PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It wasn’t just about the game Monday evening for the Taylor Allderdice High School basketball team. It was about bringing the community together to heal through sports.
An 11-second moment of silence was held inside the Taylor Allderdice gym before the Dragons took on the Latrobe Wildcats.
Taylor Allderdice’s team, now bonded in a stronger than hate brotherhood, wore specially-designed shirts. The proceeds from those shirts will go to the families of the victims’ of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, which happened a half mile from the high school in Squirrel Hill.
“The awareness has opened up their eyes,” said head coach Buddy Valinsky, who knew seven of the 11 victims killed.
For those who grew up here, it seems everyone has a connection to Allderdice. The game is a source of pride.
“So many people have roots in and some kind of stake in, is really important for the community,” said Brian Bennett, a Taylor Allderdice fan.
The big turnout was not only about team support, but about community support.
“Anytime you can bring, not just the Squirrel Hill community, but other communities together, for me, it’s a win-win,” said Valinsky.
The shirts, the unity, the loss and love, they are lessons everyone has taken to heart in wake of the tragedy.
“It teaches them responsibility, ownership of their community and how they can support people and spread their love to people who lost their loved ones,” said Denise Provident, another fan.
For those who know the players, it’s a bright light after a dark time.
“I’m proud of him, what he’s been doing here, I’m proud of the community and everything they’ve gone through,” said John Provident, another fan.
The tragedy also hits close to home for the team. Their scorekeeper was directly impacted by the shooting. His mother was lost, and his sister was wounded.
Valinsky plans on having the team plant 11 trees on the school campus in memory of the lives lost.