Support of team shows character

We have witnessed this past week the outpouring of support from the community for the loss of life. In the blink of an eye, in the span of less than 24-hours, we lost three teenagers in Hancock County and two parents and a small child in Columbiana County.

From the thoughts and prayers sent via social media to the planned benefits for those lost, the community has bonded.

It’s a testament of the type of people we have around us throughout our small, but tight-knit, section of this huge world.

No truer is that statement than what took place prior to Thursday night’s Oak Glen-Weir high school girls’ basketball game.

This is one of those rivalry games. It pits two neighboring schools that both fall under the umbrella of the Hancock County School System. This is the game these student-athletes circle on the calendar. It’s that one game that every member of both teams wants to win.

And it doesn’t matter the sport. A victory against your rival provides the best of feelings.

But on Thursday, it was a bit different. This was the first time that Oak Glen participated in an athletic event since three of its own – juniors Kristyn Butcher and Kaylin Rice and sophomore John Emmett Snow III -died in an auto accident last weekend.

Prior to the game, members and staff of both teams met at halfcourt, sharing in a moment of remembrance for the loss of their friends, teammates, fellow students.

“This has been real tough on us as a team and community,” Oak Glen senior Vanessa Hissam would say. “All of us are hurting, but I think this helped a little bit. We’re here for each other and that means a lot.”

In a show of support, the student-athletes from Weir High presented their counterparts with wristbands made in memory of the three OGHS teens who died. The black wristbands pictured a golden Bear claw with a heart in the middle and “2014” inside the heart. Both teams wore the bands during the game.

The Lady Bears won the game, 59-33, behind Hissam’s game-high 14 points, but the real winners were members of both teams. They brushed aside the rivalry and shared together in remembering Butcher, Rice and Snow.

And it showed us that life is bigger than any one game.