Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Basketball game days keep Sandra Meadows busy because she serves as scorekeeper for the Hartselle High boys ninth-grade, B-team and varsity teams and girls junior varsity and varsity squads.
The Tigers’ basketball squads appreciate Meadows, their MVS — Most Valuable Scorekeeper
By Paul Stackhouse
HARTSELLE — It was obvious that something unusual was going on Tuesday afternoon at the Pettey Center at Hartselle High.
One of the Hartselle girls basketball players went downstairs from the gym floor to her locker. Upon opening up her locker, she immediately noticed that someone else already had been there.
In a flash, word spread of the incident, and all 11 varsity girls quickly went to check their lockers. They too found that somebody had entered.
It didn’t take long to figure out the culprit. The Lady Tigers broke out into smiles, followed by laughter and an occasional tear. They knew that one of the team’s biggest supporters, Sandra Meadows, had paid a visit earlier in the afternoon to leave a Christmas stocking gift for each of the players.
An Austin graduate, Meadows moved to Hartselle after her senior year of high school, and she’s been a Tigers fan ever since. Even though she downplays it, the mother of three grown sons plays a major role in the Hartselle High athletic program.
During football season, you can find her near the main gate at J.P. Cain Stadium selling programs. During basketball season, she volunteers as the scorekeeper for Hartselle games at home and on the road.
She does the basketball bookwork for the ninth-grade boys, B-team boys, junior varsity girls and the boys and girls varsity teams. She also serves as secretary of the Hartselle Athletic Booster Club. But she said she enjoys doing the work and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love it,” Meadows said. “I love working with the players and I really enjoy watching them all play basketball, especially the varsity girls. I’ve been doing this for nine years and have loved every minute of it.”
Meadows works as a teacher’s aide during the day in the Hartselle special needs programs. She goes about her day side-by-side with students most of the time and makes it well-known she loves all of the players.
Her face beams with delight, however, when anyone mentions the girls varsity basketball team. The squad includes several students who are playing varsity basketball for the fourth year. Some are in their third year.
“I have watched and followed them for years now, and there is just something special to me about them,” said Meadows. “I’ve watched them since the ninth grade. They are the best group of girls I’ve had the pleasure to be around.
“And that goes for the (varsity) boys, also.”
As you might imagine, the players consider Meadows special, too.
“Mrs. Meadows has to be the sweetest woman there is,” Hartselle senior Mary Virginia Reeves said.
Reeves said that Meadows makes playing basketball at Hartselle that much more special.
“She comes to all of our games here and away,” Reeves said. “On top of all the things she does for us, we also receive four or five gifts from her every year.
“All of us were overly-excited, jumping up and down when we found out she had given us Christmas presents. The best way I can describe how we feel about Mrs. Meadows would be to say that everybody loves her — and we really do.”
The Hartselle High varsity basketball coaches — Greg Adams for the girls and Johnny Berry for the boys — made it clear how much they appreciate Meadows.
“I found her,” Berry said, smiling. “I knew how well she could keep the basketball book, and I asked her to join us. Later on, she started keeping the girls books and then all the other teams. Wherever we go, she goes. After every game, win or lose, she brings me the scorebook and gives me a big hug. ... She’s as big a part of the Hartselle program as anyone.”
Meadows has been married to her husband Jim for 33 years, and they have three boys: Trai, 25, Tyde, 23, and Tron, 21.
Her sons’ interest in sports got her interested in keeping the scorebook. Jim coached their sons in Hartselle’s city basketball league, and that’s where she began keeping the books.
“Now, for the most part, nobody gets the scorebooks but me,”she said.
However, there are conflicts. Sometimes the boys and girls are playing at different locations.
For example, during the Thanksgiving holidays, the boys played in a tournament in Huntsville, and the girls played in Homewood.
When possible, she’ll stay with one varsity team, and when it’s finished for the day, she’ll race to see the other. She’ll face the same situation during Christmas holidays. The Hartselle boys will play in Huntsville, while the girls will play in a Decatur tournament.
“I’m kind of particular when it comes to the books, so I’m on the go a lot of the times,” she said.
Mentioning her name brings a smile to Adams’ face, just like it does for her players.
“She’s just a major part of our program,” said Adams. “And to describe what she does is absolutely amazing. I mean, she keeps the books for five teams and she loves every kid on each team. She makes sure all the players know it, too.
“During a game, she’s flawless. She makes my job a whole lot easier. She makes sure I know if a player gets in foul trouble and she keeps me informed on my timeouts.”
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