End of the Bench

 The Road to PIAA Championships

 Congratulations to all schools, teams and individual qualifiers to the PIAA post-season playoffs, the Road to PIAA Championships. It’s an exciting time of year and one in which we recognize those superior performances and recognize the best teams and individuals in three sports; wrestling, swimming & diving and basketball. The numbers here are sobering so take a moment to reflect on the tremendous accomplishment it is to win a PIAA championship.

In wrestling, there will be 1064 bouts contested by 560 wrestlers that will crown 28 individuals and 4 team champions in 2 classifications.

In swimming and diving, 2043 athletes will compete in 48 events and we will crown 48 individual state champions and 4 team champions in 2 classifications of boys and girls.

In basketball, 384 teams will play 372 games and result in only 12 schools winning PIAA championships across 6 classifications and 2 genders.

The difference between winning and losing is very narrow and we recognize all those that play in these tournaments and have won or advanced at their local, district or regional levels. They are champions in their own right. Champions by their participation in educational based athletics and developing the skills of teamwork, leadership, discipline, dedication, goal setting and the hard work and effort it takes to make these aspirations come true.

However, we need to make sure we are all on same page. This year we have seen fan abuse of coaches, officials, players and school administrators. We are seeing a critical shortage of sports officials because of these abuses. So here’s an idea; support your teams, communities and individuals by cheering loudly and often. But don’t be that person; the one that is boorish, foul, offensive to all around them and an embarrassment to their community. Leave the unsportsmanlike acts at home and enjoy tremendous performances by young people that will be tomorrow’s leaders which you have the privilege to see today.

Be positive, be polite and be proud. Make athletics what they are intended to be; an enjoyable, competitive, learning experience. Use the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, in Teach the Children https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkaKwXddT_I to make it all work for you.

Thank you and we’ll see you on the Road to the PIAA Championships.