The coronavirus has made life difficult for millions of people around the world, and Lamar County is not exempt from its impact. However, the virus has not stopped the Chisum Lady Mustangs’ basketball season or the drive of its players. Lady Mustangs senior guard Jordan Lawson has helped keep Chisum in the playoff hunt while pushing herself and her team to reach peak potential.
Change of heart and taking big steps
Although she has played basketball for close to a decade, Jordan has not always had hoop dreams. Instead, she grew into the sport as her opinions on the sport made a 180-degree turn.
“My actual idea of basketball was not favorable. I did not want to play basketball growing up — I hated it, it was awful to me,” Jordan said. “I started playing in elementary school in fourth grade. I saw how much aggression there was with basketball and that it wasn’t a wimpy game. I ended up loving basketball and have decided to stick with it ever since.”
As her tires gained more tread over the years, Jordan worked hard on her game and approach in every way she knew how to. With that, she has noticed her own gradual yet continuous growth over the years.
“Over the past few years, I struggled with my confidence, having the ball, and shooting the ball,” Jordan said. “I’ve taken private lessons to help my confidence with shooting and have taken on the importance of conditioning to help with my aggression. My freshman year, I was a baby. I was scared and didn’t do anything up to now where I understand that you can’t just stand there — you have to be physical. I’m still learning and growing but putting in the extra work has definitely helped.”
Fighting through all of the odds
Even though the season has not been stopped, the coronavirus has provided plenty of problems for Jordan and the Lady Mustangs squad in the form of positive tests and quarantines. Without a regular rhythm and flow to practice schedules and game lineups, covid did not take two important things away from the Chisum girls — effort and defense.
“I think we’ve been in a tough spot due to covid. We’ve had a lot of girls out either from getting the virus or having to quarantine, so there have been a lot of games where we’ve fought hard even while playing with just five or six girls sometimes,” Jordan said. “I think we’ve put in the same effort with five girls as we have with a full team, especially on defense. We have some good sets and I’m glad we’ve been able to push through this together.”
“Our strength is our defense. Yes, we are a young and new team, but our defense travels even when our shots do not,” Jordan said. “No matter where we go, our defense is the main part of our team’s success.”
During our toughest times, many people realize their greatest strengths and what they are capable of. Despite the uncertainty and fear surrounding the season, Jordan has led the team well and with a level head.
“I try to give accountability to everyone to play each game like it is their last. Normally, I would be one of the only people in this boat as a senior, but with covid, everyone on the team is in the same situation. We don’t know when we will have another quarantine or shut down, so we all need to go all out and make this season the best we can under the circumstances.”
Painting a different picture
When she is off the hardwood, Jordan focuses her energy into different facets of her life. Art is a significant part of Jordan’s life, and she has made that passion a regular part of her life in the community with her mother.
“Many people have probably seen mine and my mom’s paintings, the main one being the wall at Glow Med & Spa — we did their logo and the photo wall,” Jordan said. “We’ve also done paintings for other buildings and local businesses around here, too.”
When life throws you a bad pass, keep shooting
Jordan’s mother, Dee Lawson, has been able to accomplish a great deal in her life no matter what has been thrown her way or taken away from her. Following her mom’s example, Jordan learned more about love, sacrifice, and responsibility than ever before when her mother’s ability to walk was taken away from her before Jordan reached elementary school.
“When I was four years old, my mom had an accident that paralyzed her from the waist-down — they told her she would never walk again,” Jordan said. “From the age of four, I really had to step up and take on a role for my little sister, who was only one year old at the time. I’ve always had to help my mom shower, do the dishes, clean, or put my little sister in her lap. Having grown up from a young age, this experience has taught me a lot about responsibility and maturity in life. I’m proud to have grown up from such a young age — it shows me what life is all about.”
Finding life’s richness and clinging to it
With plenty of rules, guidelines, outside voices, and differences in almost every place imaginable, clinging to those you love and simplifying the difficulties of life has become critical. Jordan understands this and has grown a deeper appreciation for her friends than ever before.
“As of right now with everything going on, we are all kind of in a dark place. Being in quarantine for a little bit helped me think through a lot and see a lot, it makes me grateful for the times I get to spend with them,” Jordan said. “I’m at my happiest being with my friends. I really enjoy my time with them.”
Friends make memories together and some of Jordan’s friends share the court with her at Chisum High School. In one particular game this season, Jordan and another one of her basketball running mates achieved surprising and very different career firsts in a district game at Edgewood.
“In our second district game, we played Edgewood at their place,” Jordan said. “We were down quite a bit in the third quarter, and the ball got to Harmony Marsh behind the three-point line. Everyone is anxiously looking at her and, as a former player, Sarah Hunt once said, ‘Don’t shoot Harmony. Don’t shoot!’ We were saying it, too, but Harmony pulled up and swished a three right in their faces. A few moments later, one of their girls and I were going for the ball, I shoved her, and I got a technical foul — the first one I ever got. So, to recap that whole night, Harmony Marsh made a three, Jordan Lawson got a tech, and I think the whole world was shook after that.”
The Lady Mustangs will take the court again at 6 p.m. tonight at home against Grand Saline. For more sports coverage, click here.