Celebrating the Accomplishments of Kids
Did you happen to see the video of the women’s Basketball Player from Mount St. Joseph University (MSJU)? Wow talk about a story. Lauren Hill a freshman with the team has inoperable brain cancer. She is not expected to live past December and she had a dream to play at least one college basketball game. Because she is progressively getting worse, MSJU asked the NCAA for a special exemption to play three weeks earlier than the official start of the 2014-2015 Basketball season. Because of the situation the NCAA granted the request and the first game of the 2014 season was played by MSJU and Hiram College.
Ms. Hill scored a layup off the opening tip as part of a set play. With that, the crowd erupted and her teammates and the team from Hiram College as well as the assembled crowd congratulated her. The happiness on her face was overwhelming. It is a pure pleasure to watch and I have to admit a little tear came to my eye.
So Ms. Hill, a true freshman, scored the first point of the 2014-2015 season in might well be the only college basketball game she ever plays in. She also scored the last point of that game. Interestingly the last layup with less than one minute left on the clock was scored with a right handed layup. According to Ms. Hill, she was most proud of that because she is naturally right handed and the treatment has sapped strength and agility from her right side. The treatments for the cancer have been devastating to her young body. But the joy of hitting the last basket of the game is contagious (Roenigk, 2014).
While the nation watched her video replays, those of us with a chronic disease like diabetes or Rheumatoid Arthritis, probably saw something more. If you are like me you saw a person who, like you, is overcoming odds. This player just wants to live, do the things a talented woman does, and not have this sort of limelight. Imagine the amount of time Ms. Hill put into getting to where she is. As a an Indiana native (Lawrenceberg) Ms. Hill grew up loving basketball, though not a national top player she has a desire to play college basketball. Over the weekend that desire was (partially) fulfilled.
MSJU usually has 100 or so onlookers attend its game but for this game they had to look for a bigger arena. They sold out the Xavier home arena, so 10,000+ onlookers paid $5.00 each to watch the game. The proceeds were donated to the fight against Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), the type of cancer Lauren is stricken with. The game raised both awareness and funds for the terrible disease which today is 100% fatal and usually strikes young adults (“DIPG Register,” 2014).
You know our kids, those with other chronic diseases, do not often get this kind of recognition and certainly they are not on a terminal track like Ms. Hill, but make no mistake our kids are just as brave. We have kids who are in Ballet, School Musicals, and Cheer block; they play Football, Basketball, Softball and they are in FFA, Boy Scouts and 4H. Few receive this sort of recognition but they are every bit as brave. When we celebrate Ms. Hill’s accomplishments, and yes they are wonderful, we are really celebrating all kids, who overcome disease, isolation, and misunderstandings. Yes Ms. Hill is very special and I am proud she played high school basketball in Indiana. But every kid is special so today in honor Ms. Hill let’s celebrate the accomplishments of all kids, those with terrible disease and those who just get along.
Ms. Hill is special, but so are the kids who face long odds, no matter the circumstances. After all in this world, all kids face long odds, some more than others. When you see Ms. Hill on TV think of the kids with arthritis, diabetes, and other chronic diseases, trust me those kids are also special achievers.
DIPG Register. (2014). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://www.dipgregistry.org/
Roenigk, A. (2014, November 3). Hill fulfills dream, nets 4 points. Retrieved November 3, 2014, from http://espn.go.com/womens-college-basketball/story/_/id/11809823/lauren-hill-mount-st-josephs-brain-tumor-fulfills-hoops-dream