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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Quakers support one another, overcome odds

Naari Honor/Guilfordian
The women’s basketball team emerges from their team huddle at EMU, ready to fight until the final buzzer.

In the movies, it does not matter whether the home team is going out of town for a championship game or a conference game, their departure is always bade adieu with a send-off fit for a president.

On Feb. 5 at 5:30 p.m., the Guilford College women’s basketball team arrived in the Alumni Gym parking lot to board the Black Tie Charter bus. Team members carried with them everything from blankets and pillows to food.

However, there were no screaming fans, handcrafted signs or heartfelt embraces to see them off as they headed to Harrisonburg, Va., to play against the Blue Lions of Eastern Mennonite University.

“Since I’m from Maryland, they (her family) can’t really come to a lot of games … but they always text or call me, before and after each and every game,” said sophomore center Jordyn Brown in an email interview. “They even text me before and after my practices.”

Darkness is not shy welcoming us on the road. It envelopes our vehicles within a blink of an eye. The moment prompts me to wonder where our Quakers will find support if the stands are empty at this away game. If there is no one in the stands, I speculate that it would feel just as desolate as the road.

When we arrive at the hotel around 10 p.m. that evening, student assistant coach Kali Cuttaia and assistant coach Madison Dulaney make sure the team has food to eat before they settled into their own rooms. The next morning, coach Flamini ensures the team had a complete breakfast as opposed to the hotel’s attempt at a continental one. I can still hear her telling the ladies to watch themselves as they crossed the street to grab a bite at Bob Evans. These gestures may seem like small ones, but they are signs of coaches truly caring about the individual behind the athlete.

In an email interview with sophomore guard Kayla Scott, I could tell that it was imperative to her that I understood the team’s appreciation and the loyalty of their true supporters.

Her list included, “Head Athletic Trainer Gary (Rizza), Sports Information Director and Assistant Athletic Director Dave Walters and Athletic and PE Center Manager Mike Merkel.”

Scott goes on to name many of the athletic coaches, men’s basketball team members, the women’s lacrosse team, fellow students, football players and even President Jane Fernandes and Associate Professor of Justice & Policy Studies Barbara Lawrence.

“We would love if you could include our most sincere thanks to our true supporters,” said Scott.

There is this unwritten ritual that takes place at many athletic events. Whether it is to beat the mad crowd of hopped-up fans or rescue your car from Pan’s labyrinth, you want to get out before the chaos begins.

For the families that had come from all over to support the lady Quakers, there was no cutting out early.

Despite the possibility of a win slowly slipping away from Guilford, not one person was ready to relinquish their seat. For as long as the clock had time left on it, there was hope.

Amir Johnson, first-year forward Ymani Breedlove’s little brother, yells encouraging words to his big sister, while simultaneously alerting the referee that he had missed an obvious “charge” call that should have been made on EMU.

The way the other supporters started screaming had me scanning the bleachers to ensure there were still just a little over 10 of us there. Their enthusiasm was contagious. If I was not so self-conscious, I think I would have stood up and began shouting for our ladies myself.

Instead, I wondered how loud the screams would be if we were at a home and the sea of blue and white that devoured our burgundy was vice versa.

However, what I will not do is take away from the support that our women’s basketball team has that is not always seen. Empty seats do not always mean a lack of support.

While the 30 seconds on the game clock is drawn out for 30 minutes, I recall my experiences with the team over the past week.

The ladies lose to EMU by seven points.

I sneak out to the lobby to charge my phone before the long ride home and take the opportunity to watch the crowd disperse. While the home team’s fans were filing out in a mad dash, the lone Guilford supporters hang around waiting to catch a glimpse of their lady warriors.

I watched these women hold their ground when the odds were against them. Stands with very few friendly faces in the crowd, a team who tried intimidating tactics during pre-game warm-up, a few bad calls that even a child could see and a long bus ride through some mountains that was murder on one’s ears.

I wanted to know what support looked like to the lady Quakers, and instead, I think they redefined the meaning of support for me.

Support can be this fluid entity that does not need to be defined by numbers. There is no mass to it, and no violins playing in the background due to its lack of fullness. Because only true support does what it is intended to do when its source is unwavering.

Just in case you live underneath a rock, our Quaker women currently stand at 16-3 overall, with a 10-2 Old Dominion Athletic Conference record and currently tied for first in the ODAC.

“Bow down.”

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About the Contributor
Naari Honor, Web Editor

English and Psychology Major, African American Studies Minor

When she is not warding off web gremlins, she enjoys writing for the Guilfordian, developing her amateur photography skills and freelancing around town. Naari listens to vinyl because it sounds better and always knew that narwhals existed before it appeared on the internet. Sports is her favorite section to write for, however, she is truly digging learning the inner workings of social media marketing and web design.

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