100 Women We Love 2016

Here’s to this year's class of the women who inspire us, give us hope, make us laugh and make us want to get up and dance. 

HELENA HANTZES

In 2003 (when she was 50 years old) Helena Hantzes started a noncompetitive women’s basketball program at the Pride Center in South Florida. “It was important to have someplace [to go] for women—and some men—who wanted to socialize and exercise,” Hantzes explains. Women of all sizes, ages and skill levels are encouraged to participate. “We have drawn women from really great skill levels to women who have never played at all,” she says. “It is gratifying to provide a space for women with physical and medical challenges to join in, including women with multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, walkers and wheelchairs…We have experienced it all.” There is an emphasis on inclusion; therefore, the players as a group adjust their game to that end. “Some of us have had recent relationship disappointments, family issues, are newcomers to the area, or are looking to increase social networks through exercise and the love of basketball,” Hantzes says. In addition to coaching and organizing the program, she sends out a supportive, informative, weekly e-newsletter to players: The Basketball Enquirer and Gazette. –SLO