Sister Jean Delores-Schmidt gave an eloquent interview following her beloved Ramblers’ thrilling, last second upset of the University of Miami in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament yesterday.
At 98-years old, the Loyola’s team chaplain said she remembers the last time the Ramblers won the title 55 years ago, and she thinks the two teams bear some similarities.
“They share the ball,” she said in a priceless interview with CBS sideline reporter Rosalyn Gold-Onwude.”They don’t care. They share the ball, have great teamwork and they’re really good guys and so was the team in ’63.”
She’s thrilled her team scored “the Big W” and she’ll be back in the locker room on Saturday to give her pep talk and prayer.
Asked what she said to the team prior to yesterdays’ game, Sister Jean said, “We asked God to help us and I told God that we would do our part if he would do his part and I hope the referees would call the right kind of a game, that nobody would get injured, that we’d play with confidence and we know we’d win the game and at the end when the buzzer rang we wanted to be sure we had the big W.”
A former basketball player herself, Sr. Jean has been a nun for more than 80 years. She’s been team chaplain for more than 30 years and has her own bobblehead and personalized shoes. After each game, she sends emails to the coaching staff and players.
Loyola senior Donte Ingram, who sank the last second three-pointer to give the Ramblers the 64-62 win, paid tribute to Sister Jean in his post-game interview, which he conducted after her ran over to give her a hug.
“She has meant so much to me personally,” he said. “She is there before every game. She’s saying a prayer before every game. After the game, she sends a general email to the team. And then at the end of the email, it’ll be individualized: ‘Hey, Donte, you did this, you rebounded well tonight. Even though they were out there to get you, you still came through for the team.’ She’s just so special, her spirit. She’s just so bright, and she means so much to the city of Chicago and Loyola obviously and the team.”
I didn’t fill out a bracket this year, but I know which Cinderella team I’ll be cheering for as long as I can.