GOOD SPORT: Courage is showing up when it seems hardest


Robin Franklin

For their mom– Senior Caden Cottrell embraces his sister, freshman basketball court attendant Logan Cottrell, after the Indian basketball game on Jan. 29. Their mother passed away two days earlier from cancer.

Having the will to compete despite losing a loved one takes a special kind of courage. Senior Caden Cottrell showed this kind of courage when he played basketball on Jan. 29, just two days after his mother’s passing.

  Thinking about competing and being at your best when you feel like you’re at your worst isn’t a remotely easy. It takes a person who can rise above adversity.

  When Kobe Bryant died at the start of 2020, a lot of NBA players couldn’t bring themselves to play that day. Those who did felt like it wasn’t right to be playing basketball right after a moment like that. It takes courage to step on the court in front of thousands of people and play as if it’s just a regular day.

  In 2017 then Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas played in the first round of the play offs one day after the heartbreak of losing his sister Chyna to a car accident.

  Thomas showed that instead of being consumed by the tragedy, he could show up and do his job. He scored 33 points that night and dedicated his performance to his sister. Even though they lost that game, Thomas helped the Celtics to win the series over the Chicago Bulls. This isn’t where Thomas’s courage ended.

  In the second round of the 2017 playoffs, the Celtics played the Washington Wizards. The second game of the series fell on the day that would’ve been Chyna’s 23rd birthday. Thomas had 53 points and helped the Celtics have a 2-0 lead over the Wizards.

  Afterward, Thomas told the media, “My family, my friends, they tell me to just keep going. My sister wouldn’t want me to stop. The only thing about it is once I leave this gym, I hit reality, and she’s not here. That’s the tough part. When I’m in this arena, I can lock in and I know everything I do is for her.” 

  The thing that drives Thomas to play better is his sister. To take her loss and use that to his advantage is pure courage.

  What Caden did on Jan. 29 was the same kind of courage. He not only played the game, but also supported his sister, freshman Logan Cottrell, as an attendant on the basketball court. Instead of being in the locker room at halftime, he stood in the gym and cheered his sister on. He knew what his mom would have wanted him to do, and he had the courage to do it.