Don’t act like you forgot (life after Basketball being my identity)
July 31, 2017

Good morning! Let’s go back, back to when I was captain of my Junior High School basketball team at then WestSide Academy. A fierce, diminutive leader who did not let anyone off easy. I was the confident one who signed autographs on request and my yearbook was filled with comments stating see you in the NBA or you will be a superstar in the WNBA.

This is not my first trophy but my first experience being taking under the wing of a coach who was more like a father figure in the likes of the late Edwin Rosa. He was every players hero because he went above and beyond for you. He was intense, enforcing and keenly interested in your studies. Was this my first trophy no but one of the most meaningful ones because it was under his coaching. I also played at and for Riverbank, Gauchos, Rucker Park, Douglas, Exodus, Milbank and countless other places I’m from Harlem so you seen me play on somebody court before.

My first trophy was in P.S. 180 elementary school beating out all of the boys in suicide. I was a quiet, timid and learned by sight little girl. But when basketball was the topic; I became a different person I lit up with confidence, strength and assurance after hearing comments before anyone saw me perform on the court. I would hear “you’re too little” when I told my late Uncle Ken he gave me the best advice in life. He asked my stats I told him my points, assists and steals. He replied what about rebounds, blocks, charges and I stated “I am just a point guard Uncle Ken.” He said “no you are a student of the game, I watch you study plays and imitate it to perfection. Chanel, you are not too little to do anything in life. You are a player on the court that plays with passion that is bigger than your actual size.

Work on being an all around player and report back to me with the stats I asked for.” Is this a challenge? Everyone knows I am competitive, passionate and protective with anything I love. Basketball was my first love, besides my first love. During my time of coming up while playing basketball I was always the only female so you know I always had something to prove. Here is a portion of my story life after basketball and all that it has taught me in my chat with Rachel Piazza.

I never went to basketball camp I just watched The Knicks games with my mother and mimicked what I saw them do in the park. I was always the only girl. This is me in Junior High School; West Side Academy. This was right before I received my scholarship to St. Michael’s Academy. My monthly tuition was definitely someone’s rent. I don’t know how my mother did it but she believed in me.

Rachel Piazza: Hi Chanel! Can you tell me a little about your athletic background?

Chanel (Speedy): Hi Rachel! Sure. I played basketball since I was in elementary school (P.S. 180) and back then I was the only girl on the team. I earned several nicknames, trophies, traveled and medals. The nickname that stuck with me was “Speedy” at SUNY Old Westbury I was a play maker and defensive specialist all 4 years. The phrase I would chant to get everyone hype was “SIT!” As in sit in a defensive stance to get the team motivated and crowd into it.

Rachel: That’s great! Do you feel like you were a confident player?

Chanel (Speedy): Thanks! I was most definitely a confident player many underestimated me because I am diminutive but I played with a lot of heart and out hustled everyone because basketball was my passion.

Basketball gave me confidence in life because it made you develop problem solving skills, a broader view for presentation and life tactics that you can utilize on a daily basis. Basketball has shaped a majority of my life because you get to learn sportsmanship, social skills, leadership as a point guard, responsibility as I served as a captain and respect for rules and regulations. It prepared me for life scenarios in a way no other recreation has.

Rachel: Were you confident in your abilities on the court?

Chanel (Speedy): I took pride in being on the court and helping my teammates in anyway I could. I was that energy spark player you needed on the court to change the games momentum, get key steals and stops.

My abilities on the court gave my confidence a boost because being a visual player I would study my opponent and attack their weaknesses. Being that I was both fast, ambidextrous and had a series of moves. Including an in and out that allowed me space away from my defender. Basketball taught many lessons through wins and defeats but it definitely made me more aware of my self belief, awareness and overcoming the obstacles of people doubting my natural skill and abilities due to my size.

Rachel: Do you think basketball gave you confidence in your life?

Chanel (Speedy): Basketball gave me confidence to play against guys and girls alike who were older, stronger and more experienced than me and challenge them in competition because I knew I was quicker, more disciplined and had a greater basketball IQ. I had some great coaches that groomed me into the player I am. I didn’t have any formal training, attend any camps when I first started out everything was visual and me imitating plays from what I saw watching Knicks games.

John Starks was my favorite player later A.I. My coach Edwin Rosa saw potential in me and worked on my game. There weren’t a lot of buzz about female athletes when I first started but I followed Sheryl Swoopes when she was in Texas and she was dubbed the female MJ. Later a break through came and the WNBA came along after the defunct ABA and sneaker deals were given and more exposure. It gave me more confidence that it was more than a recreational pastime it could be a possible career.

Rachel: Thank you Chanel!

Chanel (Speedy): You’re welcome. I wish you the best in your present and future endeavors. Thank you for being a beaming light for fighting for women equality.

Life is about wins but learning from your losses no matter what angle it comes from in life. Be it a person, game, scenario etc you have to adjust and incorporate it as a lesson in order to navigate. If I just had the skill of basketball and not honed other skills my life after basketball which ended in me getting hurt practicing in L.A. with the Sparks this would be a where are they now interview.

Which is similiar to the correlation of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Love and Basketball character Tanya Randall. I did not want to be Tanya Randall. My advice to every woman in basketball is never go Tanya Randall (chuckles sorry I think in movies and songs that was a Jay Z 4:44 reference). Alongside my vision for myself, my mother and grandmother’s teaching I took education seriously which landed me scholarships and Sallie Mae don’t know my name (you have to sing that in Trey Songz voice LOL). Why do I play all day!

However, honing other skills is important. We as women do not make as much as men so we have to work harder, smarter and secure Plan B, C and D until something is fulfilling for financial stability. I refuse to be placed in a box of creativity or occupation. My mother told me I could be anything I wanted to be at the age of 4 and I believed her. I am an entrepreneur, mentor, writer, public speaker, author, media specialist and the list goes on. My name is Chanel “Speedy” and this is my life after basketball. Don’t act like you forgot. I still have a mean in and out to get pass you haha. Don’t forget to smile today!

Chanel “Speedy”

Rachel Piazza is a women’s rights advocate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt training at Unity Jiu-Jitsu School in New York City. Rachel has a master’s degree in women’s & gender studies and leads feminist self-defense workshops for women and girls. Rachel’s analysis on the empowerment of women through martial arts has been featured in numerous online outlets, including

As a co-founder of Young Feminists & Allies, the National Organization for Women’s first virtual chapter, Rachel’s work reaches beyond the realm of self-defense. In addition to herTEDx talk on sexist language, her feminist analysis has been sought at national conferences, and in digital media platforms on various topics including race, pop-culture, and politics.

Twitter: @rachelapiazza


Email rachel at

Welcome Campers was LIT! 
September 1, 2016

There are pictures and people you can live vicariously through and feel as if you are right there with them. However, Welcome Campers brought to you by The Wild Honey Pie is not one of those moments making “adult camp” one for the books. It is a FUN, spontaneous and care free weekend that is an EXPERIENCE to live through once in your lifetime. From the beautiful people, gorgeous landscape, activities, and live acoustic music you are sure to stay entertained.

If you were to ask me to describe my weekend in just three words (inserts a brief pause so you can ask How was your weekend?…). My response would be “IT WAS LIT!” This weekend was a collaboration of around the clock mingling, being introduced to new people, music and great energy! We all worked as a unit to defend our color in the Color Wars. The  yellow team was against my RED team.  You have my little ticker as I was a coach/cheerleader, scorekeeper and a thee referee that wasn’t in official gear. (Lol don’t judge me if you remember my face screaming from the bench).

The boozes were constantly flowing from the Canteen, lakeside onto the Funky Bunk with a variety from Sour ales to that of tequila. Let’s just say it wasn’t a dry campus if you get my drift. The portion of the stay that made it so rich was the welcomeness of everyone. I met a lot of awesome people that just shared the common goal of enjoying theirselves and making the most of the weekend.

The bands were amazing whether you were observing them by the campfire, under the stars with the smoke machine or just following them to the next destination as they marched. Superb job to all of the bands which included: Kid Mountain, Yoke Lore, PALEHOUND, Calliope Musicals, Matt FX, Buffalo Rodeo, Jay and the Gang, EVOLFO, Maybird and everyone who joined in the sing a long. To the sponsors who kept us busy, hydrated, energized and spread awareness through blood donations we THANK YOU – MOO, DKMS, Prairie Artisan Ales, Topo Chico water and High Brew Coffee. Relaxation became a major key lake side as many sailed out on canoed, paddleboards, swans and others jumped in from the donut trampoline. Whether you read a book on the sand, sunbathed or just had an interesting conversation on a boat or boardwalk.

Massachusetts was invaded by a lot of cool and free spirited people and Camp Lenox took on the Vegas motto approach of “Whatever happens at Camp Lenox stays at Camp Lenox.” Besides hearing the familiar phrase of “what happened last night?” all fun arrows lead to cabin trails. Pop chips and Savory food truck definately were clutch with the late night snacks. The steak fries were absolutely amazing! The weekend exemplified an interestingly different exposure to a variety of things you can not do in the city.

Campers and artists alike partcipated in kayaking, kickball, basketball, ping pong, tie dye, scavenger hunts, jam sessions, tennis, nature hikes, swimming, volleyball, yoga, bunk parties, arts and crafts and so much MORE. Lodging, meals, drinks, access to music and activities ALL weekend were presented on an elevated level thst everyone was VIP. Showing up was the only thing on the agenda to ensure a great way to meet new people, form stronger bonds with friends and letting the party continue. 

It was so hard to say goodbye to Camp Lenoxxxxx. (That was a high pitch octave if you were wondering). It was one of the most memorable experiences in my life so far. I think it should be extended to more than just the weekend. Now that I am back into the groove of my daily routine; I want to go back to camp. It gave me the feeling of being in a long undocumented movie that spontaneous lines were stated and will be remembered but not televised in its entirety. 

The fact that you were able to just simply be amongst people with good vibes, enjoyed the weather and took advantage of the laid out schedule at your leisure was a breath of fresh air. Adventure is the key to life and when you throw in a group of eccentric and talented people you have a worthwhile weekend, that is only understood by being there. You can retell your camp adventures but nothing will beat physically being present to witness and the interaction of it all. See you again next year! 

%d bloggers like this: