ANSONIA—Ansonia basketball players — boys and girls, reserve and varsity squads–have a friend in Cindy Fisher of Greenville.
Fisher attends all of the games and even goes to the away games to show her support for them. The enthusiastic motivation she shows is noticed by others in attendance at these games.
“This is Ansonia students’ biggest fan,” remarked Jessie Penix, a local mother. “Affectionately known as ‘Grandma’ to everyone, she shows up to games that she doesn’t even have a kid or grandkid playing. She cheers for everyone…front row, center. She brings a massive bag of snacks for everyone to enjoy…even the kids from the other team.
Every single game she stands and proudly sings The National Anthem. Some people laugh, mostly from the other schools, but why laugh at American pride?”
“I love the kids; that is what it’s all about,” said Fisher. “And, I love basketball. My daughter, Abby Thatcher, has been volleyball coach at Ansonia the last four years, and my granddaughter, Ava, plays freshman volleyball and my daughter assists with that.”
Fisher went on,”I coach them along the way. I yell at a referee once in a while. I know a lot of the referees. A couple of coaches have given me a high five. My own children used to get embarrassed but they know better now. I think they’re encouraged by my enthusiasm.”
Cindy said she finds the parents to be “absolutely wonderful” at Ansonia to not only her, but her daughter and granddaughter.
A Greenville hairstylist, Fisher has been at her present location for 33 years and still finds time to attend the games.
She is no stranger to being a booster to athletes.
“I was a cheerleader at Mississinawa Valley, and they can’t take it out of you,” she said. “I do a lot of hollering…whatever it takes to encourage and be positive with them.”
Fisher, who lived in Ansonia for six years when her four children were younger, now resides in the Greenville area. She has been in the hairstyling business for 57 years.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I am not going to be a good retiree.”
As noted by Penix, Fisher takes snacks and water to every sporting event for every age group.
“Last Saturday, I was at a junior high event at Ansonia, went to St. Henry for high school girls and then went up to Fort Recovery for the boys’ game,” Cindy said.
She goes to most games with the exception of Wednesday nights, when she attends service at Northside Community Church on U.S. 127 not far from her home.
Fisher is not only active when it comes to the school children.
“I do all of the yard work that I can here at home,” she said. “I have a high metabolism. I’m not your ordinary grandma, I’m a basketball junkie. I motivate all of them….boys and girls, high school and junior high, and try to encourage them.”
Because of this, she is on the road a lot. Husband John is supportive but is not a basketball person.
“Last week, I probably went to 20-some games,” said Cindy, the oldest child of the late Bob and Ruth Zumbrun. “I love it. My daughter goes with me most of the time.”
Yes, Abby, 47, is her only daughter. Cindy also has three sons, however. They are Eric Shannon, 48, Aaron Shannon, 45, and Andrew Shannon, 44. Husband John brought to the marriage his three daughters, Heather and Christine, both 47, and Angela, 44. Cindy has four grandchildren and John has five.
“We have three grandchildren graduating this year; one from Winchester, Ind., one from Greenville and another one for Marysville,” she said.
She and John met through church and softball.
“He was a coach and Abby was on his team,” Cindy recalled.
It isn’t always about basketball when it comes to Cindy cheering on her family members. She goes to horse shows and to state and county fairs to show her support to other relatives.
“I was in the Awana programs at Bible Fellowship and Faith Baptist churches for many years and I help in the nursery at our church now,” she said. “I just like people.
She also has a deep love for God, and tries to spread that message to others as well.
Who has been her inspiration? “My Dad,” she replied. “He shared the Lord with me, read the Bible and was very helpful and encouraging. We had a great farm life and a lot of wonderful friends. I have two sisters and two brothers.”
It was sixth grade when Cindy became interested in hairdressing.
“I did the hair for girls in school and my family and I pursued that after graduation,” she said.
She attended Richard Weston’s Beauty College after graduating in 1966. Helping her do that, she said, was Sue Kessler of Union City, Ohio.
Daughter Abby has also been a hairdresser for approximately 14 years, currently working for her mother in her spare time.
For Christmas this year, Cindy will be spending time at Abby’s family in Greenville and John’s sister in Centerville.
“My sons, Aaron and Eric, are not married but do a lot with our grandkids and go to all of their games, which include volleyball and softball. It’s a family affair. Abby has a traveling volleyball J-O (Juniors olympics) team called ACES, and Ava, a freshman, is a member of that team. I never missed a game last year. My granddaughter, Andrew’s girl, is on a seventh-grade basketball team and I also go to those games in Jay County, Ind.”
How does she keep in good shape?
“I exercise and have a positive outlook,” she said. “The Lord gives me strength. Without Him, I wouldn’t be anything. I’m thankful for my health and energy.”
As for the youths she comes into contact with, she had this to say, “I want to be real and enable them to talk to me. I share the gospel in any way I can. I do my part and let God do the rest. A lot of people are hurting out there. I don’t allow too much negativity. I’m pretty outgoing.”