Sports

One Skyview Story You Might Have Missed

As you probably know, we had plenty of coverage over the weekend (and leading up to it) as the Skyview football team played for the state title. One thing you might not have seen was my early column from Saturday night.

For most editions of Sunday’s paper, we had Paul Valencia’s game story, a column on the outcome, and a look at Skyline’s defense.

We also have a photo gallery from Photo editor Troy Wayrynen, the hardest working man in show business, and Monday’s paper had nice recap from Valencia.

But because of our early deadlines Saturday night, a few copies of the paper had to be printed before the game was over. Those included a column that now can’t be found online, so I thought I would post it here:

TACOMA — It was more than two hours before kickoff at the Tacoma Dome, more than two hours before the culmination of a season filled with sweat and tears, and already the pressure was mounting.

“I have butterflies. I’m so nervous,” Skyview senior Kendra Hatch said.

And as the game drew near . . . wait a minute . . . Kendra?

“It’s so humbling to be able to come here and be in this position, to represent not only Skyview but all of the schools in the area,” fellow senior Alicia Cooper chimed in.

Huh? . . . Alicia?

Yes, Saturday’s Class 4A state championship football game went beyond the players. It involved the cheerleaders such as Hatch and Cooper, the teachers, the administration, the parents, the fans.

It encompassed the totality of a community, serving as a reminder of the power of high school sports — and sports in general.

We live in an age in which communities are fraying at the edges. The sense of place is diminished by easy access to the big, wide world beyond our borders, and we’re better for it. But we’re also worse for it.

It takes a village to raise a child? Well, it takes a community to reach the state championship football game.

“Not only do you have the coaching staff, but we have an amazing booster club, and I can’t say enough about the moms and dads,” said Jeff LaCasse, one of the coaches for the Storm’s freshman team. “Each one of us is just a small piece of this program. It’s great to be a part of that puzzle.”

And so the Skyview community came to the Tacoma Dome on Saturday to cheer on a group of high school kids. They had followed the team through two losses to start the season, and 11 straight wins that followed, and finally to the championship game against Skyline of Sammamish.

And as the teams warmed up in the moments before kickoff, it was clear that if the title was decided by the number of fans in the stands, Skyview would be walking off with the trophy. Even if Skyline supporters had the clever T-shirts reading “Skyline: Ready for any Storm.”

Skyview countered with Team Mullet, a sizable rooting section wearing T-shirts reading “Koreski 68,” in honor of lineman Jonah Koreski.

“He has a mullet; he has the black top with a long, curly mullet,” mom Jessica Koreski said. She was joined by grandparents and two aunts and three uncles, and a brother, and friends, and enough cousins to form their own football team.

They all came to watch the conclusion of a thrilling journey, the kind that makes for the stories the players will someday tell their grandchildren.

“The team, the seniors, have been together since they were little,” Jessica Koreski said. “There’s just this bond you see out there.”

In the right setting, with the right support, that bond can extend beyond the sidelines. Even if nobody but the players can feel it at first.

“At the beginning of the season, all the boys talked about how they could be really good, like state-championship quality,” said cheerleader Nikki Horner, a senior. “It’s not that we didn’t believe them, but that’s really big.”

Yes, it is really big. But by simply getting to the state championship game, the Skyview players made believers out of entire community.