Years ago, when I began covering high school sports here, I coined a truism about New York State Public High School Athletic Association seasons.
If you are playing in the spring season, you need to be playing in June to have a successful season.
If you are playing in the winter season, you need to be playing in March to have a successful season.
If you are playing in the fall season, you need to be playing in November to have a successful season.
I mention this because I have been trailing around the Cooperstown’s boys soccer team this fall. My son is a reserve on the team and I had a small hand in training these boys — specifically for this season — and perhaps a larger hand as their cheerleader.
I believe it was 2015 when I first starting saying (or typing) #november2021. Class of 2022 would have been in fifth grade then. Since then, a dedicated group of players, not to mention their parents and coaches, have worked consistently hard to achieve those goals.
On Monday, as I wrote this, the boys were 12-0, and had a shot at clinching a division title Tuesday at Sauquoit in a game that took place after deadline. There have been a lot of gritty wins, occasionally a close game and an incredible amount of team bonding this season.
So far, it is exactly what I thought and hoped it would be. Of course, it is only mid-October. To get to November soccer, the team will have to avoid an upset and get past a lot of teams that will be gunning for them, based on the regular-season success. In soccer, that task seems harder than other sports. There are plenty of stories about teams that were great in the regular season, only to see their hopes dashed mid-October.
Don’t get me wrong. This has been an amazing season to watch and for the players to participate in. At a time when the world, our country and, to be honest, our family, has had a lot of issues to deal with, watching the Cooperstown boys try to live up to their potential, and thus far, succeed greatly, has been special and uplifting.
I know, in following the boys around, I have been neglecting other sports and other teams. I regret it to a point. I miss covering other schools and I hope I still can cover some other schools during playoff time. Still, as a dad, a coach and a person, I couldn’t and can’t miss this Cooperstown soccer season.
On the other hand, thanks to a collaboration with Nate Lull, WCDO’s sports director, and great work by photographer Cheryl Clough, our sports coverage is more comprehensive than it was in the spring. So, I hope a) people understand my predicament this fall and b) they have still enjoyed our coverage.
Cooperstown entered this week needing to play four games in five days to finish the regular season. By this time next week, the playoffs will be underway and, for some, already over. I hope our boys have heard the stories and remember some of the disappointments of the past, so they can set a different path for themselves.
It has been a great season, already, with a rare win over South Kortright for a Chic Walshe title, 12 wins and counting and a lot of exciting games.
However, would I call the season a success? Not yet, because it is incomplete. Ask me again in November.