By Dave Ricci
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Marylouise Lindner isn’t just someone who her teammates admire, but she’s a great ambassador for Kenmore West.
Really, she’s just that likable.
But behind Lindner’s gentle voice there beats the heart of a lion. The kind of heart that makes her teammates want to battle with this kid because you she would run through a wall for her team.
A senior on the Kenmore West basketball team, Lindner smiles in disbelief as she talks about being in her final year of high school.
”So fast. I can’t believe that these four years have flown by,” Lindner said. “I don’t feel as old as I am. I feel like the players and the students ahead of me were much older than I am (now). Now I’m where they (were) and it’s like not where I’m supposed to be.”
Now in her third season of varsity hoops Lindner is the Blue Devils’ starting point guard. But along with the duties of running the show on the floor, Lindner, along with Liz Gallagher, is stepping up to fill the role of captain for a program that saw eight seniors graduate and welcome in seven
”Over the years I’ve learned the good and bad and what to do and what not to do, and how to represent myself and how to take care of the team,” she said. “It’s important and I feel really honored that the coaches thought I could fill that spot well.”
Being a captain isn’t new territory though for Lindner, as she held the same role for the varsity soccer team. The soccer team not only struggled to find wins but, at times, had a troubles finding its identity as a group. Lindner emerged as a the voice of leadership and got the team on track when it seemed like everything was all but lost.
As she reflected on the soccer season Lindner said the ups and downs of that showed her that being a captain is much more than shaking hands at the start of a game and bragging about wearing the C.
”Yeah more than I thought, especially in soccer, because we didn’t have the greatest year,” Lindner said. “You’re not just there to start cheers. It’s a lot of pressure.”
Being a captain entails far more behind the scenes than most people realize. From making sure girls know when and where to meet the bus for road games, to organizing team bonding events and captains practices — there’s a lot to handle. But being a captain has also showed Lindner what she is capable of as a person.
”I think it taught me that people really do look up to me and I take pride in that,” Lindner said. “I’m really happy that they can, and I put it out there that they can (come to me). It’s surprising.”
So just how hard does Lindner go each and everyday? Just ask teammate and long time friend Sharon Guarino.
A senior on the Blue Devils basketball team, Guarino and Lindner have also been teammates on varsity soccer. A couple weeks ago Lindner and Guarino were the last two girls left in a drill that simulated battling on the floor for a loose ball. As Guarino and Lindner raced for the ball, Lindner threw a hip check that knocked Guarino off balance, which gave her the edge to win the drill. Both smiled as Lindner helped Guarino up after the drill.
”Playing with her has probably been one of the toughest things that I’ve had to do,” Guarino said. “But I wouldn’t give it up for the world because it’s made me the athlete that I am. Her being on the team has made us the most competitive team we can be.”
”She just has tremendous character,” Blue Devils assistant coach Jeff Martin said. “That’s one of her qualities. Tremendous character. Tremendous perseverance. Always looking at the positive, never looking at the negative. Just a great, great attitude and somebody that you’d love to have on your team, in any sport.”
Lindner, who also plays varsity softball, chuckled a bit too as she recalled that drill. But as she smiled she said that it was just an example of going full steam ahead. Something, she feels, her teammates expect of her.
Guarino said she has nothing but respect and admiration for the way Lindner brings it every day and that the team would be nowhere if not for Lindner and the way she pushes everyone to give their best each day.
More than trying to put points on the board to help win games, Lindner knows that being a captain, especially of a young team, is about taking girls under her wing.
”I hope that I can do that, because that’s really important,” Lindner said. “I like to be there for them, especially if they need it.”