Sunday Gratitude – High School Sports

As many Owl readers have noted, I spend a lot of time on high school sports. Of course, much of the reason for it is because I have two high school athletes, and was myself a high school athlete (go New Canaan Rams!). The other reason for it is I find the dedication of the athletes, the support of their friends, and the joys and sorrows of game day just completely fascinating. I am, hopefully, a storyteller, and in every practice and every game, and every athlete there is a story.

This week the drama of game day was in playoffs for hockey, boys and girls. A boys team that hadn’t been in the playoffs since 2015, squaring off against another small town to play a sport I will never understand, but can not help but be impressed by. I can barely skate around a pond much less backward, forwards, and chasing a tiny black non-ball right before being squished by someone 50 pounds heavier. The video shared on Twitter of the celebration at the end of the 6-4 win is simply joy itself. It is worth a view and smile at plexiglass in motion and skaters leaping to their fans.

The girls team did not find the same success in their playoff game, meeting the #4 ranked team. That senior season is cut short–eight Weston seniors were among the sad players coming home on the bus from Lynn. According to all reports, the bus ride started with tears. But then, eyes were wiped, and there were songs and laughter, and when that bus pulled into WHS at midnight, it disgorged athletes who could be nothing but proud of their season, their years of school sports, and friends they made along the way.

When I drove into the high school lot one afternoon a few days ago, a small knot of girls in warm running gear was setting watches and chatting before taking off at a good clip down the driveway. On the corner, I saw Coach Monz, omnipresent with his clipboard and maroon track jacket. It was the girls indoor track team members who have qualified for nationals which take place in New York next week–working out in 23 degrees because Weston doesn’t have an indoor track. A storybook season and the last one for Coach Monz as an indoor track coach.

Maybe I enjoy the high school sports so much because Cross Country in high school was so important to me–my coach a mentor, one of my teammates remains a close friend decades later, and I still run three or four days a week. Did I, as they say, “peak” in high school? Well, undoubtedly. I don’t think I could run a 5K at that speed anymore, even running from a bear. What is “peaking” anyway? And who cares? The memories are really really good.

My gratitude today is for high school sports, past and present. Go ‘cats…and Rams too!


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