A couple weeks ago I wrote about the Year of the Zebra. It was based not on Lincoln athletic prowess but instead on Lincoln pride.
Yes, the high school is stirring up excitement, especially the boys basketball team. But I don’t want to place the yoke of hope on their shoulders alone. Truthfully, I was a little afraid my earlier column might jinx them but I guess the boys in blue aren’t superstitious.
Regardless of whether they bring a Pioneer Valley League title to the school isn’t as important as what they bring in school pride.
There have been teams that win by large margins but that usually means it’s in the wrong league. It’s more the team that seems to win even when the odds say they shouldn’t.
The guys have pulled out some close games and not by a shot and a prayer but by grit and determination. They’re playing confident but not yet with excellence. That comes when the odds say you should win.
As the saying goes, it’s one thing to think of yourself as a winner but quite another when your opponents think you are. That’s the intangible when even a loss doesn’t shake your esteem.
Lincoln head coach Robert Ash has his club believing in themselves and it’s only (only?) taken 13 wins in a row to do that. He’s taken a team that was 13-14, 4-5 in league last year to one that’s 16-4 and 3-0 so far this season – no small task.
Perhaps it comes from the time Ash spent at Del Oro, a team that swaggers even when bowling. But that’s not a fault, it’s an aspiration.
The Lincoln boys could indeed come away with a PVL title this season, even go deep into the playoffs. But what’s really important is knowing they are on a path of excellence that will have everyone thinkin’ Lincoln.