From My View For February 19
I can remember like it was yesterday when I saw on television West Virginia Head Boys Basketball Coach Bob Huggins kneeling down to the floor to hug Da’Sean Butler who had put the team on his back in the post-season of his senior year and took it through the Big 12 Tournament to the championship with game-winning shots one after another and led them to the Final Four before blowing out his knee in a semifinal loss to Duke.
That day reminded me how a coach can get emotional like I am while writing this column. He can show his players the respect he has for not only for his team, but the opposing team as well.
It was at the end of a hard-fought semi-final OVAC Class-1A game for Hundred, that went back and forth, with a team that had beaten them year-after-year, time-after-time on the hard-wood, that reminded me of that day when Coach Huggins showed his emotion of his player that played his heart out and would never play another collegiate game.
But, this time it was the Madonna Head Coach George Vargo showing his emotion going over to congratulate the Hundred team by rapping his arms around those kids from Hundred who just left everything they had on the hardwood floor.
They didn’t get injured, but they came back from a double-digit deficit in the closing minutes only to lose by three points. The Hornets who has been a door-stop for many years to teams like Madonna, played right with them in the OVAC Semi-final. They lost to the Blue Dons earlier in the season, and brought their A-game once again to the Hornets.
Coach Vargo told the boys how honored he was to have played them and told them to keep their heads up high. That they all gave it their best, and he told them that thay were the best he has ever seen at Hundred in his 24-years of coaching. He hugged not only the top scorers in the game, but others too, including the coaches.
I believe he is one of the top high school coaches around, he is a class act, and the Madonna squad is lucky to have him. Not only as a coach, but a role-model.
However, you still must give HHS Head Coach Virgil Wilkins a lot of credit on his behavior on and off the hard-wood. I would put him along side of only a handful of area coaches in that same conditions. We are definitely blessed here in the Ohio Valley to have coaches like Coaches Vargo and Wilkins.
They of course want to win, but for the most part, they are here to help our kids become good citizens as well as good mothers and fathers. You just don’t know what you can see at a hotly contested ball game, but around this area you will also see fairness and sportsmanship.
Good luck to Madonna against Frontier in the finals and of course to Hundred in their game against Cameron.
Both games against Cameron were one point games a win and loss, so expect another outstanding high school basketball game.