ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY BRIAN HUXMAN
Hats off to the Hillsboro High School boys? basketball team on their achievements in the midst of adversity this season.
I imagine this must be one of the most frustrating years in some time for coach Darrel Knoll, who has two all-league players out for all or much of the season.
But I?ve been impressed with the play and leadership shown by junior Grant Brubacher, who has become the Trojans? go-to player.
At the beginning of the season, Knoll said Brubacher would have to score more for Hillsboro to be a threat. After a slow start, Brubacher has taken his game?and in turn his team?to higher level.
The junior is leading the Trojans in scoring, averaging more than 15 points a game . He is the primary ball handler and leads the team in 3-pointers, scoring, free throws attempted and made, and assists and is second in steals.
It would have been easy to fold the tent when C.J. Hill went down with a knee injury at the end of the football season and then Tyson Ratzlaff had to sit out several games with a broken bone in his foot.
But the Trojans have still managed am 12-6 record and are still in the hunt to capture a spot in the state tournament.
It must be nice when an 12-6 record is considered a ?down? year. I?m from Newton High School. We?d have taken that record every year I was there.
It underlines how high the standard for Hillsboro basketball has been during the past decade.
While I?m on the subject, I?ve noticed what a tremendous season the Hillsboro freshmen boys? team had this year.
They won two tournaments and were undefeated until their last game of the season. Last year?s freshman team finished without any losses. That bodes well for the future of Trojan boys? basketball.
I recently had another humbling experience when I took photos at the Special Olympics basketball tournament Feb. 12 at Tabor College.
It was gratifying to see the smiling facing and hard work exhibited by those athletes. Those two things don?t go hand-in-hand often enough.
Regardless of their disabilities, these kids were giving everything they had to something they loved.
But it was the innocence of it all that caught my attention. How often do we get caught up in the rigors of our ?ordinary lives? and leave out what matters most to us?
I can?t describe the sheer joy many of those athletes exhibited when they made a basket. It gave me new hope that things will be OK if we do our best and learn to enjoy life.
?It?s not about the money.?
It was funny to hear those words uttered recently by Ken Griffey Jr. shortly after the all-star outfielder was acquired by the Cincinnati Reds.
The comment came moments after it was announced Griffey had been traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Reds for four ?prospects.?
Then it was announced that Griffey had just signed a nine-year, $117.5 million deal with the Reds?perceived by baseball ?experts? as being far below Griffey?s market value.
After the terms of the deal were disclosed, Griffey turned to reporters and said in a calm voice, ?See, I told you it wasn?t about the money.?
Boy, it must be difficult to take a ?pay cut? to just over $13 million a year. Forgive me if I can?t quite understand your pain, Junior.
From a business perspective, it must appear Griffey was a steal for the Reds. The man is on pace to break the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron and is one of only three players to have four consecutive seasons with at least 50 home runs (Babe Ruth and Mark McGwire are the others).
But when professional athletes say, ?It?s not about the money,? maybe, just maybe, they should consider how ridiculous their words sound.