Editorial: A sweet victory

Something magical happened Saturday night. The Pirate hoopsters swept the state Class 1A tournament, and Vashon got swept up in the jubilance of their victory.

For some people, the sweetness of their triumph — a remarkable conquest born of athleticism, strength and as Beachcomber sportswriter Charlie Pieterick likes to say “suffocating defense” — lasted for days; for others, maybe just a few hours.

Either way, the Rock on Sunday, when the victorious boys arrived home to their little island in the Sound, was a different place.

They became our boys. The high school became our school. Head Coach Andy Sears became our coach.

And the state’s faltering economy? Climate change? The war in Iraq? All was forgotten as hundreds of Islanders — people who likely hadn’t dribbled a ball in years, if ever — basked in the glow of the boys’ feat.

There is much that is sweet in this win.

It’s the Island’s first team state championship, to the best of anyone’s knowledge. The star of the game, John Gage, is a poised junior who graciously deflects the attention. Sears, their coach, is a Vashon High School grad and now a beloved math teacher at the school. The rest of the team is comprised of remarkable young men, including underclassmen who will return again next year.

And Sears, in a move that reflects both his wisdom and good will, pulled subs into all of the four championship games, so that every boy got his moment on Yakima’s SunDome court.

What is it about a winning team that transports us into a state of such pure happiness? Who knows. But it sure is sweet.

Congratulations, Pirates. May your glow last for weeks.

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