Miners not flying as high without Kite
Nevada Union sophomore Emma Kite was stretched out on the bleachers before Wednesday’s practice, teammates gathered around, teasing her in a good-natured way about the stickers that adorned her removable leg cast.
Among the many brightly colored stickers was one that said, “Yeah, whatever.”
Well, maybe, and maybe not.
Two days earlier, Kite injured her right knee while going up for a rebound during a girls basketball practice. Practice stopped, as did a few hearts in the gym. The practice, in preparation for tonight’s first round playoff game against Woodland, resumed after Kite had been taken away to the hospital.
The news Wednesday was a mixed bag. On the down side, Kite’s knee was dislocated in Monday’s mishap, ligaments stretched in the process. Emma spoke of surgery and a season abruptly cut short.
This was not “Yeah, whatever” territory, even if Kite was able to be cordial about it. Like her sophomore teammate Kayleigh Correll, Kite has simply blossomed as a player this season, fortifying a team brimming with experience, turning the toss-off phrase of “depth” into something that requires a capital D. Simply put, she had a great season.
To lose a talented, hard-working, affable player so close to playoffs is a miscarriage of justice, karma and garden-variety luck.
And yet, when one looks at NU’s season, maybe there is some cruel truth to the sticker affixed to Kite’s leg. As the girls practiced this week, there were Megan Curtis and Molly Heck in matching knee braces, Camille Humphreys nursing a bruised tailbone, Courtney Kephart insisting she is back from an illness that began so long ago it’s hard for her to remember exactly when it began.
If Mae Valdes is not secretly nursing a bump or bruise, count it as a miracle, the way she gladly throws her body around the court.
This team plays hard, very hard, and it shows. And yet, no matter the circumstances, the girls find a way to win, be it 24 games or a part of the Metro League championship.
They find a way to say “Yeah, whatever” even if it comes at times with a lump in the throat.
Kite will be around to encourage her teammates in the post-season, and plans to be around her junior and senior seasons, long after the leg brace and the stickers have been put away in a proper place.
Such as a little-used storage room.
Some place where it can’t be found, and never needed again.
Vince Vosti is a sportswriter for The Union. He can be reached at 477-4267 or by email at
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The Nevada Union Junior Miners Football and Cheer teams traveled on Saturday to Casa Roble High School in Orangevale to play the Casa Roble Junior Rams in Sacramento Youth Football League action.