“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan
Think back and try to remember one moment in your life, when there was that feeling of ‘something’ that you felt inside of you, because something was about to happen that you felt seemed impossible. Remember that flash of hope, that feeling of “is this really going to happen”. (If you have lived in the Boston area, the Red Sox finally winning the World Series, easily comes to my mind). Now, imagine, being twelve or thirteen years old and not only having that feeling of hope but also realizing that that you are the only ones to determine the outcome of that dream. I imagine that this is what David felt in meeting Goliath.
I am not going to lie to you, and as I write this, I am not going to pretend that I am unaffected. I want this young team’s dream of having an undefeated season to be a reality. I want it, not because I have a son that plays on the team. That would be too easy of a want. I want it for them, for the simple reason that the odds have been stacked against them. They are and have been the underdogs, yet, they are still winning. Collectively, the Cheverus team is made up of the most diverse players, culturally, in their league. Just looking at their young faces, of many colors, you can see the hope, the expectation and if I were to be honest, a little bit of fear and trepidation. As a team from Malden, sometimes they have been put down verbally; they have been called names that I refuse to put onto paper, but have heard with my own ears. Maldonian’s may be different, we may be unique, but we are a proud group. Underneath it all, we are no different from anyone else. We are a city filled with good, hardworking, culturally diverse people. We are better than what many say we are. Teams based in Malden have the potential to win, just like any other team. What does set us apart at times is that collectively these Malden teams persevere through the good, bad and the ugly. Even more importantly, the young athletes never give up. Our children are not born with these qualities, but have learned over time from the positive role models and the people they have, in their lives, on a daily basis.
Where does this tiny Cheverus basketball team stand to date since I last wrote about them? They have continued to win their games and last night (Thursday) they played against St. Patrick’s of Stoneham in Medford. Once again, they won. This tiny, scrappy team, still, is beating the odds and the Cheverus Cardinals have officially clinched the CYO league for the first time in school history. The Cardinals have joined an elite group, as only two teams have been in this position in the past twenty years - St. Agnes of Arlington and Cathedral of Boston.
The Cheverus Cardinal’s have one more game to go. Their final game of the season will be played at Cheverus School Monsignor Foley Hall, Monday night, February 11, 2013 at 7:00pm against the league champions of the last twenty years, Saint Agnes of Arlington. These Cheverus boys, from this tiny patch of fabric that makes up a piece of the quilt we call Malden, needs your support and encouragement to help complete their journey that they started in November - to be 16-0. I know, in the grand scheme of things, this may seem small to some people; may seem even unimportant in light of everything that has been happening around this beautiful city lately, but to a small group of boys, it means so much. My wish is this; I would like to see as many people that can, show up in support of this valiant group of boys and coaches. Monsignor Foley Hall is a small gym and I can not promise you that you will get a seat and more than likely the game will be standing room only, but I can promise you this - you will leave feeling better having witnessed, experienced and most importantly supported something pretty special in these young men’s lives. If you are able to attend, I also ask, if possible, that you wear something purple, so that the boys know that you are there to support them. That you know their story and understand what they are going through. You are saying to them, win or lose you are saying loudly "I get it! and I want this for you also!" Why purple? From the beginning of the season, this young 7th and 8th grade basketball team has shown their support of Project Purple by wearing purple laces on their sneakers. (Former Boston Celtic, Chris Herren launched Project Purple to bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse.)
If you are not able to attend the game, but can write a small comment showing your support or pass along their story through Facebook, Twitter or email asking your friends to do the same – I believe all of that positive energy and well wishes will reach them and be felt.
I stated in my first article, I believe that this young team’s miracle has already happened, because they continually exhibit strength of character and perseverance both off and on the basketball court. I still believe what I wrote - yet, right now, I am believing in a little bit more.