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Green Wave was more than just wins, losses

In our results-oriented world, teams are often defined by whether they win or lose.

The 2004 Yankees are considered chokers for blowing a 3-0 series lead in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox. The Michael Jordan era of the Chicago Bulls was defined by its six NBA championships and a player that likely was the greatest we will see in this lifetime.

Fans live and die by the wins and losses, and that’s not without reason. As former New York Jets coach Herm Edwards so famously put it, you play to win the game. If you didn’t, no one would bother keeping score.

Some might look at this year’s Cathedral softball team and define them by the fact that they came one game short of a state championship title. But if you saw the reaction of the Cathedral players after the Game 3 loss, you would know that they weren’t defined by a playoff series.

Sure, there were a few tears being shed. It’s only natural to be disappointed when you get so close to the ultimate prize and fall just short. For seniors Ginny Daggett and Beth Fortenbery, Saturday’s games marked the end of their time playing softball at Cathedral, so the losses had to hurt them especially.

But mixed in with a few tears was a lot more smiling. Even before the game was over, the Lady Green Wave dugout seemed in high spirits going into the bottom of the seventh of Game 3, despite trailing 7-2 with little chance for a comeback.

For all the disappointment that losing brought, the Lady Green Wave players seemed to genuinely enjoy the fact that they got to play with each other and share all of the emotions — even the negative ones. Despite my disdain for using clichés, it really does seem like the Cathedral softball players were not simply a team, but a family.

Daggett and Fortenbery talked about it leading up to the state title series. Even head coach Gary Blackwell stressed the fact that Cathedral’s good team chemistry is what helped them get as far as they did.

If the Lady Green Wave continue to make deep postseason runs going forward, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the chemistry will continue to be a driving force for Cathedral. This year’s team had just two seniors and four sophomores out of 19 players total.

In other words, most of these girls will be back next year, and they will know the disappointment of losing a state title series.

Another local team to experience that was the 2008-2009 Vidalia High School boys’ basketball team. A year later, they were state champions.

Of course, replacing Daggett and Fortenbery won’t be an easy task, and chemistry alone isn’t going to lead the Lady Green Wave to victory. The girls will have to continue to show the same hard work and dedication that they showed since the season began.

Ultimately, this year’s Cathedral team has the chance to be remembered as the team that paved the way for future championship runs. If the camaraderie, the dedication and the positive attitude can be maintained, there’s reason to believe that the foundation to greatness has already been poured.



Michael Kerekes is the sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3632 or michael.kerekes@natchezdemocrat.com.