Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to announce the women’s basketball games on the radio as well as cover them for The Quad as a columnist. I have had the distinct pleasure of spending two years doing color commentary for them and one full season as the play by play man.I have become friends with them and they have given me memories that I will cherish forever. I had the luxury to call three years of the PSAC playoffs. In every season, a bit more had been accomplished. My first season, I saw a group of 15 young women led by Dominique Lewis and Katie Kline march to an improbable playoff run despite falling to arch-rival Millersville in round one.
The next year, captain Catherine Andrews and company took their game all the way to IUP. I sat in the color commentary seat and watched them win an emotional game against the Cheyney Wolves on a Tuesday before bowing out to IUP that Friday night.
But this year was by far the greatest one yet. Led by returning senior and emotional floor leader, Dana Weems, and co-captains Janelle Garber and Natalie Winters (despite Winters being injured) I saw the girls win their division and host the PSAC final four. However, the best moment of the season may have come at Millersville when they won a double overtime thriller.
I have seen them win with arms held high in the air with triumph. I have seen emotion come through in the form of high fives that had a bit of swagger attached to them. I saw them go through tough times on the court. I saw seniors leave. I saw freshman arrive. I saw upsets. I saw game winning baskets as time expired.
There is not much I was not given the opportunity to see. Despite not ever getting to announce it, I wish only the best for the girls in the seasons to come as they march toward that elusive PSAC championship.
The losses stung the players and me. But the worst part of all of this is clearly having to say goodbye. I send my sincere thanks to head coach Deirdre Kane and her assistants, Keira Wooden and Lindsay Wilson for their support and hospitality on road trips. Thank you to the players for their countless efforts on the court. They are great basketball players. But they are even better people. They shared their thoughts after a game in a press conference. They took time out of their day to speak with me to give me quotes for a column I was writing. For all of that I thank them.
So as I prepare to say goodbye to something that has been a huge part of my life and arguably the greatest part of my college experience, I want to leave a message behind. For those who have never been to a women’s basketball game, go to one. These girls do not get the support they deserve. They are a great bunch of athletes and people. Show them you care about your peers and the efforts they show on the hardwood. Bleed purple and gold for them. Cheer them on. Do it all for them.
Despite not being on the radio for them anymore, I will remain their biggest and most loyal fan. I promise to be in the stands supporting them for years to come. I am saying goodbye to an experience of a lifetime but not saying goodbye to the people that I have met over the years. So to the Lady Rams: chop wood, get hongry, and keep reppin’ the dub. I will see you from the stands in only eight short months.
Mike Heiman is a fourth-year student majoring in elementary education with a minor in literacy. He can be reached at MH606613@wcupa.edu.