Archive for Thursday, June 2, 2005

Opinion: What a year for BLHS

June 2, 2005

You'll have to excuse me if this column makes me seem a little too proud.

But I'm not worried about how I look. This has been a long time coming, and I'm thrilled to write about it.

The other day, pieces of paper with the all-Kaw Valley League baseball and softball teams were placed on my desk. The first thing I noticed was how many times the words "Basehor-Linwood" were scattered across both pages.

Next week, the Sentinel will provide full coverage of both of those teams, so sit tight until then.

In the meantime, let me share with you just what went through my mind when I saw all those Bobcats earn all of those first-team honors.

My first thought was joy. Joy for guys like Josh Ishmael, Kyle Speichinger and Lucas Williamson, three BLHS baseball players who defined what it means to represent the Bobcats on the field. And three young men who did an even better job representing BLHS off the field.

To end their high school careers with such an awesome honor only seemed appropriate.

That got me thinking. My thoughts of joy quickly turned to amazement, as I realized just how successful this year has been for the BLHS sports family.

First there was the return of football. Coach Steve Hopkins and a group of hard workers got the Bobcats back into the playoffs, no small feat considering how low the BLHS football program had fallen.

That thought immediately brought me to basketball, where I couldn't help but smile when thinking about the turnarounds both the boys and girls basketball program enjoyed this season.

Neither team qualified for state or anything drastic like that, but both appear to have bright futures, and I look forward to the challenge of coming up with clever ways to say "Bobcats become league champions" in future headlines.

Already thrilled with how successful the 2004-2005 season has been, I then started thinking about track and softball, the last two BLHS sports left standing this season.

Both teams reached state and both exceeded expectations in doing so.

In addition, neither team lost much and future trips to their respective state tournaments are sure to be just a year away.

The realization brought upon by these thoughts was somewhat overwhelming.

I mean just a year or two ago seeing the colors green and gold became synonymous with losing. Everywhere you went people chalked up games against the Bobcats as easy wins.

For me that was tough to see. See, back in 2001, I started my professional sports writing career by covering the Bobcats, and in those days BLHS was as strong as ever. State appearances -- and even state title runs --ere not uncommon, and no matter what the sport BLHS always fielded competitive teams.

The downfall that the school suffered for the past couple of seasons was really nobody's fault. Sometimes that's just the way it goes in high school sports.

But as a Bobcat fan, and more importantly someone with a little Bobcat history, it's great to see the green and gold back on top.

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