From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 26, 1999

Senior leadership.

Ask any high school coach what are the key ingredients to being a winner and almost every one of them will include senior leadership. And lookingback at the success local teams have had over the past year, it is quite evident that ingredient can be found in abundance in this year’s senior class.

The 1998-99 prep sports year is over. This past week area seniorsreceived their diplomas, marking their farewell to their high school careers. They will soon be looking ahead to their futures, whether it becollege, employment or the military. But at the same time they can lookback at their high school days with a sense of accomplishment.

Forty years from now these seniors will be able to place their grandchildren on their laps and have quite a few stories to tell about their high school careers. They will meet former classmates and teammates,and soon talk will get around to “Hey, remember in 1999 when…”The seniors will talk about awards won, and the list is quite long. Theyhave won everything from Player of the Game to Player of the Year awards.

They have received all-district, all-River Parishes, all-Metro and all- State honors. Many have also demonstrated excellence in the classroom aswell and have been named to all-Academic teams.

These athletes have won district, regional and state championships in football, basketball, softball, baseball, cross country, swimming, soccer and track and field. But the bigger impact is the one they have made onthose around them. In the course of the last year these seniors have ledtheir teams to district and regional championships. They have made acombined 10 semifinal appearances and played in a combined three state championship games.

The road to these honors has not been easy. Some of these seniors have hadto overcome injuries, showing the courage and willingness to go through the pain and rehabilitation to continue their careers. Some have had toovercome detractors who at one time have said they were not good enough.

They have proven otherwise.

There have been early morning runs and conditioning programs. Practicesthat have run into sundown. These seniors have done what was necessary,both in the classroom and on the field, in order to continue playing. Theyhave celebrated big wins and shed tears after tough losses.

What they will leave behind will go far behind a trophy or a plaque in a trophy case. They will leave behind indelible memories, memories thatfans will talk about for years to come.

Some of these seniors have taken off their uniforms for the last time.

Others will now take their games to the next level. They will have theopportunity to represent their communities, and if the past is any indication, they should do quite well. They have left quite an impactalready.

For that we should be grateful.

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