Pray to Play
In the world of sports and on every level of it there are rivalries. Duke/UNC, Yankees/Red Sox, Knicks/Pacers (from back in the day), Bears/Packers, and Auburn/Alabama are examples of big time rivalries at the highest levels of sporting in America. All across this nation there are likely 100's or 1000's of them on the prep level as well.
Count among them one between schools separated by 45 minutes of highway. The thing which sets it apart is that the contests between the schools are distinctly secondary. Whether it be Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, Soccer or anything else, the teams and schools share a stronger kinship then the divisiveness of competition could ever impugn.
That unity is derived from a commitment to Christ & the Christian faith. It is why before the game all or most in attendance joined in prayer. It's why after the game the two teams huddled at center court for a word from their coaches and a prayer. Follow that up with a family style meal, available for all who wanted to partake. Each element combined to create a unique and special evening, which is both rare & common. Rare for respect and unity to trump the outcome of the game but common when looked at with regard to the history of the rivalry.
It was a wonderful reminder of sports creating an opportunity for things more important then sports. Faith and friendship chief amongst them on a Saturday night in January.
As far as the game itself went, Hillcrest started out hot from deep, got out to a big lead and never looked back. The Falcons made took their best shot to come back in the second half but weren't able to climb out the 25+ point hole that Hillcrest managed to put them in. There was a moment that I, & likely many others, did not know was going to happen last night.
The moment was a milestone for one of Park Christian's players. When milestones happen on home court it's all the better While the sting of a loss may dampen the accomplishment in the short term, for Steele Senske to get his 1,000th point as a junior at home is a special accomplishment.
It's a lot to pack into one night, yet it all went off without a hitch. Hillcrest remained perfect on the year and Park created some memories while also showing some areas in need of improvement. However the seasons go for each team from here, many of the things that happened are worth remembering well beyond the final score or any particular play in the game.