To Emily Tay, basketball is everything. At 10-years-old, she would watch Allen Iverson highlights that rocked her world. She would play the tape, rewind it and practice every move until she got it just right, especially the no look pass.
On Wednesday night, Springfield College’s Gay Straight Alliance presented the film No Look Pass, which featured former Harvard Crimson star Emily Tay. This documentary followed Tay through her struggles and triumph in basketball and in life.
At the time, Tay and her family lived in Los Angeles, Calif. Before moving to California, Tay’s family emigrated from the small country of Burma in 1980; they are also Asian American.
They came to the U.S. with nothing but $65 to their name and a dream. Tay’s parents wanted a new start and opportunities.
Tay had a seemingly good relationship with her parents, but there was one thing she couldn’t tell them: she was a lesbian.
In a family where arranged marriages were everything, it was not what Tay wanted. She just wanted to be happy and to be accepted.
Basketball has always been a part of her life, and her dream was to play professional basketball overseas. In high school she excelled academically and athletically. She was then recruited to Harvard.
At the film screening, room 230 in Locklin Hall was filled with students, faculty and members of the community.
“Sometimes we don’t see what goes on behind closed doors, but Emily discusses her life, her ups and downs and how she overcomes any obstacles that come her way,” said junior Sarah Sylvester.
Playing ball at Harvard had positive effects on Tay. She had great teammates, especially one that she really connected with named Katie. It was easy to come out to her teammates because of how accepting they were.
After college she went on to fulfill her dream of playing overseas. Tay and Katie both agreed to play for a team in Vernheim, Germany. Over in Germany, the Vernheim team made it all the way to the championship during their first season, then lost in the best two out of three.
While in Germany, Tay really found out who she was and at the same time she met someone who she could be herself with, her girlfriend, Angela. After being in Germany for quite some time, she figured that she wanted to stay.
It was also a time for a major breakthrough with her family: she told her dad about her secret. He said that he loved her anyway. Tay hasn’t told her mother because of the fear of acceptance.
This was one of the various events that was put on by Springfield College’s Gay Straight Alliance. Some other events that are put on by the Springfield College Gay Straight Alliance/Pride Alliance are Ally Day, and coming up, the Day of Silence.
“All of the events are focused on advocacy and awareness and supporting those who can’t come out and represent themselves,” said Pride Alliance Vice President Noah Pascal.
As she watched Allen Iverson highlights at 10-years-old 13 years earlier, her dream was to play professionally. After playing in the championship game in Germany, her no look pass turned into a bucket for two.
CJ Legner may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org