Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Random Ramblings-2014 State Tournament

Each year the IGHSAU allows each school to select one adult fan to honor with a sportsmanship award.  After discussion with our coaches we were all in agreement that we would have Al Moreland receive this honor before our opening game.  Al is big supporter of our programs, travelling all over to watch our teams.  He is also a major player in many of our events as a volunteer, keeping clock at all levels of football and basketball games, in addition to, keeping the scoreboard at JV softball games.  Thanks Al!

What can you say about our crowd?  Unbelievable. The support that the Carlisle community has shown to this team has been beyond anything we could have imagined.  Our school community thanks the larger Carlisle community for your support.  You've made a difference in the tournament run and had an impact in the last two games for sure.  Thank You!!  

Our student section?  Let's be honest, we've gotten so much better.  We were struggling with sportsmanship a little bit for awhile.  We've worked on it, tried to be more in line with what we strive to be in high school athletics.  We've worked on cheering for our team, not so much against the other team.  I think one of the things I've seen in high school crowds in general, not just at CHS, are modeling major university crowds. They are two different animals. Anyway, enough of that for now.

NOW, I can't wait to talk about our student body. You've received high praise from all over the state for what you did by helping the North Scott crowd at their opening game when they were split up having to be in Des Moines and at a boys sub state game in Clinton.  We've received several e-mails complimenting you on what you did, and how you did it.

In our game you helped to create what some have called the "best atmosphere at a girls state tournament game since it came to Wells Fargo Arena".  And, you did it with class, organization, and enthusiasm.  Oh yeah, and you were LOUD!! I see a whole new level of camaraderie in our students, a great spirit, and most of all, I see you having fun, and not at the expense of others.  It's created a fantastic atmosphere.  

One security worker, who was down in front of our crowd, told me that Carlisle had the best student section he's ever seen at a high school tournament game.

A media person in front of our students said he has never seen anything like it before, and couldn't believe how well done it was, and how class it was.

A Carlisle fan told me that she was sitting close to you on Tuesday night and couldn't say enough of how proud she was of your spirit and the way you did it with class.

Catching a theme?

High Praise!  Well Deserved! Well Done CHS Student Body!  We're very proud of you.  Keep up the fantastic work.  You're making a difference by what you're doing, and having a lot of fun in the process.

And, oh yeah, there's this team.  A team that has been playing at a high level for several weeks now, and has allowed us to share in the memories they've been making.  Here they were on Tuesday night in a tough spot again. Down by 14 midway through the first quarter to a DC-G team that was clicking and had beaten us soundly in November.  

They were on the ropes, but fought through it, and slowly worked their way back into the game.  No panic.  Just consistent effort, defense, and execution until an Agatha Beier lay-up with 2:45 left in the game gave us our first lead.  From there, a lot of stops, a perfect in bounds play, and a few free throws, and for the first time since 1967, the Carlisle Wildcats are playing in the State Semi-Finals.  Actually, another first, because the last time would have been during the 6 on 6 era. 

And wasn't this one of the best moments of the night? 

Well Done ALL Wildcats!!  

So, we'll see you all Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena as we face the Harlan Community Cyclones at 6:45.  Do you Believe? 


Monday, March 3, 2014

2014 State Tournament - Carlisle Girls Basketball


You may have heard about it:  A team going from 1-22 to 19-6 and a spot in the Class 4A State Tournament.  A team going 0-16 in conference play a year ago, to winning a share of the conference championship on the last night of the regular season.  Did you happen to hear about that?  If not, you may have been under a rock, or out of the country.  OK, maybe that's a bit extreme, but chances are if you're reading this, you've heard about it, and possibly have been witness to it, in one way or another.

A lot has been written by media and a local TV station (WHO) will be running a lengthy segment on the team before they begin the state tournament run, but I want to briefly write about something that has stuck out to me in the last few weeks.

TEAM!  The Carlisle Girls Basketball Team bench. I have enjoyed watching how engaged they have been in the last four games.  As a guy who did his share of coaching for 27 years, I always believed that the team was going to be no more successful than the sum of all of its parts.  I believe that to be true of any successful team, organization, or business.  Sure, there are people that our out front, who get bigger chunks of praise or attention because of the talents they've been blessed with, but the entire team cannot achieve success, unless everyone does their job, and is engaged in the process.

In this instance, basketball, the 2013-14 Carlisle girls basketball team has achieved what they have done so far because the entire team has been doing their job.  This is a tribute to the players, coaches, and parents who are part of this year's team.  I believe this is one of the beauties of what we do in high school activities, and one of the great life skills that will serve our young people well in their future.

Case in point, a business that I know of has a philosophy of hiring the best people that they can, and then training them to do the job they need them to do.  Sure, there are some skills their employees need to have, but their goal is to hire people that are going to be good teammates in their organization with the belief that they will be good workers.  What's the result of that business philosophy?  Being named the "State Champions" in the State of Iowa as the best workplace for small companies in 2012.

You see, what this team has done is set the bar, and been an example, of what a TEAM should look like.  Many of our other sports and activities have experienced it over the years, but our goal is to make this a consistent quality in all of our programs.  It takes coaches able to define players roles on the team, players willing to accept and fulfill those roles with pride and enthusiasm, and parents who accept the role their child has been given, and supports them and the team.  When those three things come together, excellence is possible, and winning can happen.

Good Luck to the Carlisle Girls Basketball Team at the State Tournament.  It's been a great season. Thanks for letting us all enjoy it with you.

Enjoy some of the photos that I think define this group.  Thanks to Jamie Fitzgerald for taking and sharing them with us.