It’s not about validation. It’s about each other.
We’re six time region champs, and all I can think about is my family. Not the blood related family that I left behind in order to go to this tournament, but the players on my team that got me here in the first place.
The medal around my neck is supposed to symbolize winning, but that’s not quite right. If I left it behind, It would mean nothing to me. It’s just a thing.
Being called winners will never be as important to me than the names of the people who built me up to get there.
No trophy has ran to my side to pick me back up after a hard crash to the floor, like Lianne Guevarra. Eager and quick to put me back on my feet.
It certainly doesn’t make me laugh or grow a sense of humor like Emmie Smith taught me. Or bring me comfort and understanding like Payton Simmons. It most definitely didn’t sacrifice their body for the game and give selflessly to others by constantly playing hard, which Ashley Huffine does each and every time.
It doesn’t take care of me and play the role of a mother figure like Nadire Zhuta does each trip. It didn’t make sure I was involved and encouraged when I was feeling down like Jenae Rhoads did.
It won’t impact the game like Shaelyn Mendoza, freshmen starter, smallest on the team with a big role.
Everyone is important and has an impact not just on the score at the end of the game, but on me. Because they are the ones selflessly showing up to practice every single day to get beat up and yelled at, only to sit on the bench. Cheering on the team with real passion and joy.
These people mean more to me than a basketball region title. The connection and relationships made through the adversity and sacrifice have more significant value to me than a piece of rope cut down from a hoop, or a plastic award mantled to a block of wood to be placed inside a trophy case.