Leading by living

Paige Serafini (14) goes on the attack for Anderson County against Sacred Heart in the 2022 Mingua Beef Jerky Girls’ Sweet 16. (Photo by Stephanie Herndon)

Anderson players turned to Paige Serafini as teammate, leader

By Faith Hyatt, 110forChrist.com contributor

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” 

-Matthew 11:28-29, New International Version ®

“This verse has reminded me that I can find rest in God. I can give all my worries and burdens to God and find contentment in my relationship with Him.”

-former Anderson County Lady Bearcat Paige Serafini.

I’ve decided to write my first story about someone who made a big impact on me as a young student athlete, Paige Serafini. With any group of people, especially teenagers, someone who is a leader, and doesn’t follow how your typical teenager would act today, really stands out, and has a big impact on your life— which is what Paige did for me. 

Paige Serafini is now a member of the Campbellsville University women’s basketball team. (Photo courtesy CampbellsvilleTigers.com)

As a high school student athlete, Paige had to balance many things like her family relationships, her fantastic career as a Lady Bearcat, but most importantly her relationship with God. 

Paige says, “Life as a student-athlete has its rewards but it can also be very physically and mentally draining at times. It is guaranteed that you will have ups and downs in your journey as an athlete. However, in my personal experience, God has always been a constant in my life. He is always there for me to lean on when I am struggling. Without my faith I wouldn’t be where I am today.” 

Paige is currently a member of the women’s basketball team at Campbellsville University. 

Paige was a very influential person on and off the court. She was always so positive and encouraging to us on the floor, and when it was time to go back to the locker room she made her presence known through sharing devotionals, and leading team Bible studies. 

Paige made sure that her faith in Jesus was known in the locker room, and led the team along the way closer to Him, and bringing the teams’ bond so close- it was unbreakable. 

I remember specifically one time—we had just had a bad practice, and it was before a very important game. We all went back to the locker room with our heads down, and we were just about to leave, when Paige asked everyone for just 15 more minutes. She said “Come on guys, just 15 minutes is all I’m asking, for everyone’s best.” And every one of us put our shoes back on and went out to the floor. We stayed out there for 15 minutes, and then we all went home. That next night we played Simon Kenton in the first round of the Eighth Region Tournament, and won, 77-67. 

Paige Serafini blocks a shot during Anderson County’s 77-67 win over Simon Kenton in the 2022 Eighth Region Tournament. (Photo by Stephanie Herndon)

I reached out to a former teammate of mine, and hers— Jacie Chesser, who played with Paige from grade school through their senior year. Jacie said, “Paige was there through lots of dark times in my life like my parents getting divorced. Basketball brought us together, but the friendship we built is something I believe that will last forever. She not only helped me when it was relevant and easy for her, but when I needed her she was always there. A lot of things she did for me were never publicized but she did it because she cared.

“Through basketball, Paige brought leadership and encouragement to all of us as a team. Sometimes other people get the credit for being the leader but that’s not the truth. In my opinion and other teammates’ opinions she was the leader. She was the one that spent hours daily improving and protecting her game, she was the one that pushed us to be better and do better. I think everyone would agree Paige was the ‘team mom,’ she was there for whatever whenever that meant needing a workout partner, or a friend to call at 3 a.m.”

Paige also held strong to her beliefs around the team, but never once forced them on anyone. Jacie says “No matter the circumstances or situation Paige accepts everyone for who they are, and shines a light to everyone. She would always say “hate the sin, love the sinner.”  Sometimes when I would go to Paige for advice she would ask if she could share scripture with me to help through tough times. I always accepted, and Paige is a loyal, hardworking, unique, kind, Christian woman. And we need more people like her in this world.” 

Paige didn’t only influence our team, but she also influenced our coaches and teachers in the school system. 

Paige Serafini sinks a free throw against South Oldham in the 2022 Eighth Region Tournament. (Photo by Stephanie Herndon)

Our coach, Clay Birdwhistell says, “Paige has always been a leader by example. She worked hard, did what she was asked, and was a great teammate. However, her senior year, she had to be much more vocal. It was out of her comfort zone, but she did a great job for us. Yet, her greatest contribution as a leader was the behind-the-scenes work that no one knew about. There is no question, she was the glue that held our team together.” 

Heather Adams, a teacher at Anderson County High school shared some words on the type of person Paige is, “Paige was tenacious both on and off the court. She worked hard in the classroom and on the hardwood. Her style of play was an art form and the only thing that matched her poise and grace on the court is the poise and grace she carries herself with in her daily life. She’s a truly spectacular young lady.” 

As a sophomore, Paige had her first big moment on the floor, and then “Swaggy P” was born. It was at Woodford County, and she had 22 points, which was her second game in the sophomore season. After this game, Paige’s career was built around her ability to be a deadly shooter around the three-point line. At any given time, any given game, Paige would be able to get her shot off, with a good chance of it going in, too. 

Paige was a vital part of the Lady Bearcats, winning their fifth, sixth, and seventh consecutive 30th District championships. She was also a key part in the Lady Bearcats having a three-peat in the Eighth Region Tournament, which would lead the Lady Bearcats to three consecutive trips to Rupp Arena. 

I am convinced, her success as a Lady Bearcat is directly related to her faith in God, her leadership in the locker room, and her strong work ethic. 

After the dominant run as a Lady Bearcat, Paige wanted nothing more than to play college basketball, which is why she turned to Jesus, for peace, and hope. Paige says, “The biggest time I can remember leaning on God is when I was trying to get recruited to play college basketball. That was one of the most nerve-racking times in my life. I had no idea where I was going to go and I felt like I was running out of time. All I had to do was put it in God’s hands and trust His perfect timing. Not long after I did that, I got an offer from a school that I was really interested in and I committed.” 

Paige was enrolled on a scholarship to play basketball at Campbellsville University, and is now in her second year playing college basketball. 

Coming from someone who played on a team with Paige, and could experience her leadership, and see her walk by faith, not by sight, it’s not so hard to see how Paige has accomplished so much in her athletic career.

I asked Paige to share what her biggest piece of advice for younger student athletes would be, and she said, “The biggest advice I would give to other athletes is to be intentional with your free time.  Anytime you have a little bit of spare time, use it to be productive. Whether it’s cleaning, doing homework, spending time in God’s word, praying, having a healthy conversation, practicing your sport, or spending time with loved ones, you will be better for it in the long run.” 

As time passes, I may not need Paige’s advice on the court, but I know as a sister in Christ, Paige will always be there for me and anyone who would ever need her. 

Faith Hyatt is a junior at Anderson County High School and a member of the Lady Bearcat basketball team. She plans to pursue a career in journalism and offers perspective from her role as a high school student-athlete.

Paige Serafini poses with Eighth Region official Tyler Smith after being named the recipient of the James “Cornbread” Stethen Award in 2022. The award, presented by the region’s officials, is based on sportsmanship, academics and citizenship. (Photo by John Herndon)

2 thoughts on “Leading by living

  1. Outstanding article from student athlete that shines light on the blessings from God and how faith helps others through sports and teenagers. Thanks for sharing !

    Liked by 1 person

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