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ATHLETES SHOW THAT DREAMS CAN STAY AFLOAT

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / March 28, 1998

When James Cameron first proposed the idea for Titanic, there was a lot of laughter from his critics. As he said, it was going to be period piece, itwas going to be expensive, everybody dies at the end and there is no chance for a sequel.

The criticism got louder as the movie was being made. Costs overruns andcomplaints of Cameron’s method of directing looked to doom the project.

And when the opening of the movie was pushed back from the summer to December, many predicted the “ship of dreams” would sink once again and become one of the biggest white elephants of all time.

Look who is laughing now.

Titanic has become the most successful movie in history, surpassing the $500 million mark in the United States and grossing over a billion dollars worldwide. Monday night, it became the second movie in history to capture11 Academy Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.

But without Cameron’s determination, none of that would have ever happened. He had a dream and would not let his critics get in the way. Hebelieved in his dream and that belief paid off more than anybody ever thought possible.

Last Saturday and in this issue, L’Observateur named its All-River Parishes boys and girls teams. Those 14 girls and 13 boys are likeCameron in a way. They too have had dreams and have in some way had toovercome adversity. Maybe it was an injury or self doubt about theirabilities or a heartbreaking defeat. But they overcame these obstacles tobecome some of the best players in the area.

Although each of these players put up impressive statistics, the selections go beyond the numbers. Many of them were the team captains orled the team on the floor. Each had moments during the year when theystepped up to lead the team to a victory. Each was recommended by theircoaches for their hard work on and off the court and for setting standards for their teammates to emulate.

The coaches named have led their teams to memorable seasons despite having to overcome obstacles of their own. They have overcome injuries,inexperience and the loss of key players to become district champions.

Some of these players will take their game to the next levels. Others haveplayed their last game of competitive basketball. But even if some neverget the opportunity to play again, they can keep in their hearts the memories they have created for their schools and their communities.

Another group of young men were also creating memories this week. TheSt. John Parish Warriors captured the international championshipWednesday with a 64-57 victory over Plaquemine. Those 12 youngstersdelivered in the clutch, holding off the Blue Devils time and time again to bring home the championship.

These young men and women have also given us a model to follow. Theyhave shown us what happens when we chase our dreams and never give up.

We may all hit icebergs in our lives. We just have to remember to neverlet go.

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