All sports seasons have a schedule with a first game and a last game. Every player and fan knows a fact of sporting life: Every season has an end.
Another cold fact is many seasons end too early, especially when you are a playoff team and, in the end, you realize only a single team can be the champion. On Saturday, March 8, the high school boys varsity basketball season came up against these facts. But in some ways, the end was just the start of something bigger. As the horn sounded and the scoreboard showed Coleman Catholic High School winner of the game against Shelter Island at SUNY New Paltz, everyone knew they had a ticket to state Final Four at Glens Falls.
But there were other winners not reflected by the scoreboard. The following is a list of winners at the end of the historic season for Shelter Island boys basketball.
• All the boys on the team who have made basketball history for the Shelter Island program. This team won the first class D championship and a New York State regional win against Clark Academy.
• The coaches who taught the boys the Xs and Os but also the value of hard work, teamwork, respect, maturity, confidence and love of the game.
• The cheerleaders who provided team spirit with cheers and fired up the fans at all home games and playoff games.
• The Shelter Island community and fans who have supported the team all season at home and away games. Traveling by buses to the away playoff games and cheering with a positive spirit, they will be remembered for years to come.
• The parents of the players who have given support to their sons through positive encouragement during the highs and lows of this season and past years.
• The Shelter Island fire, police and emergency responders who gave the team an escort to the school from the ferry after the playoff wins.
At Saturday’s game, Shelter Island spirit was on display with fans sporting blue spirit beads, blue bandannas, gloves and even blue and gray face paint.
The fans cheered the team as they entered the gym and at the end of the game, fans gave the team and coaches a rousing standing ovation for the great season. The bus ride back to the Island was quiet but there was a silent pride.
All the sports teams from our little Island are winners and deserve our support and positive encouragement. Sports are just games, but they build character, form indelible memories and teaches valuable lessons for life.
On snowy winter days in the future, residents and players will reminisce when they gather, saying, “Remember that boys team from the 2013-2014 season? We beat Greenport for the first Class D championship. Man, what a great season that was.”