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Outside of the team room of the Staunton River girls’ basketball team, there is a clipping from one of the local papers. It is the preseason predictions and it shows the Eagles landing in fourth place.
I can’t reveal which newspaper made this prediction (but its name rhymes with Doanoke Limes). I can, however, understand how that prediction was made, the Eagles having lost many to graduation from last year’s second-place squad.
I made no predictions this season on the girls’ side. I figured it would be just too tough to call. Any one of five teams would be in the running, or so I figured.
What I hadn’t figured, nor did the guy over at the Limes, was that the Lady Eagles would finish 12-0 with an undisputed Seminole District regular season title under their collective belt.
I also hadn’t figured on how strongly the Staunton River community would rally around this team.
It’s a good thing they built that brand new gym at the school. Against Rustburg, last Thursday night, the place was packed with a very supportive crowd. The Lady Eagles didn’t disappoint, clinching the Seminole title, 53-41.
That game seemed to open up a dam of suppressed emotion that has been keyed by years of futility.
In the three years I’ve been covering the Bedford sports beat, I have been impressed with the toughness of the Staunton River kids across all of the school’s teams.
I have been less-than-impressed with the outcomes of those same teams’ games.
I don’t care to count the number of Staunton River teams that have finished at the bottom of the Seminole.
I don’t care to recall those games where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory by some bizarre turn of events.
I know that the athletes hear it from their classmates and that the abuse can be quite cutting.
I know that these same athletes are well aware of the fact that they are often playing in front of nearly empty bleachers.
Yet, these Staunton River jocks persevere.
And now, one of the school’s teams has broken out of the mold of losing.
More importantly, the members of this team refused to play not to lose. Instead, they play to win....fully expecting victory whenever they take to the court.
Can the thrill these girls gave to their school and to their community become the seed that produces additional winners at Staunton River?
It’s certainly way too early to try to forecast that. But, we know that these young ladies know how to be winners—all of them.
There were plenty of girls on this championship team who saw very limited playing time during games, yet they bear the title of winners.
They are every bit a part of this winning team. They are key parts of something special, They helped out by pushing their teammates in practices, giving pointers and support during games and just by showing enthusiasm.
They will now have the memory of their golden season, something that they will never, ever lose.
I know that if I were a student at Staunton River High School with even a modicum of talent, I’d be trying out for some sport.
What’s that old saying about better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all? Well, finally and at long last, these Staunton River jocks tried and they won.