Amazingly enough Ellen was ready to coach again in the fall of 2010. With the help of Dan and Jodie doing all of the heavy lifting at open gyms and summer workouts the Cavaliers were ready to resume play. First on the agenda, Jam the Gym 4 Jaime.
I'm not sure about everyone else, so I will only speak for myself when I say I totally underestimated what Jam the Gym would come to symbolize to us, and to our community. For different reasons every Jam the Gym would mean something new. Jam the Gym 4 Jaime, our very first effort, would be emotional because we were all so concerned for our friend. She was in Children's Hospital at the time, preparing for her marrow transplant. She was vulnerable because her immune system was compromised from the treatment regimen. Luckily, through the wizardry of the terrific Tech. Department at Kiski, Jaime spent the night with us, projected on the gym wall, twenty feet off the court. She could see us too, as she was "Skyped" in.
It was nice that those who turned out for the match could see and meet the person it was all for, and many did come out!
900 fans came to the first Jam the Gym, lured in by the incredible story of these two courageous coaches. My favorite moment of the evening was introducing the teams who traveled to Kiski to join us. They rimmed the court during the national anthem, and stayed for the match, enjoying the come from behind the Kiski kids pulled off on section rival Penn Trafford. We also raise $14,000 for Jaime's care, more than any of us could dare to dream possible.
Afterword, Jaime told me how proud she was of us all, and that she wanted to be in the gym for the next one. She said maybe next year we could do something special for someone else who needed it. Jam the Gym was going to be a yearly match. It would come to symbolize many things.
Jam the Gym 4 Jaime symbolized the hope we have, that despite long odds, we have to get up, do something positive, and believe.
We were knocked down, we arose, we moved forward, we got knocked down again, and, undaunted, arose again. This team, these coaches, this community of support, would not stop believing. There was more to the "story" than cancer. I discussed this with the team on a few occasions. The world watches you, and they are expecting something special. They must have been listening, special is exactly what they delivered.