Jay: Sport in its purest form

Last night was one of thise nights when you realize how great sports can be. How anything can happen when a team fully believes in themselves when no one else does. When players check all egos and agendas at the door and truly give themselves to the team. When leaders truly rise above the rest and drag their team to un-before seen success. A night when you witness boys turn to men and the complete emotion of the night overtakes even the toughest kid. Last night, my alma mater, Hale-Ray(east haddam) came into a game with a 4-14 record. They were facing a team from Old Saybrook that was 16-2 and had beaten HR by 30 earlier in the season. The Rams(O.S) had every reason to be confident. Every reason to look past this 4 win team. The O.S. coach even was talking about finishing 18-2 before the game. One thing they didn’t take into account was the heart and pride the Hale-Ray boys would play with.

Last night was senior night. Three boys(men), three captains, three friends, three fierce competitors were capping off their hoops career(all three are playing baseball in three weeks.) It was a packed house inside our little gym. Students were raucous, faces were painted, and emotions were running high. After a very nice ceremony honoring the three kids, the game was under way. You could almost feel that there was something different about this team. They ran their offense to a tee, defensivly they were all over the floor, literally. God knows how much skin they left on the court(two of the kids have had concussion issues in the past, but yet there they were, diving headfirst after balls, w/ reckless abandon.) As the game went on, Hale-Ray started playing with the confidence of a 16 game winner. The three caps, Andy Parker, Nate Lochowski, and Pete Gowac continued to dig deep to find that little extra. Andy had a career high(?) of 21 points, Pete calmly guided the offense and routinly beat the pressure while chipping in 12, and Nate scored 7, but had some huge rebounds and defensive stops, truly defining his role.

The final score 61-54. The buzzer sounded and the kids all stormed the court. For this one night they were champions. For this one night, their season finally had meaning. For this one night they could not and would not be deprived of their title. The look of pride, joy, and exhaustion on the teams faces was priceless. The faces on the parents of the three seniors had looks that only a proud parent could have. I know that at the end of the night, all three MEN would give credit to the rest of the team. None of them wanting the spotlight, thats just the type of kids they are. I, though, will give them all the credit. The other kids on the floor followed their examples and went all out for their leaders. They showed what it takes to be a senior, a captain, and a teammate. To a young team that probably means more then the win, but the W sure helps send the meaning home. It just goes to show what can be accomplished when people believe in themselves, believe in their cause, and believe in those closest to them. This was an improbable win, a win that these three will remember the rest of their lives. The great thing is, this isn’t there last game of their high school career(one more Bball game.) All three are vital cogs of our baseball team and we’ll be counting on them to lead us to promising heights. If they can play with half the intensity and heart that they showed last night, it could be a season to remember.

Thats why High School athletics are great. Sport in its truest form. Many people ask me why I coach. For night(days) like that. When all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears finally payoff. Theres no hype, no shoe contracts, no media. When one plays for the name on the front of the jersey. When teammates mean more to you then your entourage. Where parents and coaches have more influence then agents. Just pure sport. That’s why I coach!!

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2 Responses to “Jay: Sport in its purest form”

  1. Coach Parker Says:

    Jay–those who don’t coach will never know. As you know, Hale-Ray is an unique place with a a lot of history-especially athletically. You can go from generation to generation and you always here the stories and the names-names like Sipples, Nevers, Harris, Tucker, Ziobron, Kostoss, and the names just keep going on and on. Each name can remind you of several different stories. Maybe someday, this game and its participants will go down in the folklore of the Little Noises. Thanks for the coverage!

  2. thanks coach for reading

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