In my opinion, the greatest aspect of sports is how it brings a common group of people together. It may be 85-plus-degrees outside today, but my mind drifts back to six months ago, with snow on the ground and excitement in the frozen air.
On Feb. 20, 2016, the Harrisburg Academy community came together to support and witness history in the making. The Varsity Girls’ Basketball team had the chance to become the first team in Academy basketball history to advance to the PIAA State tournament. As a team, we were excited to play in a District game (versus our rival, Lancaster Country Day School) at home and in front of our fans. We had earned the advantage to have our loyal fans support us in our most important moment. However, nothing prepared us for the atmosphere and enthusiasm that would ensue. We had alumni, parents (from all grade levels), administration, teachers, and our Upper School student body at the game to support us. I was so grateful and moved that all of these people would come out to support the girls.
During the game, our fan section was cheering so loud and truly giving us the home court advantage. Our Upper School student section was sensational. They were the heart and soul of our community fan base. Each of the students wore a gold shirt in a unified show of support. During timeouts, they would be so loud getting the rest of the crowd pumped up that the girls could not hear me coaching. They were full of so much energy that I fed off of it during momentum swings during the game — and I could tell that our players fed off the energy as well. They put as much effort as they could put into a game. In my years of coaching, this was one of the top moments in Academy sports history.
After we won the game, we went into a classroom across the hall from the gymnasium to celebrate. However, Dr. Newman told us that the fans wanted the team to come back out! We re-entered the gym, and everyone was still clapping and cheering for us. It was like we were in a sports movie! After reflecting on all of this, I believe that the accomplishment, itself, was overwhelming, however being able to share it with the community was even more special.
As we start a new academic year full of promise, I can’t wait to see what kind of new athletics victories, lessons, and memories are in store for Harrisburg Academy.