March 2, 2003 -- Fairport
One Fan’s Perspective
There were two games played at 9:00 pm last night at the Blue Cross Arena at
the Rochester War Memorial and both of them took place on the same court.
First, there was the fast-paced action of Class AA basketball between our Red
Raiders and the Orientals of East High. And what a great game that was! East
played their game out at the 3-point arc, scoring all of their first 15 points
of the game with five long range bombs. Fairport, for their part, worked the
ball well, looking for the open shot and taking advantage of their strength
and height deep down in the paint.
And, if you like basketball excitement, there’s nothing quite like OT --
overtime -- especially in the final playoff game. Fairport clung to a one
point lead with four seconds left in OT when an extraordinarily questionable
blocking foul set the stage. Called against the Raiders, the foul set up what
were to be two clutch free-throws by a rather mediocre free-throw shooter who,
to his credit, came through for East and made both shots. That ended up being
the deciding moment of the game.
If you were there just for the basketball, then you weren’t disappointed. But
if all you saw was basketball, then you missed something remarkable.
There was a second game played on that court that you might have missed.
You might have missed the emotion and the fire, the drive and the dedication.
You could see a great deal of that on the court, but you could see just as
much on the Fairport bench. And you didn’t have to look too hard to see the
same intensity in the faces of the couple thousand Fairport fans, either.
With all due respect to Mr. DiVironica over at the D&C, who’s done a fine job
covering Section V basketball again this season, this night's game was not
about heroes and goats. Nope. It was about hopes and dreams. It wasn’t all
about one player, and it wasn’t all about OT. It was about heart and it was
about soul. And the scoreboard doesn’t keep a score for heart & soul.
What this year’s varsity Red Raiders
accomplished (both boys’ and girls’ teams, by the way) is nothing short of
inspiring. In the tradition that is Fairport Basketball, with all of the
outstanding seasons that we’ve seen throughout the years, the boys’ have only
taken home the Section V crown one time -- 1975. This year’s team, though they
may not have returned with the season’s biggest prize, has won our hearts
That they gave it everything they had is not in question. That they were
prepared and up to the challenge is beyond doubt. That they were playing a
very worthy opponent in East is obvious. And, had a couple of bounces been
more in Fairport’s favor, or had a few official’s calls gone the other way, it
might have made a difference in the outcome of the closest and most exciting
game Fairport fans have seen in a very long time.
But that final score, though so much seems to ride on it at times, is a far
less important measure of the season’s success than the fire evident in
Fairport’s eyes and the level at which they played the game. To be sure, there
are rewards for winning the championship trophy. But let’s make sure we don’t
overlook an absolutely fantastic season and the just-as-important lessons that
a hard-fought loss can offer.
Even in the emotion of defeat, Fairport showed the character and class for
which the program has become known. And for that, the coaches, the fans and
the players should be justly proud.
Congratulations Raider coaches, players, parents and fans on a truly