March 12, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - Welcome to Covington's Corner - an inside look at the Wisconsin women's basketball team by senior Anya Covington. In her final blog, Covington writes about the surprise the underclassmen gave the seniors on the day before their final home game.
Hello Badger Fans,
To whom much is given, much is expected/ required. But how great are we really without the support, advise, love and constructive criticism of others?
As a senior, you just try and make your young teammates feel at home, unite the team and lead in every facet of life. But when you’re younger teammates step up and show you how much they appreciate you, it makes the heart fill with unexplainable joy.
Our Feb. 26 game vs. Illinois was Senior Night but that whole weekend was filled with moments of appreciation that will forever be dear and near to my heart.
Due to the transition of new coaches, our team had no clue how senior night formality would proceed. So our younger teammates took it upon themselves to bless us with their own creative master plan.
After our Saturday practice, all of the seniors went about our usual “old women” rituals. Me off to rehab for multiple parts of my body, Ashley off to the cold tub and Jade taking her time at whatever she was planning to do. But our ritual was broken!
Coach Kyle summoned the seniors up to her office to ask us pertinent information for recruiting purposes. We took this seriously and gave the most insightful information from our past experience as possible.
Well, let it be known that this was just a distraction planned by our fellow teammates to allow time for them to plant piles of luxurious gifts throughout the Kohl Center.
So when the mock interview was over, we three seniors kept reminiscing about former summers filled with hilarious stories, former teammates that left permanent imprints on our lives, and how time just sped up during these past four years.
Little did we know that as soon as we stepped off the elevator the Senior Day Scavenger Hunt would begin. Two young Badger players guided us through the oh-so-familiar hallway to the locker room, which got all of us seniors in an uproar and expressing our seniority of ‘knowing where the locker room is’ to ‘What is going on?’.
There in the film portion of our locker room laid three huge bags. They perfectly matched the personal taste of each senior so we all naturally gravitated to the bag of our liking - Ashley to the bright hot pink one, me to the brown bag with royal purple ribbon and Jade to the polka-dotted rainbow colored bag.
The bags were empty!
But there was a clue, which led us to the next spot of fun-filled wonderment as we received huge stacks of our favorite foods and snacks. As we covered the whole Kohl Center grounds, uncovering clues and coming near tears at every unveiled treasure find, I knew it was all worth it. The hours spent running sprints in the morning, in practice and in the summers, the adversity of a rough season, the time and attention spent helping and caring for these beautiful women.
On that day, seeing the untainted joy that filled my younger teammate’s faces made every scratch, burn and rolled ankle necessary because we developed a bond so intensely tight that no pain in the world could diminish our efforts to love one another. I mean these ladies just knew us seniors so well!
We would walk up to a pile of goodies and just know whose stack that it was for without name tags or clues. I wouldn’t trade another Senior Day Scavenger Hunt for anything else, because as we waltzed back to the locker room with our valuables on our bodies or in our hands spilling out of bags, we all understood the real treasure of the moment. The memories we made together, the family that we formed and the alliance we attained by being here and a part of this community of Madison and Badger-land.
Then as if that wasn’t enough, our younger teammates went out there on game day and left their hearts on the court - Morgan registering 29 points and breaking the free throw attempt records, Cassie snatching down boards, Lindsey getting the ball to Taylor for her step-back jumper. What else could be said except we won the game! Everyone playing like it was the last game of their careers.
And if that wasn’t enough they made us seniors dinner the next night! How precious!
And to my fellow seniors, what a way to establish a culture of hard work, of pushing through despite the odds and holding your heads up despite the outcome. In everything there is a purpose, even if that purpose is not revealed instantly.
Stay posted Badger Fans and thank you from the bottom of my heart for uplifting this team, these seniors and this staff throughout the entire season.