The following was contributed by Francis Howell Central Girls Varsity Basketball coach Hayley Leake
In a society that thrives on catchy headlines, popular twitter feeds and the latest trending vine, it has become quite the challenge to hold onto one of the most humbling and sacred ideals of our time: that of perspective. When given the honor of becoming the head coach of the Francis Howell Central girls basketball team, I thought it was important to establish a set of values, a code, that our program would embrace despite condition, circumstance or result; a philosophy that would require us to remain grounded even if the world demanded otherwise. Little did we know, at the time, that a remarkable experience would be waiting for us.
This past January, partnering with our boys program, we were given the opportunity to host the Special Olympics basketball tournament at Francis Howell Central High School. Members of the Francis Howell Central basketball teams, program-wide, volunteered over the course of eight incredible hours to be a part of an event that exuded limitless amounts of enthusiasm and passion to the play the game that we all know and love. The smiles. The laughter. The tears. For that one segment of time, the numbers that tend to define so much about a team and their worth, did not matter… Win-Loss Records. Rebounding Margins. Assist to Turnover Ratios. Minutes Played. Free-Throws Missed. We could worry about all of that tomorrow. Today, it wasn’t about us – it was about them.
At 8-13 (entering Tuesday night play), it is quite likely that the 2014-2015 season of the Spartans will go unnoticed by most. Overlooked by many. Even slighted by some. But for at least one, for one very proud coach – this group of Spartans will always be remembered. In a day where results seem to also carry worth, they have embraced a perspective that reveals more than any outward marking of success ever could. This is a tough task for the best of us to own. But, to me, that is exactly what they are: the best.
Editor’s Note: If you’re a coach, student-athlete or parent who would like to write about your team’s experiences on or off the court, email email@example.com.