The match had just finished. It was a tight fight Tuesday afternoon that came down to the last 30 seconds. The women of Kennesaw State University’s lacrosse team narrowly beat the Army team 15 to 14.
During the post-game handshake session, the KSU women had something special for their foes — handwritten, personalized notes thanking them for their military service.
It was a hard fought match followed by a sound display of respect, said KSU’s coach Laura Maness.
“It’s pretty much everything you want to see in sports,” she said.
The messages varied: “Your sacrifice means so much.” — “Your actions speak volumes.” — “You are a role model to many.”
The letters got lots of attention when the grateful Army team put pictures of the notes to its Facebook page that night. Barely 12 hours later, the post thanking KSU had been shared more than 100 times and garnered more than 540 reactions.
“We didn’t really expect for them to share it on social media and it really showed how impactful it was, and we didn’t realize the positive impact we could have on them,” Maness said.
The idea came during a brainstorming session between Maness, her assistant coaches and their marketing staff member about what they could do for the upcoming game. This was the first time in the KSU team’s history, which dates back to 2013, that it’d played Army.
Each KSU player wrote a personalized card to someone on the Army team, making 40 notes in all. Several signed with their name and jersey number.
Maness, who started with the team in July, said she and her squad thought it would be a nice gesture but had no idea how much it’d mean to the women at Army.
She said it was a moving experience and lesson for the women on her team.
“I don’t think they know the power they have with their words ... but I think they’re starting to figure out,” Maness said.