I went to high school and currently live in a community that is rich in tradition. For many years our high school had generation after generation of "Alices" (That's our mascot!) Families would talk about the high school memories just like they would family ones.
In the past three years our boys basketball teams have won less than ten games combined. That is not what our community is used to. That record is unacceptable to many. And this is where our problem lies.
It is difficult for the "old guard" to accept losing when we have a tradition of winning. It is difficult for some parents, who want to live vicariously through their own kids, to accept loss after loss after loss. It is compounded by social media where our community lashes out at coaches and players because they say the current teams don't understand "the tradition."
Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten that these high school players are kids. Kids who make mistakes. Kids who are still learning. Kids who aren't their moms and dads.
Playing sports is so much more than winning and losing. It's about learning the game; it's about being part of team and something bigger than themselves. It's about life.
Tonight, I am listening to our boys' first round of post-season tournament play. We are the underdog. We aren't expected to win. Every player on this team is a former student of mine, and I am so proud of them. They have worked so hard against so much adversity. Sadly, most of that adversity is from our own community. They have never given up when they could have so easily folded.
The game just ended as I am finishing this post, and I am holding back the tears.
Traditions connect us.
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