Written by Peyton Padgett
“We should be good.”
This was my response to fans, professors, friends and family at the beginning of the 2018-2019 basketball season when they asked,“How is this year’s team looking?” It’s an open response that allows the listener to decide their definition of “good.” Call me superstitious, but you’ll never hear me predict the outcome of a game before the buzzer goes off. If I’ve learned anything about college athletics over the past three years it’s that nothing is set in stone. No team has limits, and when you are caught slacking, someone else is working harder than you.
Our season came to an end last week when we lost in the semifinals of the Great American Conference Tournament. Too short if you ask me. Any athlete can relate to the feeling you experience after that last game or match of the season. It’s an array of emotions that you cycle through. It starts with frustration, then leads to regret — thinking of everything you could’ve done differently over the course of the season — then sadness when you begin to notice that another year has passed and the seniors who have paved the way for you, are actually done. They have completed their college careers, and the team you have grown to be a part of will never be the same.
However, that last feeling was not experienced by the women’s basketball team this year. We have no seniors. The 13 people who suited up every game will return to do it again.
Why is this important? To you, reading this right now, it’s not,and that’s OK.To me,it is vital to the success we can achieve.That realization has made me accept that our season has ended, but it hasn’t made me satisfied by any means. I want more than anything for this team to experience success on the highest level.
However, I believe God works in his own timing and that he purposefully orchestrates people’s lives to intercross. Brooke Bradley, a transfer from the University of the Incarnate Word, has filled a hole in this team that is irreplaceable. Her passion for her teammates carries far beyond the gym doors.
Cheyenne Brown, another transfer from Northwestern State University, has gifted us all with years of experience and knowledge.
Taylor Sims, a transfer from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, teaches each of us how to interweave Christ in the sport we choose to play every day. And my three freshmen, Hayley Kate Webb, Jasmine Barnes and Katelyn Burtch remind us of where it all began: that we are never too advanced in years to learn and become better players.
These six combined with the seven returners made up our 2018-2019 roster.This was and will be the make-up of our team.
Since my “a-ha” moment in the locker room, my answer has changed. There is no superstition attached to my response — no doubt or fear. It’s backed by faith in my teammates to get better, responsibility I have to improve and an expectation that will be met by the 13 returners who now know what it takes.
If you see me around be sure to ask me, “How is this year’s team looking?”
To my teammates, thank you for a season of growth. Because of you, I was able to learn, accept change and not only become a better player but teammate. You have better equipped me on and off the floor.
I love you because of who you stand for and who you push me to be. I can confidently say that next season will be one worth sticking around for because of you. I am excited for what is to come. In the 2019-2020 season, I don’t know what it will hold, but I do know that we can tackle any obstacle set before us, as long as we are together. Let’s do this.