Edson: Heroes In March, But A Memory Forever

The beauty of high school sports is that some memories that are made in March are never forgotten.

It doesn’t matter which northern Michigan sport you’re talking about – basketball, wrestling, skiing or bowling – we’ve already seen our share of individual and team heroics.

I go back to every decade from the 1960s to present day to recall some great performances in our area.

The funny thing is, many people think that these athletes simply forget these great games. The truth is, they never do.

I remember back in 1967 when my school – Mancelona – was playing an Ellsworth basketball team ranked No. 2 in Class D. It was for the district championship and I was in seventh grade. I was a manager on the team along with my friend Dave Miller.

We figured our chances of winning this game were slim and none. But a funny thing happened that night in the Bellaire gym. Mancelona jumped out to a 25-9 lead and even though we were outscored in every quarter after that, we hung on to win.

It still ranks as one of the greatest wins in school history.

Fifty years after that game I was talking to my good friend and the star of that team, Bob Wilcox.

He was only 5-foot-8 but he could soar above the rim and also shoot the lights out. He later became mayor.

“How often – if at all – do you think about that game?” I asked him a couple years ago.

He grew quiet.

“I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I haven’t thought about that game just about every day of my life,” he said with a smile.

The reason might surprise you.

It wasn’t just the win, he said. It was working as a unit to achieve something hardly anyone thought they could do. It was a life lesson that he’s carried with him the rest of his life.

Some of those same lessons are happening this March again in northern Michigan.

You can’t learn these lessons in a textbook. That would be too simple.

These lessons are borne out of hard work and teamwork. And sometimes a little luck.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

Categories: Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Hockey, Wrestling