November 13, 2021 – By NJP
A message for today’s players…
We have seen some thrilling and emotional state playoff games this past week, and the schedule for tomorrow is like having six Super Bowl’s in one day. The honor of winning a group state championship is what every one of you has dreamed of since your first time in the high school gym. And as we have seen, these titles can not be won without an insane amount of effort, coaching, practice, and teamwork. But all that seems to be a given for the remaining 12 teams. You have done the work. Now it comes down to the game of inches we all appreciate. That one play that can decide a match because a shot was hit just a bit too hard or a bit too soft. That ball that bounces an inch out of bounds or an inch in-bounds. The momentum shifts that get ridden out for point after point based on an electricity in the air, a unified spirit of a team, or quite frankly, the passion and defined emotion that players can bring at the time they need it most. This will all be on display tomorrow at the William Paterson University gym as 6 matches take place to decide which of you can hold the trophy or plaque over your heads and continue on to the Tournament of Champions starting on Thursday. From well over 300 teams that started the season in NJ, we are down to just 12. You are the lucky dozen that you represent so well. And after tomorrow, we will have 6 Group Champions and one more great tournament before the year and your season concludes.
Every player that participates tomorrow is a winner. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You have already celebrated your Sectional Titles and felt the thrill of victory and the reward for your commitment to the game you love. No player should hang their head tomorrow when the scoreboard indicates their season is over. You represent the best of the best that NJ has to offer.
If there was ever a time to live in the moment, let it be tomorrow. Take the time to live the experience. These are the memories that will last a lifetime. Someone else can handle the cell phone filming if necessary. If you are lucky enough to get another few days with your teammates, cherish it. There are 300 teams and over 5,000 players in NJ that wish they had that chance.
Whether you win or lose, remember the people that got you here today. Your coaches, your managers, your parents, and your supporters. The maturity to show an expression of thanks at a time of elation or agony will distinguish you forever in the eyes of the people that matter the most.
And also remember, with the crowds, with the drama, and with the intensity these games create, to just have fun playing the game you love to play, and everything will fall into place.
Good luck to you all…