A Great Teammate
Another regular season of high school basketball is drawing to a close this week.
Before the playoffs begin, teams will pay tribute to their seniors who will be playing their final home game. Senior Night is a nice opportunity to recognize those who will wear the home whites in their own gym for the final time. Often it is the seniors’ teammates who speak the words of praise in front of the crowd that try to sum up what each player meant to the team.
One of the seniors from the team I follow devotedly hasn’t made a basket, grabbed a rebound, handed out an assist, taken a charge, or even stepped on the court this year.
But she has been the best Teammate a player could ever hope to have.
A horrific knee injury during the fall soccer season left her hobbled and unable to compete any more for this school year.
Voted by her teammates at the end of last season to be a captain this year, chances are she would have been the league’s best point guard – the sort of player who would have prided herself more on how many assists she had than points she scored.
She is that rare individual whose focus has been on making her teammates better, with little regard for any recognition that could have come her way had she chosen to be more selfish.
Whatever hopes she may have had at attracting the attention of college coaches went pffft when her knee blew up in October.
Still, this girl has come to every practice and every game. Subscribing to the theory that there are lots of different ways a player can help the team to win a game, she constantly exhorts her teammates at practices and games to dig deeper and keep plugging away, even taking players aside during games to offer a bit of advice based on how she sees the game developing.
After a gut-wrenching home defeat in overtime earlier in the season, she was the lone player coming off the court who was driven to tears after the final horn sounded. Her exhausted teammates, spent from their effort, had nothing left in their emotional tanks to give. But their Captain did.
Throughout the season, her mom and dad have been steadfast in their commitment to the team, setting a great example by attending every single game, even though they’ve known there was no chance of getting to watch their daughter play.
They are the exception to the rule in today’s youth sports world where the phrase ‘if my kid ain’t playing, I’m not staying’ seems to apply all too often.
For that they deserve a trophy or something.
Come to think of it, they already have one.
Her name is Rachel Schrote.
There’s no question about it.
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