Last night (Friday January 6) in Framingham, the Newton North Boys’ Basketball team struggled against a scrappy opponent that they were expected to beat, but sometimes these games are not destined to be easy.
What made this game stand out over others (recent wins over crosstown Newton South, tournament nemesis Catholic Memorial, and always-fierce rival Brookline), was that it was the 300th victory for Coach Paul Connolly.
First off, congratulations Coach- as a parent of a former player, I was privileged to witness the regard in which the players and opponents always regard you. I’m hoping there are many more.
For context: besides being a round number, what does 300 mean? Is that a lot? I had a peek at the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Association Website and while there is company (and 500+ wins seems rarer indeed), the answer is yes. Also, consider that this is (I believe) Connolly’s 16th season leading the Tigers, that would mean an average of about 20 wins per year (in seasons that usually last about 25 games or so), and that is quite an elite winning percentage.
We know that not all teams win and there is more to coaching than piling up victories, but we can still honor that success alongside the year-in and year-out job all the coaches have of helping teach these young men and women about teamwork, leadership, pressure, sportsmanship and handling disappointment, and preparing them for their post-high school years. It’s not an easy job for them, having to make cuts, allot playing time, and deal with parents like me.
Those of you who follow high school sports here know that the boys teams are not hurting for fans or attention, but the games are fun, inexpensive outings; please also check out the North and South girls’ teams (also highly-ranked), or any number of less-well-attended sports played year-round at both schools.