The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 23, 2001

Features

Playing this one for the kids

Concord-Carlisle senior Katie Wayland shares her thoughts prior to the state final vs. Oxford.

In a game played by the tallest of athletes, it was a group made up of slightly smaller proportions that opened our eyes. These are the younger kids of Concordthe middle and elementary school boys and girlsthe ones that cheer for every play, who proudly paint their faces maroon and gold, who scream their loudest, ask for autographs, and smile in appreciation in a way only kids can.

We aren't famous, but they make us feel like we are. So we want to play the right way, win the right way, and act the right way because we know that we are being looked up to. These kids of Concord are our biggest fansand we are theirs, because they made us realize that this season has become bigger than we had ever envisioned.

I've never enjoyed a season quite like this. We knew in November that we would have a successful journey back to the state tournament. Now in March, we're still undefeated and have just one game left, the state championship. Winning is certainly satisfying, but as I reflect on the season, it is the incredible notion of "team" that will be most memorable.

Erin (Flynn), Courtney (Flynn), Lisa (Andrews) and I have played together since middle school, but never have we become so inseparable as in these past few weeks. School has become an extended team huddle, as we find ourselves wanting this season to never end. We play with such intensity because the fear of losing is transcended by the fear of disappointing your three best friends.

At a certain level, athletics become less a contest of physical skill, but of mentality. Bruised knees and elbows are a source of pride for the players of CCHS. These are our badges of honor. This is what I like about the team so muchwe are here to play the game, not just be spectators.

Today's game will represent an unusual paradox of emotions. The state championship game marks the end of the seniors' high school careers. In this way, I am anxious and sad, excited and apprehensive. What calms me, though, is what I've learned this past month. This season will never end because we are no longer playing for ourselves. We are playing for our parents, our teachers, our school, and our town. We play for the kids of Concord.

Katie Wayland is a senior on the Concord-Carlisle girls basketball team. She will attend Stanford University in the fall.

Reprinted from the March 17 Metro-West Daily News


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