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News | July 27, 2016

Dribbling with the Army, a world championship, breast cancer

By Sgt. Abbey Perria I Marine Expeditionary Force

“To my surprise, I didn’t know everything,” said Spc. Vanessa Lamison after reflecting back to when she first joined the All Army Women’s Basketball team. “Ever since I have known and played basketball, I thought I knew everything.”

Lamison played basketball in college, so this was not her first time on a distinguished team. It was just her first time juggling hours of practice on the basketball court while serving on active duty as a human resource specialist. 

She joined the U.S. Army in February 2013 and made the All Army Women’s Basketball team the following year. She and her team consistently performed well, but she was not sure, until recently, where her team most needed her.

“So Coach Johnson made a wonderful adjustment to my game and moved me from point guard to a shooting guard,” said Lamison. “I became more of a scorer than a facilitator. I was more confident with my game.”

She recently demonstrated her skill by scoring a 3-pointer as the buzzer rang, winning the gold medal for the Army at the Armed Forces Women's Basketball Championship in San Antonio, Texas July 7. Her performance earned her a place on the USA Team at the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Military Women’s Basketball Championship July 25 through July 29.
“Just as my success was going well on the court, I was faced with another challenge,” said Lamison. “My lifeline and number one supporter, my mom, was battling breast cancer.”

With her mom unable to attend the Armed Forces tournament, Lamison wore pink breast cancer socks during the games as a reminder that her mom was with her.

“My mom is still recovering, but according to the doctors, she is recovering very well and she hardly has any pain, which is a blessing,” said Lamison. “I know I couldn’t have done it without my mom’s prayers and the help from God above.”
Justifiably, Lamison found it hard to concentrate when practicing with the newly formed USA Team for the CISM World Military Women’s Basketball Championship. Twelve service members from different branches were picked to create the team.

“Playing with other service members always starts out as a challenge, because you have to learn each other games in a matter of days,” said Lamison. “It was very hard to focus on anything, but I knew that’s what my mom would want me to do. And I knew I had to lead from the front for my team.”

Two days into the 2016 CISM World Military Women’s Basketball Championship, the United States’ team has proven their metal. They won against Canada 82-25 on July 25, then defeated the French team 85-53 the following day. Lamison calls her mom every day to check up on her.

“In the end, my mom and I both won,” said Lamison. “Our support for each other is stronger than ever before.”