I have a confession. I don't know a lot about sports.
Growing up, I played the basics, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, but they fizzled out of my life over the years. It wasn't until college, that I fell in love with rugby and played it until I graduated. But I digress, because really, I wanted to talk about my experience with sports in this job.
In December, I started to cover Steel-High basketball (mostly the Lady Rollers), and I watched them triumph week by week. During those few months of the season, I learned a little more about basketball, but I learned a lot more what it’s like to be a community.
I won't be the first or last person to say it, but to outsiders, Steel-High doesn't always have the best reputation. Yet, there is this immense amount of pride that fills the bleachers at sporting events and walks the halls in between classes. I'm not a Roller, but I know about their pride- because I've seen it.
Sure the school and the Lady Rollers have a lot to be proud of… they managed to win states two years in a row, and made it to quarterfinals this year, before they were eliminated by a one-point loss.
But even in that loss, the girls heard from their coaches and their community:
"Keep your head up."
They received hugs and praise. There were tears, plenty of them, but there were so many smiles.
It was that pride kicking in.
I wrote a story in February about Malia Tate-DeFreitas, the team’s lead scorer who hit 3,000 points this year, reached 1,000+ this past season alone. She’s the second highest scorer of all time in PA (3,368).
But any pride she had was for the TEAM, not herself.
And I think that’s what it means to be a Roller.
They know what it’s like to be successful, but it’s their sense of community that stands out most.
It’s a feeling I get each time I step into the school, snap a picture in the gym. This small school that encompasses about 2 square miles, has a level of pride cities can’t even reach. It makes me smile, feel warm, and in a way, makes me wish I too, could be a Roller.
A lot of the people may not have much, but they have kindness and heart.
And to me, that sure is a lot. So even in their loss, watching the team and entire Steelton-Highspire community come together, is inspiring.
Maybe we can all go out there and do something kind, be a part of and support our communities, use our hearts.
Then, maybe, we can all be Rollers. Keep on rolling.