A League of Her Own: Part of the team
There is nothing better than suddenly realizing your cheeks are pushed upwards, your eyes are slightly closed, your teeth are exposed and you are adding new wrinkles to your crow’s feet.
It’s in that moment you recognize that you are smiling. Not a fake, or posed-for-selfie-shot, but a sincere, broad, takes-over-your-face smile.
I love the moments that create these take-over-your-face grins. I was witness to such a moment on a recent Friday night during a hometown high school boys basketball game.
The boys performed before a standing-room-only home crowd in the quarter-finals of post-season play. After the warm ups, national anthem and introduction of the starters, the teams took to the court.
But before the ref threw up the ball for the tip off, my hometown team did something remarkable.
Each of the starting five walked over to where a group of younger fans sat in the stands, many proudly wearing the team’s green and white colors.
As the high school players walked over, the younger kids stood up. With excitement in their eyes they stretched out their hands, hoping to receive a fist pump from one of their hometown heroes.
I’ve only lived in town for eight years, but in that moment I know my family and I made the right decision by moving there.
Those fist pumps might seem insignificant, but what that exchange did was strengthen my community. As the players walked away, the younger kids beamed and turned toward each other, laughing. You could see it on their faces. They felt part of something — they were part of the game, they were connected.
The positive energy created in that moment was infectious. There is a reason not a seat was to be found in the gym that night.
I hope the team recognizes it isn’t only their talent that brings out the masses. It’s how they take the time to involve and appreciate those who support them.
I’m sure many would agree that, win or lose, there is a community cheering them on. A community they have helped to create ... and we are all behind them.
Heather Gillis Harris is reporter for The Country (Mass.) Gazette. Reach her at email@example.com.