Play 4Kay game inspirational

Iowa State Athletics

On a night that was special to many, Jadda Buckley and her Iowa State teammates walked away with a big win.

Our coach, Bill Fennelly, told us to fight from the start until the end. And that’s exactly what our team did: We fought Saturday night.

Our Play 4Kay game against Kansas in front of, yet again, another amazing home crowd (a season-high 11,988) was a much-needed victory for our team. With conference play nearing the end, we knew what needed to be executed that night in order for us to walk off the court with a win.

It was a tight game from the tip to the last sounding buzzer. From knocking down 3’s, to hitting jumpers, to getting huge stops on the defensive end, we stuck together for 40 minutes and played hard. Coming off a tough loss against Texas, this win was a big one on such a special night.

Saturday’s Play 4Kay game really made me stop and think about the millions who battle cancer daily, whether it’s them fighting it personally, or maybe a family member, friend, co-worker, coach, teacher, etc. I took a step back, especially when Coach told us to fight out on the court and to finish. I really put into perspective that we had to fight for 40 minutes, doing what we could do best for the team, playing hard, getting stops, all to get the win, while people fight 24/7 every day for their lives.

This night really struck me and made me think about an influential man in my life. My elementary gym teacher, who also was a coach, friend and mentor, was someone close to me while I was growing up back home. From the days of sharing Oreos at lunch to my junior year of high school, before he passed from cancer, we always had a special connection with one another through sports.

He pushed me, motivated me and always supported me. He never gave up fighting. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how such an intelligent, strong, inspirational man could be taken down, but when we shared final words with one another, I came to realize he lived with passion every day, touching so many lives, and living a legacy that was absolutely remarkable. I couldn’t help but think of him on this night and the words, which are always in my mind, that he left me with. He said he would always be there watching and cheering just like he was back in the day. Walking off the court, I knew he was there as we got the win.

We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd Saturday night. With them helping to make Hilton rock, and with our team battling to the end, we walked away smiling with a huge victory on such a special night for many.