Gregg Dodderidge

Remember Shania

Yosemite High JV basketball player Shania Costella played in a game against Kingsburg Jan. 7, before a tragic traffic accident took her life later that night.
Yosemite High JV basketball player Shania Costella played in a game against Kingsburg Jan. 7, before a tragic traffic accident took her life later that night. Sierra Star

I had something completely different in mind for this week’s column instead of what you are about to read. I am still in emotional shock at the tragic accident and death of Shania Costella Saturday night. As I write this, I cannot stop wiping away my tears. Why did this happen?

Shania was the JV girls point guard, team captain, and team leader. She and the Costella family are dear friends. Her sister Sahvannah survived the accident and we can all be thankful for that. It was a miracle she survived and once again, we owe so much to the brave first responders for their always heroic service.

All I have to say to the girls and boys basketball program is: Go and win the North Sequoia League for Shania. Both teams have a chance this year to make history. Re-dedicate yourselves and come together as a team. Do this for Shania.

You now know through this tragedy that you are blessed. Not just to be alive and living in God’s Country, but to play for a great high school. Shania felt this way. She loved life. She loved her family. She loved her coaches and teammates. She knew playing was a privilege. She took her game and leadership position seriously. Shania had planned on taking her leadership to serve in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from Yosemite.

Players, look inside yourselves. Be thankful for the opportunity to even play. Give the extra effort every day in practice and the games. Play with passion and intensity but above else, with control. Play like Shania. She never took a play off, yet her smile rarely left her face. She had fun playing this game. You know all this. Come together and remember the example your friend set for you.

Growing up I lost my mom when I was 12. By the time I graduated I attended 18 funerals of family and friends. The pain never leaves despite my daily prayers. If not for sports and the intervention of my grandparents I don’t know where I would be today. I remember telling Shania this. Shania lived with her incredible loving grandparents who put God and family first. They will try to heal and will always be there for Savannah.

In trying to answer tragedies such as this my grandmother would say ‘that God needs more angels.’ I want to be that little boy again and believe that. I want to believe that Shania is in a better place. But my imperfect humanity will always grieve.

I ask those of you to pray and help the Costella family anyway you can. Finally to the players, go and have fun. Be appreciative of the little things. Never forget your friend.

Editor’s note: A Gofundme account was set up to collect donations for Shania’s family. It is available by clicking here.

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