By Jon Gerardi
The Daily Item
HERSHEY -- The bus ride to Hamburg from Catawissa on Tuesday evening wasn't like most.
Instead of listening to music, talking, joking around or even grabbing a quick nap prior to their game, the Southern Columbia girls were busy reading.
There before them on the team bus was a folder filled with inspirational quotes and messages from Southern Columbia coaches, faculty members, alumni and even some players and coaches of teams they played this year.
"All these people that are from our community (and) not from our community, from Penn State camp we went to, (everyone) giving us these words of motivation and wisdom and telling us how they've gotten so close when they were in high school and they didn't quite make it," senior all-state forward Bailey Bzdak said after Tuesday's 1-0 semifinal win over Tulpehocken. "It's awesome. Our community is so supportive of everything."
Two years ago when the Southern Columbia softball team made it to the PIAA Class A state championship game, their assistant coach, Tricia Hoffman, gathered together some inspirational messages and quotes from coaches, teachers, former athletes and alumni to give to them prior to their semifinal game. It was something the softball team found very motivating.
This year, when the Tigers soccer team earned a trip to the state semifinals for the first time since 2002, Hoffman did the same, gathering quotes and messages.
So there on the team bus, for roughly an hour and a half on the ride to Hamburg, that's what the Southern Columbia girls read: over 50 messages of support from their community wishing them success.
"We had inspirational letters from all kinds of people coming up on the bus," Southern Columbia coach Derek Stine said. "Everybody was really into this. The ride's been great."