The Xavier Womens' Basketball team will open their season on Novermber 14th at 1 PM against Evansville. All of that was information that, on the surface, is probably not interesting to anyone except for Xavier basketball fans (I don't think Evansville has any fans). What makes this a story is that it will be game one of a doubleheader played in honor of former Mount St. Joseph player Lauren Hill who inspired millions as she pursued her dream of playing college basketball despite an inoperable brain tumor which would eventually take away her ability to play the game she loved and, in the end, her life.
Becoming a household name by excelling at basketball, while uncommon, is something that is familiar to basically anyone who has ever hoisted shots in their driveway while simultaneously commentating their own exploits in reverent tones. For certain players, that becomes a reality on a yearly basis as the media and coaches praise individuals with awards and honors for their basketball skill. So often we label players who rise to those challenges as heroes. Whether it is a season of constant excellence, a great performance against a bitter rival, or simply making a dramatic play to win a game, we often watch basketball hoping to see someone do something heroic.
What Lauren faced was something else entirely. She faced a battle for her life where she looked a debilitating disease that doctors proclaimed she could not beat in the face, and refused to lay down without a fight. Her grace, determination, and poise throughout the heartbreak of seeing her life fade away was something we can all aspire to. When face with the story of Lauren Hill, we all can see that the character of someone worthy to be honored came to the fore in her darkest moments, with or without basketball. Most of us will never be heroes in the basketball sense because we don't have the natural ability to do so. Lauren showed us that real heroism is standing up in the face of adversity and continuing to put your best foot forward, no matter the circumstances. It is only fitting that as Xavier Basketball launches another campaign for accolades and awards, it honors Lauren Hill: a real hero who happened to play college basketball.