It is hard to believe that Sister Jean Dolores Schmitt, chaplain at Loyola University Chicago (Loyola-Chicago), would have critics, yet some came out when the beloved nun left the Final Four playoff game Saturday two minutes early. The 98-year-old super fan of the Ramblers simply went to the tunnel to greet and console the team as they left the floor. The 11th ranked Ramblers, the underdogs in their match-up against number 3 Michigan University, lost the game by a score of 69-57. I don’t often watch college basketball games but this one was good and I tuned in because of Sister Jean. (Newser):
“I cannot believe anyone would insinuate she gave up on these kids,” assistant athletic director for communications at Loyola, Bill Behrns, told USA TODAY Sports. “How utterly disgusting.” After Sister Jean left her seat at the Alamodome with just two minutes left against Michigan, enough viewers seemed to question the move that Loyola felt the need to respond. According to Behrns, Sister Jean was greeting the team as they left the court, as she did every other game. This time, the nun had the added duty of consoling the Ramblers.
Sister Jean is known for her rapport with the college team. The players go over to her, sitting in her wheelchair courtside, and get hugs and encouraging words from her regularly. She writes notes of encouragement to them and writes scouting reports of upcoming opponents.
Sister Jean traveled to San Antonio for the NCAA National Semi-Finals. She met with legendary Hall of Famer Bill Walton before the game.
— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) March 31, 2018
The AP reported:
Everybody’s favorite underdog team and their No. 1 fan had a 10-point lead in the second half, but couldn’t overcome a slew of late turnovers and missed shots. While Sister Jean told the men their turn would go down in history, so too will the nun herself be synonymous with this year’s tournament. The Ramblers readily acknowledge Sister Jean has become a bigger celebrity than any player on her beloved team. “She’s become a huge celebrity, and she’s a great part of this team,” freshman Cameron Krutwig said. “A lot of people know our name now in college hoops, and her impact has been as great as ours.”
She got a team jacket, too.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 31, 2018
Everyone’s favorite nun came under swift criticism, though, when she was wheeled off the court so that she could meet the players immediately after the game. The haters commented (falsely) on the nun giving up on her team. One shock jock sports radio host in Tennessee, Cody McClure, even tweeted out “F**k Sister Jean- everyone.” When his tweet brought blowback, even from his boss, he deleted the “joke”.
“My comments about Sister Jean were meant simply as a joke, nothing more, nothing less,’’ McClure said. “It was not an emotional response over a basketball game, nor was it meant to be a slight toward Catholicism or the elderly in general. The joke value came because of the fact we were dealing with a 98-year-old nun who is deservingly beloved by people for her outstanding service. Anything said that would oppose that would create a little shock value, right? It was meant to be comedic — cheap, maybe — but comedic. A lot of people got a kick out of it, and a lot of people were offended by it.’’
And, she’s a bobblehead. Pre-order sales are brisk for those wanting to commemorate the Cinderella team’s biggest fan. This is her second bobblehead, by the way.
Sister Jean has been the Rambler’s team chaplain since 1994 and this is her second bobblehead. The first was given away at games in 2011 and 2015 and are now incredible valuable on the bobblehead resale market. An original Sister Jean bobblehead is going for more than $300 on eBay.
The current edition is priced at $25.00 and a portion of the sales go to the Loyola Athletic Fund and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As of Friday, 13,000 had been pre-ordered.
In the first 40 hours the HOF and Museum started taking pre-orders, Sister Jean became the best-selling bobbled head in its history.
In just more than 24 hours bobbleheads had been ordered in all 50 states and Canada and more than 63 percent of the sales have come from outside of Illinois. Someone even bought 30 Sister Jean bobbleheads.
What an inspirational woman. She’s still doing her life’s work at an advanced age and still encouraging the up and coming generation. I love this stuff.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 1, 2018
Also, parents, raise your sons to show this level of respect for their elders. Michigan’s Jordan Poole’s did well by him.