They Shoot! They Score! in YMCA League

By J1 Reporter Mary Cate Tabor

High school sports are very competitive and put a lot of pressure on athletes to always win.This winter 12 Marian juniors decided to participate in sports……a little differently in an alternative league. 

One day in Block B study hall period, five juniors came up with the idea of signing up for a recreational basketball league. A few days later they finalized their roster, asked their study hall moderator, Mrs. Rhonda Ronspies to be the coach, and filled out the paperwork. 

The girls were anxious about starting up a team and playing a sport that most of them were not familiar with, considering only three of the team members had any prior Marian basketball experience, but they were up for the challenge.

“I was really nervous at first because I did not know what to expect going into it. I had never really played basketball before, but it sounded like a fun new experience,” team member, junior Mia Suter said.

The team met every Saturday morning from Jan. 25 to March 7 at Lewis and Clark Middle School to play a game and decided to call their team “The Rangers.” Out of all the teams in their YMCA league, they were the only all girls team, but that never stopped them from giving it their all. 

Mrs. Ronspies was there every week to coach, and she watched how the girls grew over the course of the season. “What I truly noticed, over the course of the season, was the bandwagon effect the team had on others.  Marian girls and parents came out in support, which was no surprise. However, to watch the other teams, scorekeepers and even officials, cheer for the team, was a sight to behold. Photo sessions after the games were the perfect display of sportsmanship.  Strangers in the bleachers smiled, laughed and clapped.  Talk about a happy way to start your Saturday!” Ronspies said. 

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“The Rangers” YMCA basketball team and their coach, Mrs. Rhonda Ronspies.  Although their jerseys said “UNO Junior Mavericks,” they were provided by the YMCA.

Mrs. Ronspies helped the girls grow over the course of the season, and she watched them as they became better players. She let them take control and allowed them to play the game how they wanted. Mrs. Ronspies helped with subbing and was supportive of the girls every game. 

“My favorite part of this whole season was all of the new people I met. We became friends with the other players and refs and I enjoyed having people cheer us on every game because it made us all want to try harder,” said junior Bridget Gerards, a team member who was one of the girls who helped get the team started in the beginning.

Winning every game was never the team’s priority, they were all there to have fun. Despite never having practices and most players having little prior experience, they did manage to win a couple of games and went 2-6. “Both games we won were very close in score. When the score started to get close and we all realized we could do it, we gave it everything we had to try to win those games,” junior team member Kelly Kozol said.

“The whole team had a blast all season and it was a fun new challenge. We hope to do it again next year and want other Marian girls to form a team in the league to join in on the fun with us next year,” Gerards said.

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