Feb. 27, 2008
By Lara Boyko
Special to CSTV.com
Of all the text messages that college athletes receive, San Francisco junior guard Shay Rollins may have received the most interesting one last fall.
"I was in class and I think he either texted me with `MVP 2007' or called me," said Rollins.
While most women's basketball players will never receive this kind of text from anyone in their family, much less their oldest brother, Rollins is not your average college player.
Instead, as the youngest sister of Major League Baseball's 2007 National League Most Valuable Player Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, she is enjoying some special moments.
"It's funny because I just got back into town from the Major League Baseball Sportswriters and Philadelphia Sportswriters banquets where they were honoring Jimmy with the MVP award," said Rollins. "When we got in the limo after the second event, I told Jimmy about how weird it was to have bodyguards escort him to where he needed to go and people were chasing him to get his autograph when to me, he is just my brother."
Along with Jimmy (who is also a three-time National League All-Star) Rollins' other older brother Antwon was picked in the fourth round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft by Texas and played in the Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos minor league systems. Yet no matter where her brothers are off pursuing their dreams, they are never too far to make sure their baby sister is taking care of things in her sport.
"It's fun because we will get on each other. If my brother does not get a hit in a game I will call him and ask him what is going on because he needs to get a hit every game," she said. "Likewise, if I miss a free throw, he will call me and remind me that I can't miss a free throw. We support each other so much."
The support for each other has been long in the making in the Rollins family, as it was everyone in her immediate family who had a hand in helping her get to where she is today.
"I was eight years old and running track when my mom asked me if I wanted to try something new," said Rollins. "I said OK, started playing basketball and my dad taught me how to play.
"Antwon, my dad and I would always do a lot of extra work in basketball while I was growing up. Jimmy would also be there helping me with rebounds and free throw contests. I don't think I have beat him yet, but I am still working on it. For Antwon, we would always play one-on-one and he would post me up at the basket, run me into the wall and knock me over. I would complain about how unfair it was with how rough he was with me, but he didn't take it easy on me and would beat me up on the court."
The support has paid off for the youngest of the Rollins kids as she has found her field of dreams on the hardwood and is making a name for herself in the West Coast Conference
Last year Rollins was a 2007 All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection and during her freshman year in 2006, was a West Coast Conference All-Freshman Team member. This season she is sixth in the league in assists (3.26) and third in three-pointers (2.21). In addition, she ranks third on the team in scoring (11.5). Yet for Rollins, it's all about being a leader.
"It's fun to know that the girls look up to me so I just tried to set a good example and work hard day in and day out along with when things are not going well, to keep my head up so they can follow my lead," said Rollins.
Now regardless of what name she is being called by her family or teammates - from Shakey or Shaqsizzle to Diva -- Rollins knows that you've got to roll with the punches to get through a season.
"We are doing well and still have some ups-and-downs on the team that we need to work on," she said. "For instance we come out and play with a high level of intensity for three games and then come out the fourth game and not play up to our potential. I can't wait for the tournament as I think we are making some noise right now in our conference and know that we can win it and get into the tournament, which is what we are working towards."