ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — The men’s basketball team at
St. Bonaventure University lost its first-round game in the College
Basketball Invitational tournament last week, but not before winning
the heart of 91-year-old Olean resident Nora Chambers.
Not that any courting was necessary.
been faithfully attending games since the 1930s and has been a season
ticket holder for as long as anyone can remember,” said her niece, Jean
Abdo. “She’s missed only four or five games during that time and one
absence was when her mother passed away.”
Abdo and her husband,
Paul, regularly attend Bonnies home games with their aunt, and as this
season drew to a close they thought it would be nice if she could meet
some of the players she cheers on from the red seats in the Reilly
|St. Bonaventure University basketball players Michael Davenport (left)
and Andrew Nicholson pose for a photo with Olean’s Nora Chambers. |
“Thanks to the kindness of Coach Mark Schmidt and
his wife, Anita, Nora was invited to meet the team she so passionately
follows,” said Abdo.
So on Monday, March 14, as the Bonnies
were preparing for their first postseason tournament appearance since
the 2001-02 season, the team opened their gym, and their hearts, to
“The members of the team were so kind to her,” said her
niece. “They held her hand, gave her hugs, posed for pictures, listened
to her stories of Bonaventure teams from the past, and even took her
well-intentioned advice on what they needed to do to improve. She knew
every single one of them, knew how each one played,
and each and every member of that team went out of his way to spend
some time with her, to make her feel special.”
It didn’t seem to
matter that the visit took place as the team was preparing to practice
for one of the program’s biggest games in nearly 10 years.
were getting ready for practice, but they took the time,” said Abdo.
“And they made her day. It’s an experience that Nora will always
Abdo sent a note to Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F.,
university president, commending Coach Schmidt and his team for their
kindness and generosity.
“I wanted to let you know what a
wonderful group of young men are on that team,” Abdo wrote. “They could
not have been better representatives of the university.”
The Bonnies lost their opening-round game to the University of Central Florida, ending their season.
“We may have lost the tournament game,” said Sr. Margaret, “but we ended with a winning record of kindness.”
the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan
values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St.
Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and
creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and
innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others,
and the diverse world around them. No wonder U.S. News and World Report
has for years considered us a “Great School at a Great Price.”