​​by terri mateer


"​​​Like nothing ever seen." -Broadway World

Once upon a time: Terri Mateer's story is
funny, uplifting, heartbreaking

Posted Friday, January 10, 2020  By Shane Covey, Brattleboro Reformer

BRATTLEBORO — Terri Mateer has a knack for painting a picture in your mind, whether she's sharing
about her first few days as an eighth-grader in Brattleboro or talking about playing in pick-up basketball games at Florida State University with the likes of Deion Sanders.
She has told the story about her extraordinary life roughly 400 times on stage, letting her audiences know about her experiences with modeling, stripping, and playing hoops professionally. The 1983 Brattleboro Union High School graduate will perform that off-Broadway show once again

at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River.
"I get excited every time I perform it," said Mateer, whose maiden name is McCarty.

"The point of the show is to be kind to one another."
About 40 years after it happened, she remembers the feeling of walking the halls of Brattleboro's

junior high school for the first time. It was way bigger than the school in Putney she was accustomed to,
and she felt like an outsider. She remembers when her future BUHS teammate Ann Wheelock
approached her and encouraged her to go out for the basketball team.
"I will never forget that reach-out," said Mateer, who was just over six feet tall by the time she was 12.

"Once I joined the team, I felt like I had a place to be in the world."
That place was down low, near the basket, where she would master posting up and boxing out. She eventually attended a basketball camp in Newfane and would have two shoeboxes filled with

college recruitment letters by the ninth grade.
"I was always trying to get better. To me, the sport is all about the team and
how we could
get better as a group," said Mateer.
Playing with the likes of Heidi Nelson, Barbie Barrett, Betsy Hudon and Wheelock, at BUHS,

she helped the Colonels to a 20-2 record during her senior year in 1983.
"Playing ball did give me a sense of 'ease,' not because it helped me feel comfortable about

my height but because [basketball], I believed, was a way to reach my education goals," Mateer said. "The fact that we had Janel Aquadro and Heidi Bristol, both 6-foot 1, Heidi Nelson, 5-foot-10, Ann Wheelock
I think was 5-foot-8, Barbie Barrett as a point guard was 5-foot-10 ... it made me feel quite at ease and comfortable posting up, playing, making and missing shots because wow ... what an incredible line-up for a high school squad or any squad!"
"What I could not have known at that moment is what an amazing and wonderful person and friend Terri would be," she said. "We became instant friends, as did anybody who met her, because she is kind and sweet and funny as heck. Her heart is even bigger than her height."
"I will be forever grateful that I had the nerve to walk up to Terri because I made a lifelong friend with a gentle, loving spirit who lives life on her own terms but has never forgotten

those of us she met along the way," Wheelock added.
Mateer later played at Florida State University, scoring 140 points and pulling down 134 rebounds in three seasons with the Seminoles. She later brought her talent to France, where she played one year of professional basketball. "It was awkward there ... Europeans are a little different.

I couldn't agree with the culture," she said.
At the time, pro basketball in the United States wasn't an option, as the WNBA did not yet exist. "My coach at FSU, Marynell Meadors, was one of the original eight head coaches when the WNBA started in 1997," Mateer said. "I am certain I could have played for her or any other pro team had it come along earlier."
Mateer would then move to New York City to pursue acting and storytelling.

She has been performing "A Kind Shot" since 2013.
"It's just me telling a story. My only prop is a basketball," she said.
Mateer said her show is 20 percent comedy, 20 percent uplifting, 20 percent heartbreaking, 20 percent informational, and 20 percent other stuff. It's 30 years of her life, covering such topics as

sexual abuse and her dreams of being an architect.
"The show is very special each time," she said. "It's always new.

There's always a different reaction. I'm always learning."

Shane Covey is sports editor of the Brattleboro Reformer.
Years later, Wheelock is glad she approached Mateer with that invitation.



In A KIND SHOT, 6’1” blonde spitfire Terri Mateer tells her life story of becoming a pro basketball player in France. Raised by a single, hippie mom, an African American surrogate father steps in and teaches Terri how to play the game. Clearing six feet in sixth grade, she’s a natural, but dreams of becoming an architect. Terri's unbelievable journey includes playing pro ball, modeling, stripping, designing
Michael Jordan’s headboard, and taking lots of shots at life.


An Engaging Journey
​​Jacquelyn Claire-Stage Biz 

We’re in exquisite memoir territory with Terri Mateer as she coaches us through her life’s upheavals and celebrations with humor and heart. She is a consummate storyteller with a mighty presence. Terri is a striking 6’1” blonde, ex-pro basketball playing bombshell, model, architect, actress and activist. Her story is devastating and necessary. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gaining traction, this is an important contribution towards helping women find their line in the sand. A Kind Shot takes us on a hectic journey where you sometimes forget to breathe.
We grow up with her in a household of “hippiedom” and exploration. Her father, a fighter pilot, dies when Terri is four and the African American boarder, Ike, steps in as a surrogate. He teaches her how to play basketball giving her a skill that awards her with opportunities to study and a lifelong passion for the sport. Basketball becomes the thread that links the various episodes of her life - many of which are punctuated by sexual misconduct on the part of friends, colleagues and bosses. She has grown up not knowing how to put up boundaries and is often surprised by what gets “thrust” upon her. Each of these incidents are clothed in the right words that hit you hard in the solar plexus. Her shots always find the net. We journey with her to Florida, France, New York and Chicago as she unpacks her defining moments of self growth thanks to difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Mateer has crafted a vital text with dramaturgy assistance from Lee Brock and Seth Barrish. It’s an engaging journey that touches on so many issues in it’s fast flowing, “alley oop” optimistic telling. It never becomes indulgent or sentimental but is rather a series of well executed dunks at high speed. It will be an enduring work that can be performed for many years to come as the messages inherent in the text needs to be heard by every generation.
Terri Mateer is an impressive talent. The show is peppered with a robust physicality. From bounding around the stage ‘court’ shooting hoops to a strip tease gone wrong at an acting class she is unafraid to push her body to its limits. She has a giant presence, not just in height but in soul. She makes a real connection with the audience from the get go. There is a talkback session following every performance but she had us all talking on her entrance. She encourages an immediate feeling of ease and trust. Audience members were vociferous in their insistence that this show needed to be seen by high school and college students across the country. I concur. It’s so honest, raw and energizing that it makes your inner feminist foxtrot.
It’s such a perfect combination of brilliant acting, detailed physicality, hard-hitting text and uplifting personal triumphs. I wish it a very long life.

A Kind Shot at SUNY New Paltz:
Sponsored by Department of Theatre Arts,
Department of Athletics, Wellness & Recreation
Office of Human Resources, Diversity & Inclusion

These students snuck in late so they sat in the wings and one of them held their pee cuz they loved the show.

“A Kind Shot”
A Slam Dunk in Parker Theatre, SUNY New Paltz

Jake Maurilleo-The New Paltz Oracle

Stripping, sports and spirituality: three themes that you commonly wouldn’t find together.
However, on Saturday, April 7, Terri Mateer’s “A Kind Shot” combined these three, and many more, into a comedic, shocking and inspiring performance in Parker Theatre.
Mateer, an ex-pro basketball player, model and actress premiered the show at Under St. Marks, an intimate theater in New York City, in 2013. There, she performed the show multiple times, getting audience feedback and making changes where she felt necessary. Parker Theater is the fifteenth venue to welcome “A Kind Shot.”
The show’s set is a simple one: basic lighting shining down on the stage of Parker Theater, which has been made to look like a basketball court. At the start of the show, Mateer walks out dribbling a basketball, which she wound up holding for the duration of the performance. 
A flower is painted onto the basketball, which Mateer explains to be symbolic of the first word her father taught her, “flower.” From the beginning, Mateer’s tone is very conversational: I almost couldn’t tell whether the performance had begun or not, however this made the show a lot easier to watch and Mateer’s interaction with the audience at the beginning made her seem like less of a character and more of a person. 
The story of Mateer’s life is a rollercoaster ride. As she effortlessly relays her story, one can’t help but feel drawn in. She describes the role models in her life as her “coaches.” Her first coach was her dad, who suddenly died at a young age while in the Navy. Her next coach was her mom, whom she referred to as “not a very good coach.” Ike, a man who moved in with Mateer when she was in middle school, was not only a metaphorical coach to Mateer, but also a literal one, as he was the first person to teach Mateer how to properly shoot a basketball.
Each time Mateer’s story seemed to reach a peak, it immediately came crashing down. In a non-graphic, but still shocking way, Mateer reveals the multiple instances of sexual assault she’s experienced in her life. 
The stories couldn’t have come at a better time, as movements like “Me Too” are encouraging women to speak out on the harassment and assault they’ve faced in their lives. This was mentioned during the after-performance talkback, where Mateer opens the floor to the audience to ask questions, share their personal experiences and give feedback on the show. 
The overarching theme of the play, however, was friendship. Mateer explains the importance of stepping in when a friend needs help, even if they don’t ask. She shares an experience where a friend of her’s asked what was going on during an especially rough time in her life, and how much that helped her get to the place where she is today. 
Overall, “A Kind Shot” was a thoroughly enjoyable performance. Mateer had no problem capturing and holding the audiences attention for the entire 90-minute performance, which is especially impressive considering Mateer is the show’s only actor. 
Mateer faced the retelling of sensitive stories head on, and did so with love, passion and humor. Throughout the show, I couldn’t help but root for her. She hopes to one day be able to perform it at schools around the country, as the lessons it teaches are extremely relevant and valuable to people of all ages.

"Hi Terri, I’m so glad you emailed as I’ve been toting around your postcard for months now as a reminder to reach out to you. I saw one of your shows at the Barrow Theatre earlier this year and i talked to you briefly afterwards. I absolutely loved your show. I came to see you because I wanted to see if a woman could hold a room for over an hour just telling stories. And you did. You were captivating. I’m working on a solo show right now and yours was an inspiration because like you I’m not doing any characters, just myself. So from an artistic perspective I appreciated so much what you did. And from a heart level I equally loved it. I find myself thinking about it a lot: speaking out for other people, watching each others’ backs, being kind. I am excited to see how the show is moving and growing. You and your message deserve all the love and attention you can get because quite simply, you make the world a better place. Thank you for sharing your story."

Jennifer Bangs

"A perfect combination of brilliant acting, detailed physicality, hard-hitting text and uplifting personal triumphs."
Jacquelyn Claire-Stage Biz

"It's truly a fresh, brave and daring take on the one-woman show."
Juliana Adame-Broadway World

"Cassius Clay, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King and many others have performed on our stage and now you have graced it with your show and presence. Thank you."
Francis L. Hendricks-President Mansfield University 

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