Alcott offers Palestinian teen game-changing advice

Doha Amla and Amy Alcott at the Peace Players basketball clinic.

Doha Amla and Amy Alcott at the Peace Players basketball clinic.

JERUSALEM – Amy Alcott called it a “life-changing experience.” As former NBA players Brian Scalabrine and Will Perdue put Israeli and Palestinian teenage boys and girls through their paces on the court, Alcott met Doha Amla, 17, a Palestinian girl who dreams of being the first Arab in the WNBA.

“I don’t want to be just anybody,” Amla said. “I want to be somebody.”

It reminded Alcott of her own hopes and dreams in golf and her humble start as a 9-year-old laying soup cans in her front yard and pushing the ball into the hole.

“It’s tough for women in my country,” Doha said.

Alcott understood. She gave a sympathetic nod. “Listen,” she said, “it’s been hard for women all along.”

Alcott’s advice was simple, but you could tell they were words she tries to live by: “Trust yourself and be true to yourself. And remember: There are no shortcuts to success,” said Alcott, 56, a World Golf Hall of Fame member whose 29 LPGA victories include five major championships.

Doha had questions, lots of questions. She smiled and asked, “What’s it like to be famous?”

“It’s great,” Alcott said. “Most of the time.”

Doha is one of the best female basketball players on her team. For the past several years, she has been active in Peace Players, an international nonprofit designed to unite, educate and inspire young people in divided communities through basketball. On Thursday, Doha will participate in a golf clinic at Caesarea Golf Club. You can bet that Alcott will be dishing lessons in more than just grip, stance and posture.

“I’m a lefty in golf,” Doha advised Alcott before exiting the gym.

Alcott likes Doha’s moxie and what the LPGA legend witnessed happening among young Israeli and Palestinians in perpetual conflict.

“As much as Peace Players is about sport, it’s not about sport at all,” Alcott said. “It’s about sharing time.”

• • •

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