No doubt that I am biased for the team that represents my school. I have taught some of those players. My daughter sits in class with some of them. But they are all my “students.”
Walking into Reynolds Coliseum yesterday on the campus of NC State University will be an experience not easily forgotten – not just because the team I support ended their year on a winning streak and a championship, but as a public school advocate, I witnessed community support for public schools on the highest of levels.
If you saw that crowd of people who were there for the game before ours, you witnessed something not magical or serendipitous. It was a group of communities coming to support their students / young people at a school function. They traveled many miles, paid for tickets, and came to cheer.
The colors of the representative schools were clearly shown. Students chanted, fans yelled positive comments. There was no jeering at the other team.
It was what schools do for communities in its purest form. In Raleigh. Where the NCGA is.
Imagine how many fundraisers went into getting the funds for those teams. Uniforms, equipment, travel, gas, small stipends, etc. And I am sure that those fans would have traveled more miles, paid for a higher price ticket, and had worse seats if it meant being a part of that event.
The spirit wear that each side sported was vibrant. Many of those shirts were made just for that day.
The game before my school’s featured a team who had recently been in the news because they had to move to another gym to play one of their playoff games. Why? Because they did not have updated facilities. It highlighted the disparity in funding for many schools in the state.
The other school came from a rural county. It is in its seventeenth year of existence. Imagine what that can do for a small town.
There were no empty seats in a venue that can accommodate thousands.
While only one team could win the trophy, they both won respect. And the spirit that each side generated for their teams without trying to take anything away from the other was the very picture of how our public schools can be that glue for a community.
Makes one wish that every member of the NCGA could have seen that.
They would have learned something.