Inspirational Feature by J1 Reporter Maddie Mingo
“On the baseline!”
Players cringe as these words fill the gym. Lining up, they run from basket to basket, feeling each breath come quicker than the last. Although their breathing comes coarse and their muscles ache, nothing sways these players from achieving their goal. The whole time they received encouraging remarks from their coach. She kept them enthused and inspired to fight until the very end.
The inspirational coach from this story describes Marian’s Head Varsity Basketball Coach, Mrs. Lisa Schmidt. For 16 years Schmidt has pushed her players to reach their fullest potential on and off of the court. As a student athlete herself, she knows that success comes through hard work and strives to prepare her players accordingly.
Schmidt’s student athlete career began in the fourth grade when her dad set up a basketball hoop for their driveway. “I remember playing with that hoop a lot!” Schmidt recalled. “I think there was even one night when I took my basketball to bed with me because I wanted to keep playing.”
Of the sports she played, basketball won Schmidt’s heart. She ran track in middle school, but her love for basketball surpassed her liking for track. In high school, she only played basketball.
“Where I went to school, most of the other girls were three sport athletes. They played volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and track in the spring. My dad wanted me to play volleyball but I never liked that you had stand on one side of the net and wait for the ball to come to you,” Schmidt said.
Even though her dad tried to push her towards volleyball, he inspired Schmidt to work hard and become the best basketball player she could be. “He would spend hours helping me work on moves in the gym,” Schmidt said. These hours of perseverance enabled Schmidt to play basketball all through high school and even a year in college at Wayne State.
Now a coach, Schmidt strives to inspire her players in a similar way to how her dad and high school coach inspired her. “My coach in high school would put posters and quotes on our lockers before games, so at our Marian practices I try to start off with a quote of the day,” Schmidt said.
Some examples of her quotes include: “Life’s blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm,” by Norman Vincent Peale and “A true teammate knows it’s not about being better than one another, but making one another better,” by Alan Stein.
The work that Schmidt puts in to helping her team does not go unnoticed. As senior player Holly Banark puts it, “Schmidt is always putting others before herself and is fully invested in the team. She puts in countless hours on and off the court, and wants her players to not only play their best each and every game, but view each game as an opportunity to grow.”
While Schmidt inspires the basketball team, she also motivates Cross Country runners as an assistant coach, and students as a math teacher. Schmidt teaches Calculus, Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry, and Statistics courses. In class, she strives to help her students make the most out of math. “I try to keep things realistic for them,” Schmidt said, “In math it really comes down to instilling confidence and that comes from hard work.”
Even the inspiring can feel inspired. Schmidt said that she cannot think of any one person that inspires her, but she can think of a place: Marian. “Students here inspire me everyday, and there are so many teachers who work really hard to raise the bar,” Schmidt said.
As a teacher and coach, Schmidt takes on the role of inspiring others. Through the eyes of those who know her, she does a phenomenal job.