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Column: Mogadore’s McIntyre shows what it means to care

Column: Mogadore’s McIntyre shows what it means to care


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor

With only seconds remaining and the game’s outcome determined, Mogadore girls basketball head coach Jennifer Ritch seized the opportunity to give her starters, especially her seniors, a fitting, deserved and deliberate exit moment.

Mogadore senior Brook McIntyre and head coach Jennifer Ritch hug following the conclusion of the Wildcats’ Division IV district final against Loudonville.
Tom Nader/Portage Sports

An opportunity to specifically recognize their careers and improbable season of success that was continually threatened by injuries.

The date was Saturday, March, 2, 2024. The location was Norwayne High School.

The Loudonville Redbirds were on their way to a 61-44 victory over the valiant Wildcats in a Division IV district-championship showdown.

And while the loss brought its own pain, it quickly took a backseat to the celebration of careers that were held so dear.

To the players.

To their families.

To their coaching staff.

To their teammates.

To their school.

To their community.

When it was time for Mogadore senior Brook McIntyre to be subbed out and leave the court, she was on the sideline opposite of her team’s bench.

As she jogged across the court and toward Ritch, she briefly looked up at the scoreboard.

One final glimpse to see if it was real.

Was this truly the end that she never thought would come?

Instantaneously, the glance flushed McIntyre with emotions.

Tears began to roll down her cheeks.

One of the fiercest and toughest competitors in the county — a player that reached the 1,000-point milestone as a junior only to watch her senior season be jeopardized and significantly shortened by a broke fibular on the first night of the season…

A player who would never admit defeat or give up no matter what the circumstances are…

A player who loves the game so much that she brushed aside outside concerns about returning too soon from that injury… was living inside a new moment.

A realization that her high-school career was over.

An end that always seemed so far away was suddenly part of her right now.

Her walls were down.

The emotions were genuine and very real.

It was like each tear held its own memory.

This is what it looks like to care.

In McIntyre’s case, to care completely.

It happens across Portage County, across all seasons and all sports, but McIntyre’s hit different.

Just days prior, for a feature story that published on Portage Sports, McIntyre and her cousins Ari and Julie Tompkins, spoke about how they never wanted to see the end of the season become real.

“Some people say it is just a game, but this is not just a game for us. In that moment, when we are playing, the game is our life,” Julie Tompkins said.

“Yeah, this means the world to us,” McIntyre agreed.

When you invest so much into the sports you love, for years, it is only natural for it to hurt when things come to a finite conclusion.

For McIntyre, when she finally made it to the Wildcats’ sideline, she fell into the arms of Ritch.

The two embraced in a long hug that seemed to compress four years of a loving friendship that was formed through a unique journey that only a coach and player can appreciate together.


  1. Carla McIntyre March 19, 2024

    Amazing article! Thank you💚🏀

  2. Jim Trout March 20, 2024

    This article was only able to be written due to the commitment of Mr Nader and his passion for capturing more than just the score of the game. This is local journalism at its best. I am grateful and appreciative of his passion. As for Brook,,,,, many a Wildcat will aspire to fill your shoes or your passion. Congratulations!!!

    1. Tom Nader March 20, 2024

      Thank you, sincerely, for the kind words and support. I appreciate it very much!


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