The Eaton Rapids community is forever changed after having an Australian foreign exchange student spend the past six months in Eaton County.
Charli Sharam came to Mid-Michigan with hopes of learning from a new environment and an American high school setting. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love with the game of basketball.
“Well, it’s a little chilly here compared to Australia which is on fire. But I am so bad at basketball and yeah it’s fun though,” joked Charli.
Charli was first introduced to the idea of playing basketball by her host sister, Kyra Acker, who’s on the varsity roster and has enjoyed seeing Charli get more passionate about the sport as the season has progressed.
“Now all the time she asks to to shoot at night like even after practice she wants to go back to the gym and shoot, so she really enjoys it and she’s gotten a lot better,” said Kyra.
Two week ago, in a game that was already decided for the Greyhounds, the crowd starting chanting Charli’s name, enticing Head Coach Dan Langeland to put her in the game.
Not only did Charli get the ball but she threw up a shot that grazed the backboard and sank to the bottom of the net. What followed was an eruption of cheers from the spectators in the stands and Charli’s teammates. Her first points of her basketball career.
“It was so much fun, I loved it and I even clapped for myself but I just shouldn’t have,” said Charli.
As Charli makes her final plans for her last week in America, she’s leaving behind an inspired greyhounds team and community of fans.
“Honestly I’ll probably just miss hanging out with her. We basically hand out every night and we talk a lot. I’ve learned a lot about her family, we FaceTime her family and I’ll just miss having her around,” said Kyra.
“Living here, it’s amazing, pretty good experience for a sixteen-year-old,” said Charli.
For Coach Langeland, he hopes other player can learn from having Charli on their roster for a few months.
“She’ll be the first one to say ‘I’m not sure what I’m doing’ but she’s having fun doing it. The affect that she has on our other players, I sure hope that doesn’t leave when she does,” said Langeland.
The Greyhounds have one last game with Charli as their teammate on Friday night as they host the Ionia Bulldogs, tip-off is at 6 p.m.