It’s been a long season — sort of

You’ll have to excuse the Cordova JV boys if they looked a little rusty in their ball game here against the SuValley JV’s on Friday, Feb. 28.

After all, they started practice back on Dec. 9 — and this was their first game of the season.

We all know that practice makes perfect, but come on, 12 weeks of drills and scrimmages against your teammates? 

No wonder they seemed a bit confused to be guarding someone they didn’t know on a first name basis and dazzled by the bright lights of glittering CHS Court.

Of course, we all know why these crazy lads practiced in obscurity at odd ball hours. It’s because they love the game, and they know something about dedication and school pride.

And we also all know why this test of mettle occurred.

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Ironically, it is because of a guy that stands 6 foot 7 inches tall, and one would think, because of his size, at some point had encountered a round thing called a basketball.

It’s because of a guy that came to Alaska in 1983 and taught out in the Bush at a place called Koyuk for 6 years, and then served as superintendent of schools for the Northwest School District in Kotzebue.

Good grief.

How could anyone go through all those years and not know that basketball is king in small town Alaska?

How could he not hear the clunk of basketballs bouncing off banged-up outdoor rims at all hours of the day and night in the Land of the Midnight Sun, nor notice that gymnasiums were the biggest single source of pride, joy, participation, and support to counter the many problems endemic to smaller communities throughout our state?

Surely, as superintendent, he must have traveled to the biggest sporting event in Alaska, the ASAA State 1A through 4A tournament in Anchorage, known as March Madness Alaska Style.

And witnessed parking lots at the Alaska Airlines Center overflowing with proud parents, relatives and fans converging to watch kids from all over the state play their hearts out in this, perhaps the biggest shining moment in their young lives.

How could anyone not realize how important this, and all school activities, are to its most precious resource, its youth?

Why were there no other JV games here this year? Well, just walk down to the ferry terminal, and there sits your answer. An empty berth.

Cordova has had to subsidize bringing teams here, and perhaps our governor doesn’t realize how the cost of air travel has impacted activities in schools on the ferry system, but also those schools all over the state who cannot afford those higher costs to travel here.

In the long term, it is just one more illustration of the statewide impact of budget cuts and vetoes from Big Mike, who urges you to “Stand Tall” with him.

I’ll tell you who stands tall, Mr. Governor. The Cordova JVs. They lost 64-21 on Friday night, and came back to play at 7:30 the next morning so the visiting SuValley squad could fly back early that afternoon.

Cordova parents, their varsity basketball squad teammates, and many others were there at this early hour to cheer them on.

Against a team with countless games under their belts, the Cordova boys played their hearts out, trailing 22-19 at halftime, and going head-to-head against the Rams throughout the second half.

It was a game that will probably not even make a footnote in CHS sports history. The final score was 52-37.

But I don’t have to tell you who won.

Just ask anyone who was there.

The owners of a thing called Wolverine Pride were the winners.

And unfortunately, there was no one 6 foot 7 inches tall in the crowd to see what teamwork, character, dedication, and effort can achieve.

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