Women's Basketball - Mon, Nov. 24, 2008
Jackson, Tenn. - As good as Thursday night's 55-54 upset win over No. 3 ranked Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) felt, the Saint Xavier University women's basketball team may have received its biggest victory early Friday morning. As part of its agreement for participating in this year's Jackson Rotary Classic at Union University (Tenn.), the No. 13 ranked Cougars spent an hour visiting disabled workers at the Madison-Haywood Developmental Services (MHDS) facility in Jackson, Tenn. There were plenty of smiles on the faces of both players and workers alike as the team made its way through the facility taking time to shake hands, converse and take pictures.
"This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone on our team, especially the new players, to see that there is sometimes more to going on road trips than just playing basketball," said former SXU standout and current assistant coach Jackie Heine. "It was nice to break away from the travel routine and do something positive in the Jackson community."
It was clear by the end of the visit that both parties would gain some lasting memories. At one point, one of the workers lined up all the Saint Xavier players and led them in a dance while singing one of his favorite songs. Everyone in the room cheered upon completion of the quickly choreographed routine. Cougar coaches and players were also able to capture a host of memories on their digital cameras with many of the workers taking a break from their duties to grab a quick photo opportunity with the Cougars. One worker named Gloria even had on a Chicago T-shirt, a detail that did not escape the eyes of sophomore forward Maureen Downs (Chicago, Ill./Loyola University/Marist). In the end, the true beauty of the visit was how it affected everyone involved, particularly freshman forward Brittany Jones (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew).
"As much as I feel like it was a positive experience for the workers that we visited, it was just as meaningful an experience for our team," said Jones, who is making her first multi-day road trip with Saint Xavier University. "I truly believe this visit brought us closer together as a team and that is a positive so early in the season."
MHDS is a private, non-profit agency dedicated to serving residents of Tennessee with disabilities. Our goal is to provide opportunities for independence through an array of community program choices. From simple to complex, MHDS assists people with disabilities by helping them acquire new skills, access services and contribute to their home communities.