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All right Tiger sports fans grab a seat in the bleachers and let’s get going. Even in this closed down, rearranged and generally standing-on-its-head season I’ve got some news that ought to get a Tiger roar or two.

Looks like our cross-country team has a coach after all. You know the team. Brand new and first season out of the gate in 2019-20 and the two captains, the boys’ squad Buddy Neeley, and Kodi Hayhurst from the girls’ get awarded All-District. Oh yeah, and both squads qualified for state. Going into this season, they had no coach. In fact, until a few days ago, they had no coach. Well, someone stepped up and stepped up big time. Tiger track and field assistant coach CJ Tooley-Haro took on the responsibility so that this team can continue to do its part to restore the roar. Thank you Tiger cross-country Head Coach Haro. They have their first meet October 10. Watch here for more details.

Ok, next. Here’s where it gets even better. I was looking at our Tiger volleyball team. First off, they’re looking good. Plenty of talent and plenty of energy. They’re in the Den five days a week working out, at least as much as they are currently allowed. Not as much as we’d like, but it’s a start. And, they have matches scheduled. In fact, they have a home match on October 13, against Magdalena. More on all fall sports schedules will be coming soon.

And there’s more. We don’t know how many fans will be allowed in, or even if they will be. I’m thinking we won’t have that piece of info for another week or two. The bright spot here is that KCHS/Sentinel are gearing up to live stream the home volleyball matches, much like we do the football games. As long as our Tiger athletes are competing, at least here at home, you’ll be able to see them.

Fall is for volleyball, cross-country and golf this year. Next year, let’s get back to Friday night lights, okay?

Alright, here’s a couple things. I’m putting on all my Tiger gear now, because here’s a couple things that are just for you Tiger athletes out there. The rest of you? Well, you can just skip ahead to the next article on the page.

There’s been an issue. It creeps up just about every year with one team or another. I’ve seen its ugly head rear up here every year I’ve been hanging around the Den. Frankly, I should have said something about it a long time ago. I didn’t. That’s on me. But okay, let’s open up a can of worms here, alright? I’m NOT going to mention any names. Not going mention any specific teams. Well, maybe one. Wait for it, you’ll see.

Here’s the thing. Championship teams are built out of a lot of pieces. Any athlete who’s ever been on one will testify. It was one of the greatest experiences in their life. Not many things equal the feeling of being on top in the final game when the final horn blows.

But yeah, there’s a lot of pieces that go into a championship team. Athletes of course, with a very high skill set and an insurmountable work ethic. It takes exceptional coaching with a solid, skilled coaching staff and a plan and vision. It takes athletes who are coachable, and who more than anything want to be better than they were yesterday. And yeah, it takes a fair bit of luck as well.

It takes one other thing though, one thing that we just don’t see enough of. It takes every single athlete, from one end of the bench to the other, to embrace the idea of team as family. It takes living that idea. Every teammate is a brother or a sister. It means being friends and then finding a way to be even closer. It takes sacrifice and putting team and teammates first. To quote one team’s motto, it takes “We over me.”

Now that one team. Our championship boys’ basketball team exhibited this quality. Think about it. If you saw one guy from that team anywhere, you almost always saw five or six of seven more. THAT is how you build champions. That bond is how an athlete can anticipate just what every other teammate is going to do, where they will be and what they need to produce the best result. Without this last piece, you might be a really good athlete, you might have a pretty good team. BUT you won’t be hoisting that championship banner up into the rafters of the Den. Think about it. ‘Nuff said? Darn straight!

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