Lessons from the championship

Published 9:40 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tball team, to its coaches and parents. Often overlooked is the time and investment that the parents and coaches put into the program and the work and development of the student athletes. It takes a lot of work on the part of everyone involved to capture something as prominent as a state basketball title.

What the King’s Fork basketball team experienced this weekend will be unequaled in many of those athletes’ lives. They have created a legend in the halls of their school. They will always be welcomed back to the gym, and they have set the bar extremely high for other teams that will follow behind them.

For me, it brings back grand memories of my own. Our high school basketball team, too, had a great run at state title crowns in round ball. During my sophomore year, we were the runners-up for the title, after being ousted by a great Lipscomb team near Nashville. I’ll never forget playing against the first seven-footer in my youthful career. He went on to play at Kentucky University — and against much better competition than the likes of me, I’m sure. The following year, though, we went back to the title game — and this time, we came away with the victory. A sweet one it was.

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The championship title is something no one can ever take away from the group of guys I was part of, nor will anyone ever dismiss this group of Bulldogs. But if their experience was anything like mine, the final score won’t matter as much as lessons learned throughout the season en route to the title game and the championship.

Sure, there are perks for playing for the title crown, staying in hotel rooms with all your friends and realizing that you are sharing the same gymnasium with some of the state’s greatest athletes. But the true benefit comes from realizing all the work and effort that went into the season.

For our Sweetwater, Tenn., teams, it was realizing that with hard work, dedication and lots of sweat and effort that any goal could be attained. Teenagers often have a hard time realizing that goals actually can be met. Watching those goals come to fruition is the best training for real world that you can get.

I still associate the value of teamwork, hard work and having a vision with the things I learned from those experiences. I hope that King’s Fork does the same. Not all the participants of this year’s team will go on to play college ball or even go to college. But no matter where the road of life takes them, I hope they will always cherish the road that took them to the state basketball crown.