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Friday, October 12, 2012

Celebrating A Championship: Part II

Last Friday night a huge crowd gathered at our high school stadium to remember the championship that my high school won in football 35 years prior.  It ended up being a wonderful affair, filled with great emotion and joy.  Over 55 players from that team were present and it was a real treat for me to see them interact with one another and with my father.  At half time, all alumni were welcomed onto the field while a special presentation was made on behalf of the championship team.
The whole gang at half time, with the team picture and trophy.
As part of the ceremony, my father's record was recited.  Even I was impressed!  I knew he was good, but seriously, he was really good!  Here are some stats:
Coach Ted "Moon" Mullen
Overall Winning Percentage: 73%
2 CIF Championships
6 CIF Championship Game Appearances
14 Playoff Appearances in 17 Seasons (.823 Playoff Appearance win average over 17 seasons.)
Never eliminated in the first round.  (14-0)

The year his team, Villa Park (VP) won the C.I.F. championship in 1977, this was the team record:
1977 Won 12, Lost 1
(6-1) 2nd Place Century League
CIF Southern Conference Champions
VP: 22 Katella 7 W
VP:36 Canyon 7 W
VP:19 Santa Ana* 8 W
VP:21 Tustin* 0 W
VP:7 Santa Ana Valley* 9 L
VP:31 El Modena* 29 W
VP:21 Estancia* 0 W
VP:25 Foothill* 8 W
VP:17 Orange* 0 W
PLAY-OFF GAMES:
VP:31 ARLINGTON 6 W
VP:28 SAVANNA 14 W
VP:14 RIVERSIDE POLY 6 W
VP:21 LOS ALAMITOS 6 W C.I.F. SS Championship Game
The wonderful moment after they read the stats from my dad's career and the entire stadium cheered and cheered!
That's him in the brown shirt.
So you can see, there was much to celebrate and much joy to share!  Many of us had not seen one another since high school or if we had seen one another, it had been at a reunion or two.  It was neat to see the team spirit that the players from this team still shared. There really is something magical about sharing something significant like a sport's championship. 
One of the neat things was that my dad's entire coaching staff was there, except for one man who has passed on.  
The coaching staff from a program in 1977.  Gotta love the short shorts!  All of them were present at this reunion, except for the man to the left of my father's right! Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.

One of the players confessed to my dad that he stole his helmet after the championship game!  He had it with him!
The local paper even found it suitable to cover this event!  Click this link for the story.  
I find that simply remarkably, that after 35 years, these guys still want to share in this special time.  For me, it was a great time in my life, both as a high school student, but of course, as my father's daughter.  I saw old friends, neighbors who journeyed through the games with us, and of course my former classmates.  While reuniting with friends from long ago certainly has its odd points, the one thing that is very cool is that all the boundaries that get set up in high school get torn down.  Everyone is so gracious now.  Status, popularity, and coolness have all gone by the wayside.  Some people are bigger.  Some are smaller.  Some are bald.  Some are gorgeous.  Some are wildly successful others struggle.  Some of the crazy ones have found God and settled into a different way of life. Others are still looking for a good party.  In the end it didn't matter.  It was just great to see everyone again and marvel at how 35 years had gone by.  All of us who go to be a part of that magical season will always savor that moment for our class will always be the CIF Champions of 1977 and nothing on earth will ever change that reality.