While many students may take the support of the community for granted, Murray State student-athletes are taking notice.
The women’s basketball team has recently returned the support in a big way.
“We think it’s very important for (our student-athletes) to give back to the community,” Coach Rob Cross said. “So (the community) can take advantage of what Murray State has to offer.”
The team of athletes and coaches understand how much the people of Murray give to the school.
Junior guard Mariah Robinson said she received support from her church.
“Usually I don’t know the people personally but they know me because I play and they just seem so supportive and always say if we need anything as a team to just call,” she said.
Senior guard Mallory Schwab said she received support in the most unlikely of places.
“I was just in the store the other day and this gentleman came up and said ‘play hard this year,’ which shows people’s encouragement and support for us,” she said. “It’s definitely a good feeling.”
While the team has certainly felt the support from the community, it has also taken the action to repay the community in a big way.
On Aug. 20, the team went to St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Murray to help with their Back to School Bash and get local kids excited for school.
The team helped with face painting, made snow cones and participated in fun activities with local kids such as playing with water slides, inflatables and corn hole.
This event was especially important to Cross, he said,
“It’s important for all of our student athletes to get out in the public so those kids can see a positive role model,” Cross said.
In addition to the service with local kids, Robinson said she is looking forward to the team’s annual trip to a local nursing home where they will play bingo and socialize with the residents.
As the season progresses, the team also plans to visit elementary schools and the hospital..
Cross strongly emphasizes the importance of building relationships within the team and coordinates many other team activities throughout the season, apart from just service projects.
“We’re all really competitive and when we would see each other at the check points we’d all start running so we could get done quicker,” Robinson said.
Her group won a recent team scavenger hunt and Robinson said she remembers fun times with her teammates such as team dinners, movies and hanging out at each other’s apartments.
Schwab remembers fun times as well.
“This chemistry we build off the court helps on the court also with trusting one another and knowing what people can do,” she said.
Whether it’s helping out in the community or eating dinner and watching a movie together, Schwab and Robinson clearly buy into Cross’ philosophy of building a strong sense of comradery, as evidenced by their stories and friendships with teammates.
Cross and the players agree that the culture at Murray State can often be dominated by football and men’s basketball. However, these athletes said they feel appreciated and supported by their community. In turn, Cross said he strives to have his players be positive role models for the local kids in Murray.