The day before I started writing this piece, I watched our first League Boys Varsity Volleyball game of the Spring Season. They won! And they beat a school that is three times our size. What is happening? Are we becoming a sports powerhouse without knowing it? Since we won the State Basketball Championships this year, we have had a few applications from basketball players eager to join our program. I should also proudly state that both our Girls Varsity Basketball and Boys Junior Varsity Basketball teams won their League Championships. Hooray, I say. But, without disappointing the applicants, I should also add that we are not the University of Kansas. The last time we won the State Tournament was 30 years ago. 1992! Not exactly a dynasty.
I certainly think that coaching is critical at the high school level, and we have excellent coaches. And, every so often, through hard work and the experience of having played together for a number of years as a team, it all comes together and members of the group transcend their individual abilities and magic happens. This happened this year with basketball. We had talented players, but the critical component of their success was that they listened to their coaches, worked very hard (including every weekend), and played as a team and not as individuals. Now for a reality check; eight members of the Championship team were seniors. We do have a great corps of younger students who played with these seniors and learned the effort needed to succeed, and these players will have grown physically and mentally before next year’s season. We have Brian Shure’s outstanding coaching, and the group is getting better, but who knows if we can pull it off again?
Jeremy Clarke said that we took York Prep students and made them champions. I know what he means. We do not actively recruit for sports. It certainly is a positive feature of any applicant if they are excellent athletes. But they have to come to us. We do not go out and ask them to apply. We are not the University of Kansas.
If we win any more championships this year in Boys Volleyball, Girls Softball, or Boys Baseball, then there must be something in the water. Maybe not! I believe that at the private school level, coaching, grit, and hard work will win in the end. Come to think of it, the same applies to the University of Kansas.