University of Toledo women's basketball stars Naama Shafir and Andola Dortch are referred by many as "studs" on the hardwood.
However, it goes far beyond the hardwood with these two.
For someone like myself who has had the privilege to get to know these two over the past several years, I can honestly say, that as I watch them tackle their ACL injuries together, they exemplify what hard work, dedication, and passion truly means.
Being a "healthy" Division I student-athlete in itself is a job. Sounds dramatic; but it's true!
Add in a grueling recovery from a torn ACL that consists of long rehab, lots of sweat, and moments of pain just for an opportunity to play the game you love and you can get an idea how hard that is. I am not even going to act like I know what it is like, because I don't.
But as I have watched Dortch go through the experience twice and Shafir once; it's an injury that challenges a player physically and mentally until they just want to quit, untie the laces, and walk away.
To these two, though, that is not an option.
These two have, and continue to show, how strong their love for the game of basketball and Rocket nation truly is.
These two have worked to put Rocket basketball back on the map.
And these two have worked together to make the other stronger, physically and mentally.
If you had the chance to catch my piece that aired on 13abc this past Saturday morning, you would understand what I mean.
As I watched the piece before it went on air, my eyes flooded with tears. They have become sisters to me, away from my own.
So for those of you who have not had the chance to meet them beyond the hardwood I am here to tell you, they aren't just hoopers.
And they aren't just Division I student-athletes.
They are a daily dose of inspiration!!!