I sure hope the kids on the Oshkosh North and Oshkosh West boys basketball teams realize how good they have it. Winning all of those conference titles. Playing for sectional championships and state titles every year. A few days in Madison every March may as well be built into the school calendar at West (we could use those as snow makeup days if the team doesn't go to state).
When I was in high school we didn't win squat. We didn't make it out of the first round of the playoffs in any year. It didn't help that we had to play teams with Tony Bennett and Jeff Messenger on them. But for us, just a win in the post-season would have been huge. Whenever I tell coaches that I played at Bay Port, I always have to preface it by saying that I went there before they got good at every sport.
We didn't enjoy the big crowds that will pack the Kolf Sports Center tonight and tomorrow. Average attendance was all of the guys who couldn't stand the coach and didn't go out for basketball--our friends--and our parents. There were some nights we were outcheered by visiting fans in our own gym. Wrestling was the big sport at that time--and they got the big student turnout and the community support.
But that was okay. We didn't quit playing, and I still thoroughly enjoyed my high school sports experience. I think you actually learn a lot more by losing than you do by winning. It's easy to come in for the morning practice they day after you win your 10th game in a row. It shows real commitment when you come in the day after losing your 10th in row. And best of all, you learn that sometimes life isn't fair. Sometimes a ref will make a bad call and you lose or someone makes a crazy last second shot. You also find out that some people are better at certain things than others--either by raw talent or hard work. Nobody said "Ashwaubenon, you have won more games than you really needed to--you should give some of them to Bay Port so they feel better about themselves."
So I hope the players and the fans at the Kolf appreciate just how special this situation is because there are a lot of us out there that never got to experience it. May the best team win.