We’re about ready for March Madness to formally begin, tomorrow morn. Why’s it that this time of yr appeals to so many?
There’s just something magical about team sports, & about knowing the personal stories behind each of the teams playing in the Tournament.
Of course there’s a story to share here too! Even before walking-on to my college’s b-ball team, one of the best stretches of my life that I look back on – was my time learning about sports & life as a member of a true TEAM, & from one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever had a chance to play for – my HS basketball coach.
You see the banner says ‘96 Conference Champs in the top pic. That was actually my Junior yr. The guy you see in the black jacket & hat who I’m leaning on, JJ, was a Senior that yr. Amidst a late season run of wins to take that conference title, our team was rocked to its core when JJ’s father passed away to a disease we knew so little about in the mid ‘90s, ALS.
The juxtaposition of the high of our success on the court, to the low we felt as a FAMILY was tremendous. I can remember consoling JJ at practice & then attending his dad’s funeral – our whole team/classmates/town’s fans/coach.
I don’t know how we were able to pick ourselves up from that tragedy, but that pic in the bottom right should show the intensity that came w being part of that team. We’d go on, shortly after the funeral, to win a huge playoff game at home against Elmont HS, & you can see the kinda raw emotions that came from those victories.
Team sports taught me/us: roles, responsibilities, teamwork, when to step up, when to step back, hard work, determination, perseverance, & family. To this day, this team is close. We came together bc of coach, bc of tragedy, bc of common goals, passions, & sacrifice.
When you watch the Tourney these coming wks, get to know the personal stories behind the teams. There is beauty in the challenges they face, how they come together, & how these memories they make will teach lessons – that stay w them for life. Few things, if any, can compare to the purity of amateur team sports – for players AND fans.