High school sports — thanks for the mem­o­ries There is noth­ing bet­ter, or more un­for­get­table, than a thrilling ending.

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Front Page -

Yes, play­ing high school sports de­vel­ops char­ac­ter, teaches responsibi­lity, builds ca­ma­raderie, helps young peo­ple stay in shape and in rare in­stances can even lead to col­lege schol­ar­ships.

In the end, though, it all comes down to the mem­o­ries.

This fact came to mind af­ter I watched a video that cre­ated quite the stir at our school, The Palm­dale Aero­space Academy, on Fri­day.

The video shows the fi­nal sec­onds of the TPAA Griffins game against vis­it­ing Trin­ity Academy of Santa Clarita.

Down by two points with eight sec­onds left, the Griffins had no choice

but to foul in hopes of get­ting the ball back.

Trin­ity missed the free throw. Se­nior Eric Al­ford grabbed the re­bound for the Griffins, looked up court, and see­ing no one open, be­gan to drib­ble.

He spot­ted Isaiah En­yard open near cen­ter court and flipped him the ball. Three sec­onds to go.

En­yard drove into the fore­court and let fly from 32 feet. Noth­ing but net, as they say, and the place went nuts — Griffins win by one on the three­point buzzer­beater!

I’m will­ing to bet that many of you, read­ing the ac­count of that thrilling ending, flashed back to your own high school days.

Ei­ther as an ath­lete or spectator, you prob­a­bly re­mem­ber a sim­i­lar thriller — whether in bas­ket­ball, foot­ball, soccer, base­ball or some other sport — in high school.

Those mem­o­ries with you.

I told the bas­ket­ball play­ers Fri­day morn­ing that they will re­mem­ber that shin­ing mo­ment for the rest of their lives.

And I told them I could prove it.

At my 40th high school re­union back in New York in 2015, the talk turned stay to two free throws by our class­mate Doug Craine four decades be­fore.

Ev­ery­one re­mem­bered that game. We were down by one, and Doug drew a foul as he drove to the bas­ket just as the fi­nal buzzer sounded.

Two free throws with no time on the clock. No need for the other play­ers to re­main on the court, so Doug stood at the freethrow line all alone.

It must have been a lonely place in­deed, with all that pressure.

He looked per­fectly col­lected. But, he told us 40 years later, “My knees were shak­ing.”

Shak­ing knees or no, he sank both free throws, giv­ing our school the win and all of us a lifelong memory.

The bas­ket­ball play­ers at TPAA seemed pleased to hear that they likely would be talk­ing about Eric’s pass and Isaiah’s 32­foot buzzer­beater four decades from now.

It is a sce­nario that plays out on count­less high school bas­ket­ball courts around the nation this win­ter, cre­at­ing mem­o­ries and teach­ing lessons in — as they used to say on ABC’S “Wide World of Sports” — the thrill of vic­tory and the agony of de­feat.

Ev­ery so of­ten you hear some­one say that sports aren’t im­por­tant, that kids should fo­cus on their aca­demics. Or they’ll say schools place too much em­pha­sis on sports.

Aca­demics re­mains the top pri­or­ity, of course; and it can’t be de­nied that some schools get their pri­or­i­ties out of whack and place too much im­port on sports.

But don’t let anyone tell you sports don’t play an im­por­tant role in the lives of young peo­ple.

Just ask those bas­ket­ball play­ers — in 2069.

Wil­liam P. War­ford’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Tues­day, Fri­day and Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.