out she could try out
for the Games, Karen said she felt
"like ((U.S. Olympic gymnast) Mary
Lou Retton. I was so excited. It felt like
a dream, like I won the gold medal."
She has no special diet, but admits
liking junk food. She plans to lose
weight once she gets into training.
Karen, who calls herself "an aver-

Continued on Page 49

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