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Memories That Help Define the Prep Sports Year

Out of Perspective

June 11, 1996|MIKE TERRY

Who could forget watching the Costa Mesa boys' basketball team fight off the last remnants of grief in playing their first game after the funeral of Coach Jason Ferguson, who died of cancer at 24.

Or the unabashed exhilaration of Esperanza upsetting then nationally top-ranked Los Alamitos in football. Fullerton showed a similar joy in ending a nine-year losing streak to Sunny Hills, en route to an undefeated Freeway League season.

Santa Margarita's boys' basketball team fulfilled a pledge the seniors made as freshmen to play in the Pond for a Division II championship. They also won the game against Riverside North.

And there was the stirring battle by La Puente Bishop Amat and Fountain Valley for the Division I baseball title. Bishop Amat won with a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh, dethroning the two-time defending champions.

But for me, the defining moment of the 1995-96 prep season had nothing to do with the best of sport.

Rosamond reached a new low in ethics and sportsmanship when it sent doctored game tapes to Orange Lutheran before the Division X championship football game. It was later revealed Rosamond had done the same thing to several teams.

Rosamond was disqualified a day before the championship game. It cost the coaches their jobs. It cost the players--the innocent victims--a chance for great memories.

It pointed out to me the bloated level of overemphasis high school sports has reached.

These are still just games. There are more important things, beginning with classroom education.

Yes, everyone wants to win a title, and there are enough historical examples in American sports lore where such chicanery as Rosamond's has been winked at--even applauded.

But sports is also used to teach life lessons regarding teamwork and fair play to reach an honorable goal. Unfortunately, teamwork and fair play are looking more like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza battling windmills of deceit and unrealistic expectations.

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