Over the span of my thirty one years of life, I consider myself to be a very blessed person. I have a loving God, wonderful husband, two beautiful children, an amazing extended family, church family, and friends. I am educated, I love my profession, and I have a job that I enjoy. Upon thinking about all of these things, one of the blessings that I am most thankful for is my hometown, the place where I grew up, and where my roots are firmly embedded.
I'm sure when most people talk about their hometown, they feel a sense of pride and nostalgia. It has a place in their hearts, it is special, it is home. To some people Borden, Indiana is nothing more than a small dot, that doesn't even make some maps. A town that consists of a caution light, one gas station, churches on every end of town, and most recently a coffee shop and a Subway (which is a big deal). Our school is one building, consisting of students K-12. People make the joke that if you blink when driving through town, you'll miss it! This weekend our Boys Varsity Basketball team will make history, and will be playing in their first ever State Finals Championship game. What most don't understand is that this weekend is about so much more than a basketball game.
Borden is a community that usually only makes the news when tragedy strikes. Whether it be an accident on Hwy 60 that intersects town, or tornadoes that have now affected our community for a third time, you rarely hear the good news about how wonderful this little farm town in the valley really is.
My roots go back multiple generations. My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents have all called Borden home. My Grandmother had either a child or grandchild in the Borden school for 50 years straight. This is just one family, and there are many, many more. It is a community that loves thy neighbor in every sense. Last year when the tornado of March 2nd hit Daisy Hill, the community came together and helped those who were affected. The Boy's Basketball team even helped with the clean up. That is who we are, and that is what we do. We love our school too.
I can remember in elementary school saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning before class started. I think of teachers like Jo Ann Wright, where we would sing every day before class, even sing a special song about Borden, Indiana that she wrote. Mrs. Wynn, she not only taught me, but she taught my parents too, as did so many other teachers. Whether we sat in the pews next to them on Sunday morning, were friends with their own children, or they were our coaches , our teachers cared for each and every single one of us. Only now do I realize how wonderful that was, having to send my children to a school where I don't know who is influencing them. It is very scary for me, and I long to have the feeling of community that I once had growing up in Borden and attending school there.
I have lived in other places, and have traveled far and wide, and I can honestly say that there is no place like home. On any given Friday night during basketball season, a town with a population of 800 will fill a gym that seats 2000 almost to capacity to watch a ball game. There is nothing better than watching the team roll into town accompanied by the fire truck after winning the big game, with a caravan of fans following in their cars, and people standing on their porches waving. It isn't just something written for the Hollywood movie, "Hoosiers", it is a way of life here. My grandpa said it best when he told us that he had been many places, but no place was better than the bottom of Daisy Hill. Living in Louisville, I choose to drive 30 miles each Sunday morning, passing many churches along the way, just to go to my little country church that I grew up in, and that my parents and grandparents grew up in as well. It is important that even though we don't physically live in the community because of circumstances beyond control, that my kids still feel at home there, and that the roots continue to grow deep in their hearts as well.
Whether you are a transplant, or whether you have shopped at Brewer's and Randall Martin's store, there is no better place. Whether you picked berries on the hill for a nickel a gallon, hauled watermelons and cantaloupes for the Kirchgessners, or pitched hay for Frankie Brown, there is no better place.
This Saturday our Boys will do something that Borden players of the past, both boys and girls have only dreamed of. Finally we are not in the shadow of our larger neighboring schools, it is our chance to shine. It has been a long time coming, and a foundation that was set decades ago. A foundation that is strong, based on faith, family, community. From Daisy Hill to Jackson Road, from Starlight to Martinsburg Knob. From Deam Lake past Dow Knob, down the valley into town, the Borden faithful from far and wide will ascend on Indy and Bankers Life Fieldhouse to cheer on their beloved Braves. Win or Loose, these kids and this community are winners. We have grown up in such a wonderful place and have the privilege of calling it home.
Alabama may have football, California may have surfers and sunbathers, but this is Indiana High school basketball, and it doesn't get much better than this! In the words of Merle Webb in the movie Hoosiers, "Let's win this game for all the small schools that never had a chance to get here."
How bout them Braves?