In life, little sisters are like trial children for their older siblings. We feel protective of them, we adore them, we share in all of their joys and sorrows, and sometimes they drive us crazy. In most cases we also take care of them, although in my particular case it’s usually my little sis who’s reminding me to take food out of the plastic wrap before putting it in the microwave. Whatever our relationship with them, it is always special when we can be there with our sisters during their important moments in life, and lucky for me, this week I was given an opportunity to do just that.
At Gateway Regional High School, the girls’ basketball team is like a family. Even though I haven’t played for them in two years, I still feel a strong connection to the school, the team, the coach, and the experience. This year, I had more of a reason than ever to get to as many games as I could given that I go to school three and a half hours away – it is my little sister’s senior year. And this year in particular, senior night was going to be a spectacular event. You see, when I played for the Lady Gators, the team didn’t win a single game in five years. That’s right, five. Then, my senior year, everything changed and we ended up going to tournament! Now, in my little sister’s senior year, not only are they going to tournament but they are League Champions and undefeated at home. Watching this transformation come about has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
So, as a family we decided I was going to surprise my little sister on her senior night by showing up. So three missed classes, a bus ride and a car trip later, I was sneaking into my old school with my big sister and brother-in-law, a bouquet of roses and basketball balloons. When they called the families of the seniors out onto the court and Emma saw me, her look of confusion and then her exclamation of “oh my god!” and prompt tearful break down were entirely worth the five hours of sleep and crappy bus ride it had taken to get there.
The game was incredible, the girls played amazingly. And, very different from when I was there, the stands were packed, there was a great pep band playing, and varsity cheerleaders filled the timeouts. (Though we all know that the cheerleaders should technically go in the “negatives” column. No offense to any cheerleaders reading – it’s just been ingrained in me and now there’s nothing I can do about it.) After another incredible game from the Lady Gators, the girls brought home their 12 win of the season, and so brought the regular season to a spectacular close.
Pics from the epicness:
To any of the Lady Gators who may be reading this post, I would just like to let you know something. Cherish these moments. This school, and this team are so special, and will be so important to you for the rest of your lives. No matter where you go or what you do, your memories from this time will stay with you, and your hearts will bleed blue and gold.