It’s alright if you want to support Hamilton in the division 1 championship. Seriously, I won’t judge you. If you feel like rooting for the Huskies, then embrace that feeling. You have my permission to do so.
I realize that you don’t need my permission to cheer for a high school football team. You’re going to support whoever you feel like, right? Of course you are. You’re not the type of person to root against a team JUST because they’ve been successful in the past. I mean, it would be silly to say that it’s somebody else’s “turn” to win, like football championships are the same as a parent evenly divvying up time on the one available playground swing. No, that’s not you.
Maybe it’s just me then.
It’s hard to not root for the underdog. Now, I understand that Chandler isn’t necessarily the underdog in this scenario, having beaten Hamilton 56-24 in early October, but as far as championships go, they’re as “under” as a dog can get.
Hamilton has enjoyed unprecedented success since the school’s inception in 1998. This is their 12th trip to the championship game, and they already have seven championships to show for it. Huskies’ coach Steve Belles, since coming over from Mountain Ridge is an absurd 115-10, with five titles of his own. It’s easy to think that the Huskies have been “hogging the golden ball,” and that someone else deserves to hold it for a while.
Almost everyone loves an underdog, because almost everyone’s been one at some point in their lives. When underdogs win, it gives hope to the rest of us. Here’s the thing though- there will ALWAYS be underdogs. It’s much less often that you encounter the persevering greatness of an individual or team. Those teams are like shooting stars- they grab your attention while they’re in the sky, and you never really have time to appreciate it until it passes.
I grew up right here in Arizona. When John Paxson sunk that three-pointer that killed the championship dreams of the Phoenix Suns’ faithful, I spent the rest of that dynasty hoping that the Bulls would crumble into nothingness so that we could have our turn. I had the same attitude when it came to the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Rockets, and the Shaq and Kobe-led Lakers. Now that both of those dynasties are ancient history, I realize that I passed on the opportunity to appreciate the greatness of their accomplishments while they were happening. While I’m not a decent enough human being to apply that lesson when it comes to the sustained success of the San Antonio Spurs, I will say that I have come around to appreciating the Hamilton Huskies.
As a Chandler alum, it’s been hard to hop on the Hamilton bandwagon and celebrate their dynasty. My freshman year was Hamilton’s first year as a school. By the time I was a senior, the Huskies first four-year graduating class humbled us, their neighbors to the north, 17-7. More than a dozen wins later, including four playoff blowouts, I have to say that I was relieved to see Chandler finally get a win. Still, I never felt like Chandler deserved to win just because they hadn’t done it yet. Hamilton was, and is the best. In order to deserve something, you need to be better than anyone else that wants it. This year, Chandler might be the best, but if they aren’t, I won’t fail to to enjoy and appreciate what Hamilton’s been able to do. You shouldn’t either. One day, they won’t be able to be this dominant anymore, and we’ll look at them the same way some of us look at teams like Mesa Mountain View, St. Mary’s and others- wishing we had enjoyed the shooting star before it faded away.