Real Talent: Pretend to Contend

Sam Chambers
Mavericks get motivated for SPC now in preparation for competition countdown.
SPC started in the mid 1950's when Casady School of Oklahoma joined the ATPS (Association of Texas Private Schools). A lot has changed since then, including adding Houston as the site of the winter games, but for the athlete, a lot has remained the same.
A Championship weekend raises the heart rate, adrenaline, and focus to a different level than in the regular season. 

Before Bill Bradley was a Rhodes scholar, U.S. Senator, and the American Basketball Hall of Fame, he played basketball for the Princeton Tigers in the 1960's.  In John McPhee's A Sense of Where You Are, Bradley tells how he got mentally ready to play against Yale, one of Princeton's big rivals.  In fact he did nothing to get ready for Yale since the game already was perceived to be of major importance.  Yet in games that were difficult to get a pulse, such as for Columbia, Bradley fabricated his own mojo.   In this case, Columbia blue was "turned into" Bulldog blue. 

In the movie Water Boy, Adam Sandler (Bobby Boucher) is the water boy for the South Central Louisiana State Mud Dogs.  A ridiculed youth, Boucher, the newly formed player, channels his anger by pretending his opponents are the people who taunted him. 

St. John's Mavericks are getting ready to hit the mats, floors, and pitches with their own hearts, minds, and mojo.
Nathan Avery, freshman All-State wrestler, is looking forward to "the fun of playing at a higher level."
Boys' Basketball captain William Young's mind will not wander much.  "Oh man it is all about playing tough D, and staying focused all the time.  We are playing for a championship," said #1.  Teammates Hudson Duncan and Spencer Rasmussen have confidence the team will win based on their much improved performance at the 2009 Championships.

Varsity Girls' basketball feels like they have met one of their goals of getting to the D1 Bracket, but is that enough?  "We want to take what we have learned and show it off," said Junior guard, Jessica Carroll.  "Our goal was to get to D1 but now that we are in it, we relish the challenge of playing different teams," said Junior forward Caroline Gibson. 

Helen Modesett, junior keeper for Girls' soccer "thinks her team is ready," even though they have never seen their opponent this season.  "We've heard they are tough, but we somehow believe we can win," said Alice Baker, Helen's sidekick in the goal.

Zach Gaitz, Senior Boys' Soccer Captain, with his team on the brink of making D1, slipped to D2 when Greenhill and EHS ties each other on Tuesday.  Like Bradley, Gaitz is going to make the most of his days on the soccer team.  "We were upset to not be in D1, but now we are going to enjoy the finish and try to win a championship," said #22.  "We have another game to get ready for."

Whether it is for fun, playing a new team, intense focus, or playing for a championship, the Mavericks are finding a sense of where they are.  By Saturday no telling how far that may be especially with our fantastic fans, water boys, and if all else fails, a will to fake it till they make it.

For more on SPC in the Examiner click here.