MOORE — It wasn’t the words that bothered Jan Ross so much; it was saying the words that got to her.
“I have cancer” was hard to say.
Ross is assistant women’s basketball coach for the University of Oklahoma. She and head basketball coach Sherri Coale have been friends for years, starting in their college days.
“Calling my sister, calling Sherri was hard,” Ross said. “I’m a pretty faithful person. I wasn’t scared; I knew it would be OK. But it was hard to make those calls.”
Listening to Ross it’s easy to see that she is not simply a faithful person; she is a Faith Full person who leaned heavily upon her religious convictions to see her through her cancer.
Today, she is four months out from her last chemo treatment and has been deemed cancer-free.
In April, the Sooners were between seasons. The team was regrouping and recouping after their season was cut short. Coale was trying to find a way to turn a pink ladder into an inspiration tool, and Ross had scheduled time for personal health care.
“I had my yearly mammogram and they called to say they’d found a knot,” Ross, 48, said. “I had a biopsy a week later.”
This is where her faith came into play.
“I had surgery on May 8. It was a single mastectomy,” she said. “I’m definitely an optimistic person.
“Until I got the final word, I thought it would be OK,” Ross said.
While Ross faced this challenge, with Coale nearby, the team wrestled with their assignment: Come up with six words that crystallized their core beliefs, their hopes, their dreams ... their goals.
The young women rose to that challenge and surprised their coaches along the way. Among all the individual sentiments was one team-defining goal: “Playing for our rock Coach Ross.”