Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Making a state-ment

Well gang:
Before I embark on my long-awaited first trip outside of North America, I want to give a quick congratulations to both the Kingston and Coleman Catholic girls basketball teams, who will be playing in this weekend's state tournament.
I had the fun of covering both teams winning their regional finals to earn the right to play in the final four.
The utter joy on the faces of the Coleman players with the realization these players earned their first final four berth with a win over Shelter Island was matched by the utter relief on the faces of the Kingston players who realized they earned their second straight final four berth after winning a game against Horseheads that they -- in the words of their own coach -- had no business winning.
Watching those two games made me realize why I love covering local sports as much as I do. Many times, professional athletes take making the playoffs or playing for a championship, as their God-given right.
Teenage kids -- boys or girls -- don't take that for granted.
That probably explains why Coleman senior Kiery Albrecht looked as though she was ready to celebrate with every fan who made the trip to Long Island or the exhausted, emotional look on the face of Kingston senior Amanda Horvers after the Tigers won in the closing seconds in a contest where Horvers would be the first to admit she didn't bring her 'A' game.
That's just fun stuff to cover.
So good luck this weekend and remember to enjoy the moment.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nice guys can succeed

It's always fun to watch good guys succeed.
Steve Garner is that good guy. The Kingston girls basketball coach is about as personable a coach as I have interviewed in my years here at the Freeman.
Watching Garner during the Tigers' Class AA regional basketball victory over White Plains tonight was quite a treat. He really seems to care about his kids -- as I know most coaches do -- and that can manifest itself in many ways. All of them are quite funny.
A moment that stood out during the game happened with the Tigers holding a comfortable lead late and Garner yelling to Rachel Coffey to slow things down. What happens?
A quick pass here, another one there and Kingston scored on a layup in less than 20 seconds.
Garner's reaction? He sat back in his chair, leaned back, put his hands behind his head and smiled as if to say, "OK, I'll take that."
Another moment came when Amanda Horvers was caught in between defending a pair of White Plains players. Garner yelled for her to move closer to the player closer to the basket, who was White Plains top player, which left the outside shooter open to hit a three.
Horvers looked at Garner, threw her hands in the air, as if to say, "what was I supposed to do there?" with Garner responding by throwing his hands in the air, as if to say, "I don't know." It was a very funny exchange without words being said.
Over the years, win or lose, Garner has been good for a quote -- and a laugh. With his team one win away from a second straight final four berth, it's nice to see a good guy not finish last.
Until next time, take care and God bless.