When I was a sophomore in high school our basketball team made a good run into tournaments landing us in the elite eight final games.
This had been the first time since 1970’s that any Rittman basketball team had made it that far in the tournaments, everyone in our town was excited for us and came to cheer us on. On the day of our tournament game we had a pep rally at the High School, everyone in town was invited, families, friends, anyone who wanted to come support us in this huge game. The sound of the cheers echoed through the halls like yodelers shouting off of mountain tops.During the pep rally the cheerleaders did many cheers and everyone in the gym joined in on them, making the hairs stand up on each and everyone’s necks. After the pep rally it was time to get on the bus and head to Canton for our game. The parents of all us basketball players decorated the bus with red, black and white ribbons and shiny balloons.
Everyone in town followed the bus to the game screaming and yelling out their car windows. The sound of loud honking spread throughout the whole town as we headed off to the game.When we arrived at the gymnasium everyone was so excited to get dressed and warm up on the big court. When I stepped out onto the floor I just stopped and took a look around to take it all in.
I could smell the most buttery salty popcorn you could imagine lingering through the air. I could hear the sound of cheering and laughing from end to end of the court coming from all the fans. Everywhere I looked I saw the most vibrant colors of red spread out across the bleachers, fans from my hometown coming to show their support.It was so close to game time I could feel the rush going over my body, sweating heavily and anxious to get that first bucket.
When the game started it was the most amazing feeling that I have ever felt. The sound in the gym reminded me of standing right next to a train it was so loud. When you were on one end of the court all you heard was “LETS GO RITTMAN”, the other end “LETS GO HILAND”. I had goosebumps for the first 5 minutes of the game because everything around me was so amazing.When you took a second to look into the stands during the game it looked as if fireworks were going off because of all the white shiny flashes of pictures being taken.
When the loud buzzer went off at the end of the fourth quarter my biggest goal in High School was shot down the drain. We lost the biggest basketball game that any of us had ever played. After the game there was a trophy ceremony, our whole team stood in a circle and held each other, everyone was crying and sniffling, big clear watery tears fell off each of our faces making a small puddle on the floor.When we got our trophy for one moment I saw a big bright smile cross everyone’s faces but it didn’t last long, soon enough the long, angry faces were back and our heads hit the floor. Even though our basketball team did not win the elite eight championship game, we still had to feel good for making it that far.
It was an accomplishment that had not been made in Rittman basketball history in quite some years and everyone in the town was very happy because we put Rittman’s name for basketball back on the map.