AYA league practices the art of giving
NATCHEZ — Something as simple as a conversation between a mother and daughter can transform a mild gesture into a grand one.
After witnessing Heidi Zimmerman, a player from another fifth- and sixth-grade AYA team, suffer through a tragedy such as her house burning, Julia Richardson asked her mother Tanya Richardson what could be done.
“I said, ‘Well, you know there are a number of things we could do,” Tanya said. “For these young girls, it resonates when you get them to think about what a person has lost. I asked her, ‘Can you name everything in your room,’ and the answer is probably not.”
In the final game of the AYA season, two weeks after Zimmerman’s house burned down, the league presented the Zimmerman family with a check close to $1,200. The idea to help the family was shared by many, as people like Dr. Lee Falkenheiner were touched by Zimmerman’s loss.
“I went up to some of the coaches and said we have to do something,” Falkenheiner said. “But other people were already talking about it. And it all spread through word of mouth.”
Falkenheiner prayed with Zimmerman’s coach Missy Spear after he heard about the unfortunate situation, adamant that everyone must help.
But there’s a difference between people having the idea to help and people doing the footwork necessary to accomplish that idea, Tanya attested. That was what her daughter Julia got in motion.
“The next thing I know, she had talked to her team about it, and she was asking me to talk to the other coaches,” Tanya said. “By the time I’m thinking we may get a $100 gift card, the next thing I know we have close to $1,200.”
Spear said she handed the money to Heidi’s grandfather, Billy Zimmerman, before her team took the court in the season finale.
“He was just so gracious and overly thankful,” Spear said. “I can’t believe the outpouring.”
Rashonae Rice goes for a layup in a game earlier this season. Rice is a senior member of the Lady... read more