When the Illawarra Hawks offered Wagga’s Jayden Maloney courtside seats for Saturday’s home game against Melbourne United, they knew it would give him a major boost following his battle with cancer.
What they did not expect, however, was for Jayden to have a profound impact on them, as Hawks coach Rob Beveridge outlined in a heartfelt column for the Illawarra Mercury on Friday.
Beveridge was initially fuming after suffering a costly loss to United, but Jayden’s upbeat nature quickly changed his perspective.
“For us, it was a forgettable night,” Beveridge wrote. “For Jayden and his family, it’s one they’ll never forget. It’s something that makes you realise what sport, and life, is really about.”
Beveridge said he traditionally spent many of his days off pouring over game film, but after meeting Jayden, went to the movies with his young son instead and told his players to do the same.
Jayden’s trip was highlighted by receiving a signed pair of shoes from former NBL MVP Rotnei Clarke.