Our high school has been open for 11 years, and has been in pursuit of excellence in academics, athletics, the arts and in all areas ever since. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. And we have enjoyed much success.
One of our successful programs has been our Hockey Team, a great family led by a coach highly committed to not only teaching students how to excel at hockey but how to excel in life with character.
Yesterday, they played for the District Championship, with the winner earning a trip to the Frozen 4.
Even making it to the District Final is an achievement for any team, as the Elite 8 in itself is the top of the mountain for many teams.
Indeed, our team had previously been there three times in the past 10 years, certainly an achievement for a young program.
Yes, all three times we have been to this mountain in the past we were thrilled to have the opportunity to make the Elite 8 and play for the chance to go to the Frozen 4.
And each time previously, we lost. Not just lost, but lost in sudden death Overtime.
One championship game we lost in 4 OT's.
And each of the times we came away from that game we kept longing for the "even higher mountain."
It is not enough to make the one mountain if there is a higher mountain out there.
Ask any competitor who has finished runner-up what it means. There is a huge gulf, indeed huge longing, when you reach one mountain and another higher one is still there.
In high school sports, in college sports, in pro sports-- no one is satisfied with making it to the top of just one mountain. And I have been on both sides as a high school principal and as an Ohio State fan. And I have looked into the eyes of outstanding student-athletes devastated because there is another mountain higher that they haven't reached, and not satisfied because they have reached one. Even if life, no one truly is buoyed by being told we are the #2 candidate or choice.
And so, yesterday we took a 1-0 lead only to have the other team score 2 goals in 90 seconds of play.
With both teams battling hard, we carried a 3-2 lead into the third period, only to have the other team score in the first 30 seconds of the third period to tie it up.
And so it remained until the end of the third period.
Yes, our 4th time in the district final, and our 4th overtime. We couldn't believe it. What are the odds-- most likely greater than we think with two of the top Div. 1 teams in Central Ohio fighting hard.
Sudden death. Teams racing up and down the ice. Saves by both goalies. Intense grappling for the puck.
And then it happened. One of our players intercepted a pass, and falling down, passed it to a teammate who buried it high in the net.
Bedlam. Gloves flying off. Sticks sliding across the ice. Players hugging, crying, high-fives! Our student section erupting; proud parents capturing the joy with cell phones posed! Alumni players looking wistfully at the ice.
|Our players celebrate their District Championship and trip to the Frozen 4!|
The top of the mountain. And now the longing for another even higher one-- a different one.
Just as in life.