On Sunday, November 2, the Mount St. Joseph community and so many others rallied around one of their own in a way that I have never seen before. I feel so blessed to say that I was in attendance for this life changing event.
As you walked into the sold out Cintas Center there was a feeling amongst the crowd that was indescribable. The crowd buzzed with excitement as they knew that they would be witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event, as well as a dream come true for a Division III freshman basketball player.
As the announcer read the starting lineups, the tension in the arena built until he came to the final name for the Mount St. Joseph starting five. As he announced freshman, number 22, Lauren Hill, the entire arena erupted. Each and every person at the Cintas Center was a Lauren Hill fan.
As the game started the Mount got possession of the ball and drove it down the court. The ball was passed to Hill, who scored the first points of the NCAA basketball season. After making a left-handed layup, her teammates flooded the court with tears in their eyes as each one embraced her.
As Hill checked out of the game her teammates took over, playing with a fire that I have never seen before. They were playing their hearts out for their own number 22.
At half time Hill was presented with the Pat Summit Most Courageous Award by Summit herself. With tears in her eyes Hill struggled to find the right words, but when she spoke she said, “Were going to fight this, I know we’ll find a cure.”
With just one minute left in the game the student section rose to their feet and began to chant, “We want Lauren!” Hill entered into the game and as time expired scored yet another basket.
The Lions moved on to win over Hiram College 66 to 55. Hill ended with 4 points and a 1-0 record in her first ever game as a Mount St. Joseph Lion. She received HCAC player of the week honors for her performance and courage.
As a student and spectator at this event I have to say that I was speechless. First, I have to clarify: I call it an event because it was so much more than just a game. I have never been more proud to be a student at Mount more than I was this weekend. Lauren Hill is a modern day hero to so many because, despite all of the negative looming in her life, she continues to smile. She became the face of a cause and even a University that weekend.
In my classes here at the Mount, we talk a lot about growing and developing humanitarian leaders. A professor once described a humanitarian leader to me as someone who’s contribution to the world and society touches the lives of many. To me, it also deals with your legacy and the way that you choose to live and help others. Lauren Hill is a prime example of a humanitarian leader in every way, shape and form.
Not all of us have had the privilege to get to know Lauren personally, yet she has touched all of us here at the Mount. Her reach has now stretched across the country, and even the globe. It is a truly amazing time to be a Mount St. Joseph Lion. Thank you for touching all of us, Lauren.