One minute left on the clock. It’s the last time she will represent McCallum, wearing No. 13.
The gym is going wild like they all just won a million dollars. Coach is yelling “Come on ref!” Her dad and grandma are cheering from the stands.
What’s going through her mind?
Selena De Jesus
Maddy Stine splits two Crockett defenders to launch a shot attempt during the Knights loss to the Cougars on Jan. 22. Photo by Selena De Jesus.
Thirty seconds left.
She has the ball in her hand. She dribbles up for the basket. She shoots. She scores.
I see the pain in her face. I see it in her when she’s trying to get down the court. I think its really difficult, but she pushes through it.”
— Head coach Lorie Campbell
Twenty-five seconds left. Her asthma kicks in. Fifteen seconds and counting down. Coach yells for a timeout.
The clocked stopped. Maddy uses this time to catch a breather.
The game resumes, and the clock keeps winding down.
The other team has the ball and is up by 11 points, what is her next move? Her team manages to steal the ball 0.5 seconds left. They pass it to Alicia, but she doesn’t have a clear shot. She passes it back to Carolyn.
The buzzer goes off.
Maddy shakes hands with her opponents and goes over to the other seniors to give them a hug and cry it all out together. It looks and sounds as if someone they love has just passed away. It’s the last time this team will play together.
It may have been Maddy’s last time on the court, but it was definitely a moment to be remembered.
Maddy pump fakes and LBJ defender during the Jag’s victory over the Knights on Dec. 11. Photo by Risa Darlington-Horta.
Her coach said afterward that No. 13 will be sorely missed.
“I would take Maddy any day over somebody that’s 6-7,” varsity head coach Lorie Campbell said.
With asthma, that’s an extra challenge. She got her inhaler, and she’s got bad allergies. … All those things are stack up against her but she never complains.”
— Rob Stine, Maddy's father
As a senior and one of the team’s captains, Maddy had a lot of responsibilities to her team. She earned her spot as captain, Campbell said because she “genuinely cares about people. … She approaches younger athletes, and when she’s giving advice, and she brings joy to others.”
But along with these leadership qualities, Maddy also had a challenge to overcome. She has asthma, which she said flatly is a pain in the posterior for a basketball player. Being an athlete with asthma is a big challenge for everyone.
The way she handled the challenge impressed her coach.
“I applaud her,” Campbell said. “I see the pain in her face. I see it in her when she’s trying to get down the court. I think its really difficult, but she pushes through it.”
Maddy has been playing and pushing through it since she was 7 years old.
“At first, it was just something for her and her stepsister to do together, but she has really taken into basketball,” said Maddy’s father Rob Stine, who is also her biggest fan.
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Maddy poses with dad, Rob Stine, who is also her biggest fan, on Senior Night in the Don Caldwell Gymnasium on Feb. 5. The elder Stine was a fixture in the stands at Maddy’s games. Photo by Selena De Jesus.
At every game, home or away, if you looked into the stands, you would see Maddy’s dad.
[To] lead other people while you are dealing with your own issues is challenging. You have to set that aside and focus on others as a whole instead of [on yourself as] an individual.”
— senior Maddy Stine
“Some advice I give her a lot of is [that] she needs to pace herself, conserve her energy,” Rob Stine said. “With asthma, that’s an extra challenge. She got her inhaler, and she’s got bad allergies, too, and boy, central Texas has a lot of pollen and everything else. All those things are stack up against her but she never complains.”
Nothing would keep this competitor from playing the sport she loves, not even asthma. Her dad said that basketball has shaped her into being a great student and becoming a “well-rounded person.”
“I hope she’s learned enough up into this point and has enough confidence being built and being good at things that she never decides not to try something because she thinks she might not be good enough,” he said. “She realizes that she’s gonna be great at whatever she tries.”
Her basketball career might be behind her but her bright future lies ahead.
Reflecting on her Senior Night experience on Feb. 5 has made Maddy realize just how much playing basketball has taught her about life and about herself.
“After 10 years of playing, [I] realize how much playing basketball can make you grow as a person and [help you] know how to deal with things,” Maddy said. “It helps you with life skills, and skills as an athlete to be able to work with other people and a team and be social.”
Basketball teaches life skills to all players, but dealing with asthma on the court made the lessons harder to learn but ultimately more valuable.
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Stine lays a shot off the glass during the Knights second victory of the season over Reagan on Jan. 25. Photo by Selena De Jesus.
“That’s really hard sometimes because you know you wanna be on the court the whole game, but sometimes you’re so tired, your body has to take a break, [so] coach will take me out.”
Every second on the court counts for this senior, and she got aggravated when her asthma took many of those precious seconds away.
Battling asthma while also being team captain was a double challenge for Maddy.
“[To] lead other people while you are dealing with your own issues is challenging,” Maddy said. “You have to set that aside and focus on others as a whole instead of [on yourself as] an individual.”
Maddy makes sacrifices so others can improve.
That’s what a real leader does. With college applications, work and her social life off the court, Maddy has a lot of balls in the air, but she makes time to practice, to improve and to be a role model for the varsity underclassman and the younger players on the JV team.
Asthma may make things tough, but Maddy is even tougher. She is not going to stop pursuing her passion and hopes to play intramural basketball in college. Whatever she decides to do her biggest fan always has her back. And so does her coach. Campbell said she is willing to write Maddy a recommendation letter to any college.