Friday, March 25, 2011

New Prague basketball--memories of Jeff Gravon

The State Tournament run by the Boys Basketaball Team from New Prague High School has brought back many precious memories. In January 2009, Jeff Gravon—the head coach—passed away from cancer. Jeff was one of my best childhood friends. I officiated at his two funeral services and organized a memorial plaque dedication to him at the Worthington YMCA.

I wrote about the plaque dedication before:

I also wrote about their game in the State Tournament two years ago:

New Prague surprised everyone—except themselves—by shocking St. Paul Johnson on Wednesday. Johnson was the number one rated team in the state for #3A. The Star Tribune was already using words like “Cinderella run” to describe New Prague’s achievements.

Yesterday New Prague played against Columbia Heights in the semi-finals. I was working so couldn’t attend the game. If they won I was planning on screaming my lungs out for the Trojans at the State Championship game tomorrow night.

New Prague was behind much of the game. Deep in the fourth quarter, They made six three-pointers to pull within three. But alas it wasn’t enough. Columbia Heights won 57-50.

The Star Tribune ran a short article today about how Jeff’s influence still is with the players and the New Prague fans.

Sports has become a multi-billions industry that is overexposed. I loved competing in athletics as a kid and watching games on television. I still enjoying watching games, but I get tired of all the attention which sports receives.

However stories like the New Prague basketball team make athletics worth watching. The coaches and players from New Prague deserve our applause. They’ll always be champions in my heart.

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