To the Editor:
Last year, I sent a letter about how inspired I was by the run the Newtown Varsity Girls' Basketball team made at the states championship; it spoke to the heart and spirit of these fine young women. I sent that a day or two before they won it all by beating Mercy at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The feeling that drove me to write it came on the heels of one of the hardest-fought games I've ever seen a team play, the Hillhouse semi-final game.
After having watched the Kolbe battle last week, I find myself with that haunting feeling again, even though I've heard people saying things like, “they're really good but we're missing some great players from last year” or “they have a chance to win a game but then we have to face Mercy again.”
Here's what I think and I hope that each and every player takes this sentiment into their own hearts. Even though the chance to face Mercy again didn't come, these fine young women put everything they had on the court and left no doubt as to who they all are. It's obvious to anyone who has seen them play this year, that they are all heart and spirit. I am proud to have coached a few them in the past when they were younger. I've watched them play for years, and I believe in every one of them. They represent Newtown Basketball as well as anyone could hope for.
So girls....just remember, you take something away from every game, regardless of the outcome. Sometimes the losses even make us even stronger. You have nothing to feel bad about, it's heart and spirit that counts the most and you are certainly all winners in my book on that score.
To Coach O, we've never formally met. It's quite obvious after watching you for the past two years and especially on senior night this year, how much these players mean to you.
Definition of a coach: “the practice of guiding an individual through a process,” “a director of athletes' training and activities.” A great coach: I read somewhere that a good coach builds great players but a great coach builds great people and also knows how to draw the best out of someone. Thanks for giving so much to the game and the players.
Congratulations to all of the seniors, you've given me a lot of excellent basketball to enjoy. Hopefully you'll take your memories from the court with you forever.
Best of luck to everyone coming back next year and coming up to play. “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose. We are Newtown!”
9 Brandywine Lane, Sandy Hook February 27, 2013