“With a spirit that will not die…” – Covington Catholic High School Motto
The Kentucky High School Basketball Sweet Sixteen Tournament concluded Sunday afternoon with its proclaimed “greatest show in hoops” (otherwise referred to as the State Championship Game). At the basketball mecca in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Rupp Arena, the Scott County Cardinals and Covington Catholic Colonels delivered a performance to be remembered for a long time.
I have been an outsider looking in on the Covington Catholic world for most of my life. I played basketball against them when I was younger, coached baseball against them more recently, and have some dear friends who are alumni or have close ties to the school. I was never able to comprehend the passion and enthusiasm with which people would describe their high school experience at Covington Catholic. To me, it always seemed like one of those moments where someone is telling you this story that is really exciting to them, but makes no sense to you. The one that always ends with I guess you had to be there.
Well, this past Friday night, I was finally there – an opening round Sweet 16 matchup. My first Colonel experience as a fan. Prior to the game, the blue t-shirts floating around Rupp Arena were from faculty, staff, friends, family, future Colonels, and current Colonels. It was my first sense that the school’s motto is more than just an athletic battle cry.
If I had to sum up my experience and how I now understand what my friends had been telling me all these years, it would come from two words: Colonel Crazies.
I watched a video today headlining the Colonel Crazies – hands down the best student section in the State and I would argue that I have ever seen. The student being interviewed was a senior in the group. He was asked what made the Crazies become so great. He was quick to state the history of the group. The tradition was passed on from class to class, yet each year the new senior classes did something to elevate the student section to take it up a notch and make it their own.
But, what stood out to me was his recognition of the importance of the underclassmen. He said that without them things would fall apart, but because of them, it flourished because they embrace the passion and spirit throughout their four years. Then, as they become seniors, they get to make it their own and begin to pass the torch to a new group of underclassmen.
In that moment, I realized the pure joy that every involved has for this school. It is genuine, and it is real. They speak of brotherhood, and of Once a Colonel, always a Colonel.
The Colonel Crazies are the heart and soul of the spirit that will not die. The players on the court recognize this as they paid tribute to the Crazies immediately following their championship victory. Former Crazies pack the stands to show their support while young future Crazies sit in the crowd and mimic every move they make. Within them, the flame to the spirit is lit.
And once that flame is lit, it burns forever. With a sprit that will not die…and a State Championship to remember forever.
My hope for you is that we are able to live our lives with such a passion and a spirit so that we are able to pass it on to others so that it may live from generation to generation, and never die.
Bring your best today!