Present Through The Pain


Susie Safi

Injured junior Sophie Delaney slaps hands with junior Gracie Stugart during introductions of the team’s 55-54 victory over Lutheran St. Charles on Dec. 6.

Sitting on the bench. Watching their teammates both struggle and dominate on the court. Watching the gleam of adrenaline they remember so clearly come off the girls with every shot taken and pass made. The sweat trickling down their foreheads is a reminder of the sport they yearn to be able to play again. Still supporting their teammates and cheering them on on the sidelines even though they would rather be able to play alongside them. This is the reality for the three girls who tore their ACL before the girls basketball season started. They won’t be able to experience the sheer joy of playing with their team this season, but with that pain comes an even greater presence. These girls are able to play a special role in supporting their team. This role allows them to feel like they are still apart of a family and allows them to impact girls both on and off the court.

This team is able to share an especially close bond throughout this season because of the support they get from, and give to, the three girls who tore their ACL’s and are unable to play alongside their teammates this season. The strong presence the injured players are still able to bring to the team, despite being unable to play officially, is one of the reasons the girls get along so well and truly thrive as a team. One of the three girls who tore their ACL, senior Joslynn Morelli still feels like the injured girls have importance on the team, despite their absence on the court.

“We go to every practice and game and cheer them on… all of the expectations are the same as if [we] were on the court [we’re] just not,” Morelli said.

Though many teams may look at this as a setback that has only negative impacts, the girls believe the bond it has created will continue to have a positive impact throughout this entire season on and off the court. Another one of the three girls who tore their ACL, junior Sophie Delaney, believes the team is taking this setback and bettering themselves through it.

“Our team is working to a point where we are learning to fix up those missing patches and put everything back together… we are trying to keep a positive atmosphere through it as well,” Delaney said.

Although the injured girls may not get to play on the court, they still play a large role in the success of the team. They play an especially important role in encouraging and lifting up the girls. Junior Gracie Stugart believes the vocal aspect the girls bring to every game and practice contributes a large amount to the success of the team as a whole.

“They are still vocal leaders and encourage and support [us] even if they can’t play a role on the court,” Stugart said.

Another component the injured girls are able to bring to the team is helping them get better at the positions they would normally play, as well as acting as their second set of eyes on the court. While the team may lack in the positions the injured girls are no longer able to play, they compensate by stepping up and teaching the other girls ways to become better at the positions they can no longer fill. 

This is especially important when it comes to the younger girls that are stepping up from JV and C-team to fill the positions that are lacking players. The injured girls are able to help them significantly since this is a new and frightening experience for them. Another one of the girls who tore their ACL, Senior Aria Lynch, believes this component contributes to bettering the team through the significant loss of players.

  “If it is a position I used to play, I will give them suggestions and help them out … especially if they are new players coming up from JV or C-team and this is a new experience for them,” Lynch said.

As well as spreading their knowledge and skills to the other girls, they also act as a second set of eyes on the court. On the sidelines they vocally help the girls see the parts of the court they cannot see while caught up in the game. 

“I play the part of telling them where to go… like if someone [on the other team] is creeping up behind them I will tell them to watch out,” Lynch said.

The team is able to give them back the same amount of support they get in regards to the surgeries, therapy, and trauma that come with their injuries. The support system this has created for both the players on and off the court has generated an environment where the girls feel like they are part of a true family.

“We’re here for [our team], we’re here to help [them] and support them in exchange for the support they give us back when we need it… this has honestly created a stronger bond between all of us, ” Delaney said.