Dear Student Athlete…


Brittany Hively

Ben Hively posed with Herd men’s basketball player Jannson Williams after a basketball game at the Cam Henderson Center.

Recently, my 6-year-old Ben and I attended our first Marshall basketball game. Well actually, it was our first basketball game ever. 

My son had the time of his life. He met his favorite player and decided that he wants to pursue basketball. 

My son who hates crowds, unknown situations and chaos was standing on the sidelines watching the team practice. He yelled, more like boo-ed, with the crowd at bad calls and screamed out of excitement when the team scored. 

After the game, the team pulled out tables and signed autograph after autograph on free posters. These players who just played an intense game into overtime were making sure to meet their fans. 

And Ben loved it. He was running around meeting and talking with players. And while he still mostly hid from the camera, he had to have a picture with Jannson Williams because he is a diehard fan of #3. Jannson picked him up over the table, let him sit with the team and taught him the Herd hand symbol. 

And I will never forget the trip home when my son who hates crowds, unknown situations and chaos excitedly said, “Mommy, this was the best day ever! I can’t believe Jannson picked me up over the table! Can we please go to every single game forever? Can I play basketball for Marshall one day?”

So, dear student athlete,

I will never say that you have it easy. 

I will never pretend to know how much you are balancing on your plate. 

I know that at times you may not know how you are going to make it to the next day and it may seem like you’re just a money maker or entertainment and nothing else. 

But please remember that you are so much more. 

You are making an impact on so many lives. 

You are making people’s nights by getting to watch you play. 

You are showing people that dreams can come true. 

You are showing people that hard work pays off. 

You are inspiring kids to start new things. 

You are giving kids memories of a lifetime and encouraging them to dream simply by working hard and signing your name over and over after playing your heart out. 

You are a role model. 

So, when it gets tough because you feel like you are just a student athlete and you want to quit, remember you are so much more than just a student athlete and the world is thankful for what you do. 

Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected].