Since we were not able to hold our banquet this year, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for a great season. While winning is always nice, it is wonderful to see all the kids develop as players and as teammates as the season goes on.
To see a kid who may have struggle to dribble a ball with one hand in November do that first dribble through their legs in March is like magic. To see a kid who struggled from the three point line in their first game start to hit them in their 10th game is inspiring. To see kids go from anxiously standing in a circle listening to their coach in their first game to high-fiving and joking with each other like they were born friends is what this program is about.
To be able to accomplish all of the above and have fun and win as well? That is just icing on the cake. And our teams did their fair share of winning this season! For a program like ours that is relatively small compared to some others out there, I am so proud of what we accomplish. This year, three of our six travel teams made it to their respective championship games, with the 5/6 Girls and 7th Grade boys bringing home their respective Championships. In the last four years, we have put six teams in their championship games, with many more competing in their playoffs.
None of this is possible without the efforts of parents and coaches. Our coaches are dedicated to improving, not only the basketball skills of their players, but their skills as teammates. Our season is a very long season and the commitment from our coaches is to be applauded. And our parents honor the commitments they make for their kids, making sure they get to the practices and games, which makes the coaches job easier. This is what makes our program so strong...coaches and parents working together to help these kids be the best they can.
By now, we have given out trophies and gifts to most of the coaches to distribute to the players. However, I want to again acknowledge our two championship teams for their efforts this season. The 5/6 Girls went undefeated this season on their way to winning it all. They were a special team that demonstrated everything we look for in our teams. And the 7th grade team got beat three times during the regular season by ESYC, twice by double digits. However, this great group of boys would not let that effect them and came together to upset ESYC in the final to win an unlikely Championship while getting redemption for last season. You can read more about both teams on Suacon Source. (Saucon Valley Remains Perfect to Win 5th/6th Grade Girls Basketball Title, Saucon Valley Mountain Hawks Soar to 7th Grade Basketball Championship)
Every year, we award the "John Snead President's Award" that goes to a team that embodies the spirit of what we hope our program is about. This year's award went to the 3/4 Biddy Boy Wildcats. Two of their coaches, Neil and Greg, were new to coaching basketball and their third coach, Marcus, was new at this level. No matter what was thrown their way -- bad practices nights, changes in the schedule, losing a couple of players -- their coaches always just rolled with the punches with a smile. Even when faced with some personal tribulations, this team kept on playing through it all and continued to win. While so many of our teams and coaches share these traits, the Wildcats seemed to personify the spirit of our organization the best.
I also need to thank Mike Wechtler for all he has done this season as VP, Cathy Gorman for handling the finances as treasurer, Melissa Osmun for taking care of uniforms and equipment and Scott Albert for his role as Travel Commissioner. The league could not have function without the dedication of this group and it certainly would not have run as efficiently as it did. They are the behind-the-scenes people that make this possible.
As some of you know, this was my last season as president of the league and I am sorry I did not get a chance to say goodbye to many of you. In particular, it is difficult to say goodbye to the 7th and 8th graders that played for us this season. Of the 30 boys that played at this level, I had coached more then half of them at some point in the past. It was an honor and privileged to see all of them grow not just as basketball players, but as young men as well.
Mike Wechtler, who has served as the Minors commissioner for the last two years and Vice President this past season is the new President of SVYB. I believe he will do some wonderful things for this program and I can rest easy knowing that the program is being left in good hands. I hope you give him the same trust and support you have shown me for the last few years.
Again, thank you for all the support through the years and I hope your sons and daughters continue to play basketball, even if it is just in their driveways. As Mike Krzyzewski said, "Every season is is a journey. Every journey is a lifetime."