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A Treasure After Tragedy: A Bigger Than Basketball Gesture Made by Olivet College

What goes around comes around is a common saying, but what happens when it becomes a reality? This was the scenario for Mayfield High School in Kentucky.

On Dec. 10, 2021 at 11p.m., it all started. Catastrophe struck many areas of Kentucky as tornadoes swept through and took anything in their path, including the community of Mayfield. Remarkably, the local high school wasn’t damaged and began to shelter people who needed a place to stay.

“We were taking in people from the candle factory; they were bussing them in,” said Coach Peyton Croft. The factory sustained heavy damage. According to a January article by NBC News, “At least nine people were killed Dec. 10 when the twister ripped through Mayfield and flattened the factory while more than 100 workers were still inside making scented candles.”

Mayfield High School became a place for people to get food and clothing. High School basketball, Croft said, was a part of the school that helped the surrounding community. He said that although it was a tragic event, that helping the community, “Kept everyone together.” Little did he know what was in store for not only him but the students at Mayfield High School.

In the following months life went on and Croft went in search for new basketball hoops for the high school gym. Twitter was where Croft came across hoops that were for sale, posted by Olivet men’s basketball Coach Sam Hargraves. After getting in contact with Hargraves, Croft arranged plans to make the eight-hour trip from Mayfield to Olivet to get the hoops. This was when he got a call in the middle of the health class that he was teaching. Hargraves called to tell him that, on behalf of Olivet College, they were donating the hoops for free. When asked what he felt in that moment Croft said, “I was speechless, you know I had to step outside of my classroom…it left me speechless and humbled to say the least.” Not only was Croft, speechless but so were the students and staff of Mayfield High School. Croft emphasized the students’ excitement and appreciation, “The kids were extremely happy…and more so than our kids but the community and our administration and the school.”

The hoops have been used for not only the high school students but also the young people in the community. A summer camp held at Mayfield High School had 170 kids partake, and the two additional hoops from Olivet made that camp much more effective. The donated hoops also sparked a new connection between Olivet College and Mayfield High School. “It’s been neat to learn of a new place…it’s been a unique experience and I’ll definitely keep up (with Olivet),” said Croft.

This gesture from Hargraves was one that hit home. Olivet student, Josh Dufore, senior, took part in helping load and transport the hoops to Mayfield, in his eyes this action by Hargraves was one that just showed what a great guy Hargraves is.

“The message that Coach Hargraves is sending is one that we want to emphasize here at Mayfield and it’s bigger than basketball,” said Croft.


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