What have I learned from Lauren Hill?
The game of basketball is a backdrop to a more important message. However isn’t that what basketball is supposed to be for those that play?
Here are few things Lauren Hill shared and I gleaned in the moments I had with her:
Speak for those that can’t speak for themselves. Help those that can’t help themselves. She knew she was the voice for the DIPG Cancer patients that were young, elementary school age children that didn’t understand what was happening to them or couldn’t communicate. She was the voice, the face, the body for those in need to raise awareness of a terrible, incurable disease.
Live in the moment and live where your feet and seat are planted. How often do we worry about things not in our control? I worry too often. It reminded me of a saying by Coach Kay Yow: worry and worship cannot co-exist. Lauren gave me clarity in the moment. It is important to be with and surround yourself with people that lift you.
Find a blessing in everything and everybody. Lauren died of an incurable brain cancer. Yet, she felt blessed to find the strength to fight and give hope to other families and caregivers that continue to fight. She led by example. In dying, she made the most of her time living.
Crying is ok. We all have moments. Perk up and don’t stay down too long. You may be needed for the next task.
She’s not an object of inspiration, she is just Lauren. She led her way. Lauren was motivated, goal driven, passionate about making a difference and she fought like hell to make this earth better for someone else. She gave her body and mind to science. Lauren had unique and special qualities. God decided she was strong enough to teach others. She was chosen for something she did right, not something she did wrong. She left an unforgettable vision.
Finish the task. Set a goal and see if thru. That’s what Lauren decided to do. Score in a college basketball game, raise $1Million and raise awareness about DIPG.
She didn’t admire any particular basketball player or athlete. There was no star power from any athlete that she told me. Lauren enjoyed every game. Lauren played without looking at the scoreboard and told me after many high school games, she didn’t know the score, only the outcome because she loved to compete.
Help others who are battling. Make a difference for another human being.
Start a change. If you are passionate and driven, be the change. If one vote matters, so does one change.
It is ok to help someone’s dream come true. If you can help, serve the cause.
Why me? We all have challenges to face, obstacles to tackle. I’m not asking this question anymore. I have learned to say thank you for the many blessings I have been given. My Grandmother always said, “If you throw your troubles in a hat, you better hope you pick your own back out.” True.
Lauren Hill is my definition of Amazing Grace . . . amazing in her bravery, fortitude, spirit. During the telecast on November 2, 2014, I found myself mesmerized by her smile, her fight, her selflessness. So young, so wise.
I started my season at Xavier University in Cincinnati on Nov 2, 2014 due to the urging of my friend, Brad Johansen. He asked me to come and help with this cause. By the way, there was a game attached to it. I felt compelled and pulled by Lauren, her family, her story and how much my friend Brad was invested. It was the most difficult game I have ever called. It wasn’t about basketball. The game was the backdrop for Lauren’s message. Help, serve, be a conduit to making someone else’s life better. Throughout the season, I was aware of her accomplishments. The fund raising goal being met and exceeded, playing and scoring in other games, being awarded an honorary doctorate degree etc. . . but the moments of wow, amazing, incredible never left my soul. Lauren will always be a part of my world.
I ended my season in Tampa, April 7, 2015 on the call of the National Championship game. In the first half, I received a text from Lisa, Lauren’s mother letting me know the smile was on her face as she listened to the call on radio from her hospital room. 3 days later on April 10, 2015, she died. I will be forever empowered by her selfless, courageous gifts . . . giving spirit and an everlasting moment in a game of basketball that meant so much to Lauren . . . and meant so much to me.