Playing for Cole

Basketball coming together to honor one of its own

The+Milford+JV+basketball+team+starts+off+with+only+four+players+on+the+court+in+their+first+home+game%2C+leaving+a+spot+open+in+honor+of+Cole.
The Milford JV basketball team starts off with only four players on the court in their first home game, leaving a spot open in honor of Cole.

The Milford JV basketball team starts off with only four players on the court in their first home game, leaving a spot open in honor of Cole.

The Milford JV basketball team starts off with only four players on the court in their first home game, leaving a spot open in honor of Cole.

Noah Poser, Staff Writer

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by Noah Poser

Staff Writer

 

“…And #1…Cole Painter,” shouted the  MHS game announcer last Friday before the first JV home game on Dec. 9.

But Cole Painter was not on the floor. Cole had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away the week before, leaving his family, friends, teammates and coaches in mourning.

To honor Cole, the team announced him as a starter and started the game with only four players on the court.

It was an incredibly emotional moment with Cole’s mom in attendance. That moment was made even sweeter when the team pulled out a win for him later that evening. They won for Cole as well as themselves and it was the greatest honor that they could’ve given to him.

Cole Painter loved the game of basketball dearly. Whether it was a game or just a common everyday practice, he always seemed to enjoy himself. That is one of the many things that his teammates and his coaches admired most about him.

Cole worked hard every day and his infectious spirit motivated his teammates.

His loss has affected the entire community, but it is especially devastating for the coaches and the players throughout the three levels of basketball.

They were all connected to Cole. The basketball program represents a giant family of many different people who all have one thing in common: a love for basketball.

They met the Sunday after Cole’s passing to grieve together as a family. Varsity Head Coach Dave Gilbert was there and has helped his players throughout this process, giving them access to his classroom throughout the school day whenever they just needed a break or just time to be relieved from the struggle of this new reality.

“I’ve got to give our kids a lot of credit,” said Gilbert. “They were very supportive and understanding of each other no matter if they were on varsity, junior varsity, or freshman. They were there for each other in a tremendous way.”

The meeting on that Sunday was not only to grieve, but also to think of ways to honor Cole.

They came up with many different ways to do that.

One way was before the first varsity game at Farmington Hills Harrison, a moment of silence was held out of respect for Cole before the playing of the national anthem. This also occurred before the first varsity and JV home games.

The team also debuted warm-up shirts that said “FAMILY” on the front and “PAINTER” along with his #1 on the back. These shirts  will be worn at all three levels. There was a huge roar of approval from the Milford crowd when they were unveiled.

The team has also purchased new warm-ups made in honor of Cole with his initials “CP” inside of a basketball on the left shoulder sleeve.

Another way to honor him came from a parent. It was to have bracelets made to sell in honor of Cole that say “R.I.P COLE PAINTER #1”, with a basketball on them as well.

They are being sold by Leadership with the profits going towards a special tribute item for Cole and his family.

This is all well deserved for a very special human being that impacted so many lives around him.

As for some closing thoughts on Cole and what he meant to so many people, Gilbert summed it up best.

“We’re obviously going to miss him and what he brought to the building and we’re going find a way to honor a great kid,” said Gilbert, who also reminded students. “Be kind to everyone. That’s what he did.”

The team will continue the rest of the season playing for Cole, who will always be in our hearts and will be deeply missed.

 

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