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The year was 1953. A small school in Milan, Ind., and its young coach prepared for the upcoming season.
The expectations were high following a trip to the final four the year before. Even with four returning starters, no one could have imagined what happened.
Milan High School, with an enrollment of 161, finished off the 1953-54 season by doing what many believed to be impossible.
The Indians won the Indiana High School basketball championship. Milan remains the smallest school to ever claim the title.
How did they do it?
Simple, they believed in themselves when no one else did and went out together as a team and accomplished something special.
The achievement spawned Hollywood’s making of the movie Hoosiers in 1986. The movie was great simply because it seemed like a script only Hollywood could produce. Little school beats big school to claim a state championship.
The story and the movie should serve a lesson to all us. If you want to accomplish something in life go out and do it. Don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way.
Basketball is not the only sport that has seen its share of improbable upsets. Think back to the first Sunday in February when the New England Patriots were the overwhelming favorites to beat the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
The week leading up to the game was a coronation for their assumed victory and unbeaten season.
However, a funny thing happened on the way to the trophy presentation. The Giants won the game and spoiled the party for the assumed champs.
Both examples show that one should never say never. There are reasons why they play the games on the field rather than behind an analyst desk.
What is the point to all of this?
This weekend, the Owen County football team and a pair of runners will compete in state athletic competitions.
The football team is playing in the first round of the playoffs while Danielle Hoop and Julie Spaulding are running at the state cross county meet. All of them will have their hands full.
For the football team, they will be playing in a game that no one north of the Owen County line expects them to even be competitive. Hoop and Spaulding will be running against a field in which most “in the know” would say a certain runner from Danville will run away with the title. Who are they anyway and what do they know?
To steal a line from ESPN’s Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend.”
My advice to all those in action this weekend is simple. Don’t listen to what anyone says. You know what you are capable of. Nobody knows the size of your heart or your desire to achieve what to many might seem like the impossible.
Let me close by stealing another line I once heard. To quote an unnamed coach when asked about a certain upcoming game, “Stranger things have happened.”
I could not have said it better myself.