When I was asked to write about SuAnne Big Crow, I immediately thought “But you know her, right? You all know all about her, right?”
I immediately and automatically assume that everyone knows and remembers her the way I do, the way those of us lucky to have known her remember her. Then I remember all the youth that have only heard stories in passing-that have never met her, like my own children.
The reason why is because SuAnne had such a beautiful spirit, you think that everyone in the world had to have felt her shine at one time. This shine wasn’t just in basketball, it was in life. I could hear her laughing now, over some silly joke or prank.
See, SuAnne was like that. She was so full of life and determination, there was no stopping her.
The year the girls won the State A tournament in 1989, (and I will get back to that) even though the girls had their scheduled games, we practiced cheers for the upcoming boys games the following week. Suanne being the main one wanting to practice. She had this new move she wanted us to try called candlesticks. She learned it from her sister, it was a college move. We practiced it, and practiced it, and practiced it, until we stuck it. When we finally did the cheer a week later in Ft. Yates. I remember their home crowd getting quiet, watching us, and then applauding us- the cheerleaders.
“See I knew we could do it.” SuAnne said.
And I knew, that all that practicing at the State A Tourney paid off. And while SuAnne was playing her heart out at the tourney, concentrating on that championship, what no one knew was she was driving us all to perfect this cheer in the off time.
SuAnne was only here for a short 17 years, she didn’t have the privilege of growing old like the rest of us, but the life she lived in that short amount of time was more than some people pack in a whole lifetime. She reached her goal of being and leading a Pine Ridge Lady Thorpe basketball team to a State A Championship. She was 15 at the time. Who really reaches a life goal set in elementary at age 15? SuAnne Big Crow, that’s who.
Those last few seconds of that championship game clearly define the drive and determination she embraced in life. As I remember it, the game was tied. There was literally seconds left and SuAnne took the ball all the way to the basket, she shot hard and it missed. It bounced off that backboard and I think every single one of us thought overtime. Every single one of us except SuAnne. She took her rebound and threw it up again, the buzzer went off as the ball went in. That is how state was won in 1989.
And that is how SuAnne lived her life, all that 17 years showed in that rebound and last second shot. In every aspect of SuAnne’s life she lived like those last 5 seconds of that championship game. She had so much determination, there is no doubt in my mind she would have been in the WNBA. That same determination she took off the court, she was always on honor roll, she was always making us laugh, she was always singing, she was there to cheer us up if we were ever down. I realize as I write this, how lucky I am to have known her, it was definitely a privilege.
And in my friend’s own words “Work hard, be dedicated, develop a thick skin, learn to accept criticism, but most of all, do it yourself.”
Su, you will forever be missed.
I was asked to write a story emphasizing the drive and determination of SuAnne. I was supposed to keep it between 300 to 500 words. I went over by a hundred and still can not even begin to do justice to the drive this girl had. This story will appear in the official Lakota Nation Invitational 35th Annual program. SuAnne Big Crow Day is Friday, December 16, 2011.
For more info
For more info on the SuAnne Big Crow Boys and Girls Club
And my other story of SuAnne–The Red Dress