One of the great things about going to Penn State is you are immediately welcomed into a community that feels like a family. You have the chance to meet some pretty amazing people, simply based on the connection of your shared love for the university. And this was just the case when I met my good friend Taylor Dippery.
My teammate Talia East and I were on our way back from an away game where we endured a tough loss our freshman year. Talia was talking to her mom, Sharon East, who works at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. By chance, her mom happened to be on a shift in a room where she struck up a conversation with a patient who seemed to be a little upset. Come to find out the girl is a huge Lady Lions fan, and she wasn't too happy about our loss that night.
Mrs. East was shocked and told the girl, whose name was Taylor, that her daughter was a member of the Lady Lions. The next thing you know, Talia and I were on the phone with Taylor letting her know we wouldn't let the loss get us down, and we'd get the next one.
Within the next couple of weeks, during one of our bye weekends, Talia and I were able to visit Taylor during her recovery at the hospital. After spending some time getting to know her, we found out she wasn't only a fan of the Lady Lions, but a baller herself.
Taylor led her wheelchair basketball team in 3-point field goals made and is probably one of the toughest people I have met in my life. She has overcome extreme adversity during her life and is someone my family and Talia's feel very lucky to have in our lives.
You never know who you are going to have the opportunity to meet and what kind of connections you will make. Being a part of a close-knit community like Penn State, bonds are always being formed. We met Taylor two years ago, and not only have we stayed in touch, we have become close friends.
I can always expect a "good luck" text before games from Taylor and a postgame discussion about strategy and the upcoming opponent. It's even become part of my parents' home game routine to stop off at Taylor's exit on the way to games to pick her up.
If it weren't for our shared love of Penn State and hoops, I am not sure we would have met Taylor, but we couldn't be more grateful for the relationship that we have formed.