I want to talk to you all about a basketball game: shocker, right? Though this time there was no buzzer beater, no national coverage and no post game accolades.
I was a freshman and it was the last home game of the season. As an underclassman you want nothing more than to send your seniors out on a high note, but after compiling a 3-26 record prior to this game, we weren’t expecting to play in front of anything more than a meager crowd. However looking back, meager is a word I will never use to describe any Goshen crowd that I played in front of during my time here.
To our surprise, the stands were packed that day. The familiar sound of vuvuzelas rang throughout the gym as students, faculty and community members all on their feet chanted, “we love you Goshen, we do.”
We lost that game, just like we did 53 other times over the course of my first two seasons. But one thing we never lost was the support of the GC community.
From heartbreaking losses to sweet, sweet victories, you were there. From 30-point losses to 30-point wins, you were there. From that loss of my final game my freshman season to a loss in the national final four, you were there. And for that, my heart will forever be filled with gratitude.
The four years I spent as a Goshen College basketball player are four years that I will never forget, especially this last one. Though the road prior wasn’t always straight and narrow, my final season is a result of that jagged road.
Speaking on behalf of my teammates, I can tell you there were many times we wanted to give up. There were many times it would have been easier to walk away or settle for mediocrity. My fellow seniors will agree when I say that we always believed in ourselves, but some days that faith was seriously shaken. But then we would run into a community member at the RFC or a professor on campus, who would rave about the last game even though we lost, and our hope was restored.
This spectacular season would not have been possible without that hope. Much of our success we owe to you, Leaf nation.
Goshen has provided me with experiences that many athletes only dream of. Competing in a national final four with teammates that are more like sisters isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill situation. I will never forget seeing assorted spaces on campus bursting at the seams with fans watching our games. I will never forget the send off and welcome home receptions. And I will never forget all the kind words and well wishes.
So, to every student who showed up to a game and cheered their hearts out when they should have been studying: thank you. To every professor who excused my absences and late work on game day: thank you. To every fan who came back, game after game, regardless of the score: thank you.
As my time left at GC dwindles away quickly and graduation lurks around the corner, I couldn’t be more filled with gratitude. However, I was given a 600 word limit, and as I grapple with how to conclude this article, much like I grapple with how to grasp the conclusion of my college career, I feel there is only one thing fitting to say, or sing one last time: I love you Goshen, I do. I love you Goshen, I do. I love you Goshen, I do. Oh, Goshen I love you.