Over the weekend, my brother Dave's girls' tennis team at Wichita Collegiate School won another Kansas High School Association state tennis championship, their sixth in a row and 24th overall. In Kansas, the girls play in the fall and the boys in the spring. Dave's boys' teams have won 21 state titles for a combined total of 45! The following is from seven and a half years ago when his Spartans won the title by a razor-thin margin. One young man provided the difference between the champions and the runners-up. This is his story, from May 22, 2006.
They did it again. This past Saturday, my brother Dave and his Wichita Collegiate School tennis team won another Kansas boys' state championship, their fifteenth since 1988. Between his WCS girls' program, which competes in the fall, and the young men, Dave and the Spartans have collectively won thirty-five state titles, making him one of the most dominant high school coaches in the US in regards to record. This one was unexpected, at least to the prognosticators. Believing he had had to make adjustments to his lineup, Dave juggled the doubles teams and singles entries as Collegiate entered regional play. The strategy worked to perfection as his two doubles pairings met in the finals. (In an interesting side note, brothers John and Bo Dunne were on opposite sides of the net for the championship match.) By sweeping the doubles brackets, the Spartans were able to reclaim the throne they had left vacant since 2003. When I talked to Dave on Saturday evening, it wasn't really the first and second place medalists he discussed. The Spartan he told me about was Alex Littler. The difference in WCS taking home the team trophy or the runner-up hardware was Alex, a senior in his final high school competition. What did this WCS netster accomplish that had my brother raving about his performance? All he did was place seventh, a far cry from the limelight that illuminates athletes who win gold or silver. But that's the story. The Spartans amassed thirty team points while the runners-up managed twenty-six. Without the five points provided by Alex Littler, who won two matches at state, the Spartans settle for the consolation prize. The amazing part of Alex's contribution is that he was down MATCH POINT versus his opening round opponent, the brink of elimination. If he loses that point, Collegiate has no mathematical shot at the title and I have no blog. And, Dave always sends me a Wichita Collegiate State Championship T-Shirt. So, I owe Alex Littler, a fine young American I will never meet, a debt of gratitude on a multitude of fronts. He gave me something to write about AND improved my wardrobe simultaneously.
The world is full of Alex Littlers. They are responsible for the success of organizations and families but rarely get the spotlight. Trinka, Becki, and Reyna run Westbury Christian School. The world calls them receptionists/secretaries but they are the glue that keeps us from careening wildly into space. They control the flow of traffic into WCS as well as the handling of all incoming calls. When they are out, we devolve into chaos. Linda falls into the same camp. She is commander of the copy room, an especially vital position, particularly in the days before finals. We give Employee Of The Six Weeks awards but they all could be honored each grading period. Like Alex Littler, this quartet won't get their due but their teammates, their fellow workers, comprehend what life would be like in their absence. That's the way of the world. I appreciate the Old Testament breaking down and recording the jobs of the Levite families. Give those descendants of the first high priest their props! I don't know anyone who could recite these obscure clans but the Lord believed it worthy of inclusion in the sacred text. So, in the spirit of the relatives of Moses and Aaron, I salute Alex Littler, the unsung hero of the Wichita Collegiate State 2006 State Tennis Champions. Thanks in advance for the shirt, Dave- and I can think of four ladies who deserve one as well!
Applicable quote of the day:
"Giving credit where credit is due is a very rewarding habit to form. Its rewards are inestimable."
Steve (T shirt size-XL)
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org