Doubt the power of miracles?
Don’t, Sulphur senior guard Bailee Eldred said.
“As soon as Jayden moved here, me and her became friends,” Eldred said. “She’s just one of those type of people that are outgoing, just makes your day better, to see her smile.
“From Day 1, she was my biggest fan on the sidelines. Before every single game, she tells me ‘Good luck.’ She encourages me and makes me laugh.
“She’s just a unique person that I want to play for.”
For the Bedlam game at Davis on Jan. 13, Gray returned to the court — following a hospital stay after her car accident.
Seventeen days later, Gray watched the Lady Bulldogs earn a series split as she sat amongst her fellow cheerleaders.
“Sometimes it stinks when I don’t get to be out there cheering, because I’m probably done cheering for the year,” Gray said. “I wish that I could go out there and cheer with them, but I still like getting to be around everybody, seeing them smile.”
Conversely, her presence puts a smile on others’ faces, too.
When Eldred sees Gray on the sideline, the Lady Bulldogs’ senior guard said her nerves ease and she’s less critical of herself.
“She calms me down because she has so much confidence in me,” Eldred said. “It’s very encouraging.”
Sulphur junior forward Chase Dilbeck said to have Gray return is uplifting.
“It’s really emotional,” Dilbeck said. “I’m happy she’s still here. It’s great to see her back. I’m just proud that she’s back.”
When Davis played Wayne on Dec. 19, the Lady Wolves wore bright green shoelaces in honor of Gray. There was a moment of silence before the game, too.
Gray said it’s amazing how Davis and Sulphur united.
“Our town, we’re like a family,” Gray said. “It’s great to see everybody come together and work together through this to support me.
“I like seeing how everybody came together.”
Eldred thanked other schools for their prayers, and for wearing green to express their solidarity, for a situation that was solemn about seven weeks ago.
Eldred said she drove past the late-night accident when it happened in mid-December. As she pulled into her driveway, she said she was about to call an ambulance.
One was already en route.
She awoke her mom, Tracy Eldred, and said that they needed to pray for the victims.
“The next day, I found out it was Gray, and my heart dropped,” Bailee Eldred said. “It was the worst news that I’ve had.”
Gray said she doesn’t remember many details about the accident, but she was in shock when people told her that happen to me?’” she recalled. “Because before this wreck, I didn’t have a broken bone. I hadn’t broken anything.
“All this at once, it just felt unreal for a while.
“Now, I’m kind of used to it and I’ve understood what had happened to me, but I’m still in shock.”
Said Eldred, “To know a girl like that, who puts a smile on everyone’s face, can overcome that — prayers work, miracles work and I’m so blessed that she’s here.”