March 5th, 2012
Let me begin by letting you know that Mr. Jones asked me to say how much he wanted to be here this morning. In addition to having sound advice about life, Mr. Jones is a great lover of sport – witness his superior performance during the staff-student basketball game – and he wanted to be here to recognize all the athletes that have made their mark over the winter season.
Sports have been on my mind recently. On the night before the Academy Awards, I happened to watch Moneyball, a movie that tells a true story about professional baseball. The movie focuses on the role of the general manager of the Oakland A’s, Billy Beane, who, though himself not successful as a professional ball player, managed to make a success of the Oakland A’s. The secret to Billy Beane’s success was summed up in the words of Peter Brand, his assistant: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order to buy wins, you need to buy runs.” Peter Brand was all about numbers. Players were only important by virtue of the numbers they produced – the times they got on base being one of the most important.
We, at The York School, are not about numbers. You are not a number to me, and you are not a number to the coaches that coach you. We have a different philosophy when it comes to sports. Wins are nice, but they don’t come first. At The York School, you come first.
You are the reason we field teams. You are the reason that coaches get up at 6:00 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. practice, and don’t get home until the bus rolls in from Rosseau Lake in the late evening. You are the reason that so many of your faithful parents take time from work to sit in the stands and cheer you on. You are the reason that I stop what I am doing and come and watch you play. We care about you. Whether or not you win more games than other teams, in our hearts, you will always be first.
So, in addition to congratulating you for all your efforts during this winter season, let me take this opportunity to thank all of those people who have put you first. Thank you to Mr. Feeney, our Athletic Director. Thank you to all of the coaches, who have put their heart and soul into making the game a winning experience, if not always an experience of winning. And thank you to all of the parents, your most ardent fans. And thank you to Matt, Alyssa, Russell and Hanna, who have guided us to a successful conclusion of this athletic assembly.
As I have suggested, sports cannot always be about winning. Regrettably, the staff basketball team was reminded of this fact in the most recent staff-student basketball game. And although I know that the staff basketball team is first in all of your hearts, we would like an opportunity to prove that we are also first on the court. So, I hereby challenge Russell Hanson, Hanna Grover and any members of the varsity basketball and volleyball teams to show their faces during this year’s Oochathon, for both a basketball and volleyball match. I figure we ought to win at least one of them!