AS BRITTANY STRUGGLED, her best friend was there for her.
“For a while I kind of shut down, I stopped talking to people. Part of me didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to put a burden on other people,” Brittany said. “But one time Maddie was like, ‘What the heck? Talk to me.’ So that’s when we started talking again. That was really hard. It was crazy.”
The transition from Concordia Academy to Lion’s Gate also was rough at times. The students at Concordia were extremely close and it was difficult to accept that their school was closing. It was especially hard for the students in the class of 2010, who would spend their senior year in a new school.
“It was really hard for the seniors. The old building was like home to us,” Brittany said. “People would be there from 7 in the morning until 9 at night. There was just so much going on and it felt like home. Then to come here was kind of hard because you remember everything about the old school. “
“But it was the same people,” Maddie said.
“We talked about it a lot for the first month or so,” said Brittany. “We’d say, ‘This is so weird, it isn’t the same.’ But we knew it would be OK.”
Their senior year was filled with memorable sports moments, especially in basketball. Lion’s Gate and Bethany Academy in Bloomington have a cooperative girls’ basketball team which fell one game short of the Class 1A state tournament, losing to Maranatha Christian in the Section 4 championship game. The Bethany/Lion’s Gate team opened the season with a 13-game winning streak and finished with a record of 24-5.
Basketball will help Brittany and Maddie continue their friendship. Both will attend St. Olaf College in Northfield and play on the basketball team. The choice was easy for Brittany, who loved St. Olaf from her first visit and was accepted during the early decision admission process. Maddie’s family had a tradition of attending Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, and she struggled with her decision.
“I think the only reason I visited St. Olaf was because Britt said she liked it,” Maddie said. “So I thought I’d check it out, but I didn’t decide until April. It just felt a lot better, and the girls on the basketball team are like a little community. It’s pretty nice.”
“It wasn’t like we decided because of each other,” Brittany said. “Obviously that’s a great plus, but we both wanted to make the decision that was best for us.”
PARTLY BECAUSE OF their experiences with sports injuries, both girls plan to go into fields related to medicine and athletics.
“I want to be a physical therapist because of my knee,” Brittany said. “When I went through physical therapy I thought, ‘This is really cool.’ So I want to double major in biology and sports kinesiology.”
Maddie is considering becoming an athletic trainer. “Once we’re done playing sports, I’d still like to be in it somehow,” she said.
Both girls once had dreams of playing Division I basketball, “but once we got closer to college, we realized there were other things that were important to us; our faith and friends and families,” Maddie said.
They would love to be college roommates, but that is not guaranteed. When their filled out St. Olaf housing applications, they did it together – writing down the same information and preferences -- in the hopes they would be matched as roommates.
“That would be very cool,” Brittany said.
They are ready for college, but they share the same jitters and worries of all incoming freshmen.
“I think it’s going to be exciting but also kind of nerve-racking,” Brittany said. “College is so different; you’re on your own and you don’t have your parents there to remind you of everything.”
No, the girls won’t have their parents there. But they will have each other, best friends staying together.
And they’ll be just fine.
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