Let’s begin by saying I’ve been involved in sports long before many of our Patch readers have been around – either as a participant, a coach, a board member, a writer, a photographer or just a plain old fan.
Being a die-hard Mets, Jets, Rangers and Knicks fan I’ve learned the hard way to deal with adversity. But luckily things changed when we moved into Garden City, although I still had my professional team allegiances, I began rooting for the local sports programs. What a bandwagon to jump on! From intramural sports through the high school, every program has had tremendous success.
I’ll try to focus on the things that will try to engage you in a dialogue, but more than likely offer a viewpoint that maybe only I can understand. Well, let’s give it a shot - I’ll kick this off with our high school girls programs.
Have you ever talked to anyone outside of Garden City that is interested in high school sports? Well I have and whenever the discussion goes to the girls programs it’s hard to imagine a town as talented as ours. Too bad ESPN or Sports Illustrated doesn’t hold a poll for top girls programs across all sports in America because we’d have to be near the top!
When you think about the accomplishments of the girls in 2010 and 2011 - state championships in lacrosse, soccer and track and county champs in field hockey, swimming, basketball, golf and fencing - coupled with the number of athletes that have earned individual honors at an All-American, All-State and All-County level, you have a town that is a powerhouse for girls sports.
But it doesn’t stop with their athletics, because Garden City High School was named for a fifth time in 2010 a scholar/athlete school of distinction. Graduating seniors are regularly going on to elite universities such as Harvard, Yale, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Boston College and the list goes on to look more like a top 25 of The Best of the Best in American Universities. And I haven’t even touched upon the girls in town who elect to go to private high schools and excel at programs at Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Mercy, Kellenberg or Waldorf.
The spring season is well on its way to producing additional outstanding results – golf, track and lacrosse are all undefeated while softball and badminton are well over .500 and all are heading to conference and county championships.
So tell me, what’s in the water when it comes to girls sports? Or better yet, what’s in the programs that are offered to these kids when they are growing up?
It’s one thing to have outstanding high school coaches (which we do) that can develop athletes, but in our town it seems like the youth programs have developed at a pace far quicker than those of other towns and deliver numerous varsity-ready athletes to the high school. Travel programs such as Centennials soccer and Rams lacrosse, as well as the GCAA and CYO intramural programs in a variety of sports, have all helped to elevate the talent pool that eventually gets to the high school. Often times the Garden City teams in these various leagues are playing at the top of their age groups.
So a tip of the hat should go out to not only the high school girls and coaches but also to all of those women and men that have blown a whistle, handled a stop watch and put in an extraordinary number of hours during those developing years of our student athletes.