Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Happened 2 All The Fans? (LHS Basketball Decline Cont)

PICTURE TAKEN FROM MOST RECENT LEXINGTON HOME GAME 1/14/12. NO FANS - 1 MAN PICTURED UP TOP IN WHAT USED TO BE STUDENTS SECTIO When the music’s over, you know the rest. GDD Briefing: Many years ago we followed everyday, cameras in hand, the mighty Lexington varisy Minuteman who had been on a 5 year tear to compliment the legendary Coach Bob Farias in his already illustrious career. We captured a full season on the road with the Big Guy. And what we also captured was a school system changed by an enormous influx of wealth. We found a school system that lived in fear of the mothers who lived in fear of the kids who had nothing to fear. And after our cameras left they cleaned house athetically speaking. My beloved Big Guy was axed after posting 1 of the best 5 year runs the Middlesex league had / will ever see. They removed a tenured teacher without a good by party, without a farewell tour around a Middlesex league he dominated for 30 + years. They forced his resignation in the wake of his grandson's untimely and tragic passing. Without any tact or candor for a man that had done so much for property values, yes, property values. When one chooses a million dollar house, they check many towns and believe a solid sports backdrop facilitates huge decisions surrounding that epic question: Where to raise my children? The most sought after towns, Andover, Winchester, Lexington always married the 2, strong schools, strong sports * Bullet (Jay Campisi) Bob’s experience in Lexington mirrored his close friend head coach of his famous alma mater Durfee from Fall River Dreams aka Chris Herren. By the time Fall River Dreams was written in the mid 90’s, Skippy’s long reign including 6, yes count em 6 hundred wins was coming to end. And although no one can see it besides the writer Bill Reynolds at the time, it was all soon to be over like the light's when the music stops. Like dancing on the main floor at the end of of Dirty dancing and to quote Mr. Kellerman, it all seems to be slipping away. At the time of the book, Fall River Dreams, Durfee basketball was at it's APEX. And chronicling the career of phenom Chris Herran, the latest superhero to lead the hill toppers to the hill top, this book documented it. At Durfee high basketball, time stood still. Change was not reality. And that's never the case. Time changed irrevocably everywhere but not in Fall River, not at Durfee @ that Field House. But underneath the championship venner and pride it brought to a desolate city for what seemed like forever a movement had gained traction and eventually lead to Skip karem’s ouster albeit under more humane conditions than his old player Coach Farias recieved at LHS. And like Durfee and Fall River, times changed dramatically within Lexington, the world at large but never inside that tiny gym where Lexington basketball had been bubbled for decades. In front of standing room only crowds since the 60's. Home games in Lexington were a time warp, popular girls still were cheerleaders, the guys still went to the local pizza stop after victories wearing varsity jackets, players and personalities of the programs storied past crammed into home games giving each a feeling of a very special reunion that was constantly occurring. And for Skip at Durfee, the most decorated high school coach in the history of D1 MASS high school hoop, time also stood still. But there were forces around him chipping away like a staunch running attack in a stingy ball controlled contest. They said Skip had too much power. They said the basketball players got too much special attention. His detractors would point to the new car that was given the coach through private donors after his 1988 state championship with Chris's older brother Michael. And over at Lexington, at the time Fall River Dreams was published I was sitting in the ACE Program on an 16-0 team, ranked at the time #1 in the Boston globe. We were on top but the mutterings were growing with each victory. We just couldn't see it. Parents of JV players were complaining, the girls team cried foul. They demanded and succeeded in splitting prime time slots on game nights. It made me sick, it was unnatural, as sports were a form of entertainment. Once the gals started tomohawk drinking, I mean dunking I felt a proper split could be considered. The fact that varsity boys basketball just like in Fall River bankrolled the majority of other atheltic teams (see Field Hockey) never dawned on the eventual policy makers. This was post 80's, early 90's in the eye of the politically correct (burp) storm. And then to make matters worse, in the wake of our star power forward passing away in a car accident, teachers and non basketball parents cried a loud foul when the team was sent to Disney World. Again, a privately funded trip which came as a gift from boosters in the face of our devastating loss of our childhood close friend. Just like Skippy in FRD, the Minuteman, our town paper wrote a story of special treatment for basketball players. I was saddened to see my old history prof. Sam Kaffersan buttressing the printed attack. I always thought he carried a lingering anger from being turned away at the door for a #1, #2 home rematch against Belmont 93. He had brought an old friend and the atmosphere was as circus as it was electric. Something about the basketball team upset him, I saw it, it's the haters, and success will breed them. The way not me syndrome. I remember he told he playing basketball didn't make me unique, I remember replying, neither did dodging the draft 4 u. Coach Farias used to have a saying in the lockerroom and it went, "Why not us?" A fucking awesome question pertaining to champions. And the Big Guy, Coach Farias never read the Minuteman again, I know this because my man Courtney Haney had put me in position to write an article on his befalf in honor of his 500th win circa 2007. Coach Farias never saw it because he'd stopped reading the Minuteman all the way back in 1994 when such muck raking commenced. It's interesting as a soon to be filmmaker and recreational writer to study the parallel. In Durfee for years they said it wasn’t fair, they said that he wasn’t fair. And finally he "left" and the program and all it’s history fell apart.
And ditto that for Lexington. Here’s a picture of the last time I checked on the team, it’s from maxSports. it's blurry but the far column, 2nd to last, heading "PA" you can see the 578#. And it shows them in the middle of the pack (record), and if you see the PA #, that's points allowed you can see that Lexington boys basketball has given up more POINTS than any other team in the league, this is an injustice. What Happened To The Defense?
Many league coaches, including our dear GDD friend and former Lexington state champion Coach Sullivan said they had the best talent and certainly most height in the league. Coach Farias can be heard in our filming sessions back in 06-07 talking about the 8th grade class coming up and what a power house it would be. I don’t know much, but I can tell you 1 thing, Defense is coaching, it’s a mind set and it’s an inspiration thing. You see anyone can play solid defense. It’s a zero sum game a head to head heart check on who wants it more.
What led me towards Lexington basketball in a town of entitlement that didn't trickle down to the basketball team? If you worked hard or should I say, if it's to be it's up to me. And that was the only thing. I’ll always be grateful for the inspiration and work ethic instilled in me via Coach Farias. I suffered a devastating accident to my right arm and shooting hand 2 days after my 7th birthday. The accident left me with very limited movements in my shooting hand, fingers and wrist. I was not on paper supposed to be able. But I never heard that, I only saw Bob, coach Farias, the banners, the success, it’s all I ever wanted. So what did I do? I worked and worked. I became the best defender I could. And it got me into college where I became the best defender on my college team. My freshmen year I was one of 3 players to appear in all 26 games. And it wasn't because of my offense. I'd become an animal. Defense is heart and toughness. It’s these reasons why this PA # struck me down so hard. Alternativly I should be happy, we captured lightning in a bottle. We filmed the end of it all, in HD. We've preserved his legacy. I’m excited about making something that stands on it’s own, I love the creative process, ditto for my friends and partners who have been side by side with me on this journey. But it’s sad, because the forces that unearthed Bob, really have no clue. And if I think there are politics in some of the companies I’ve worked for post college it pales in comparison to Lexington High school, school committee, tax dollars and who gets what and why. It's different getting money in the public sector. And for a town obsessed with transparency and due process, a place where the very revolution of America itself started, the process and subsequent hiring of Bob’s replacement ran opposite to these values. Where Are The Fans? Scars tell stories.
Points allowed? Our project is called, Where Defense Began not where it ended. Listen kids don’t want to play defense everyone knows that. Its not fun, kids practice scoring. No kid practices defense. No one wants to take a charge. But we did, it was the key to our success, control the things your capable of. You hear that a lot in sales or corporate meetings, and it’s so true. What can you control? Not the rattle of the rim that's for sure. I can make sure I dive on the floor for a loose ball in my dance space. Apperently not a fair process of hiring a new coach in pristine Lexington either. This was an inside job, picking the candidate actually the least qualified to take over the states celebrated program. How does that happen in a place like Lexington? I have no idea. Play the part, never! GDD ! In any event, we’re back here on the GDD, stay tuned for more clips of our 1st documentary. So much to espouse and kick it about beyond this ridiculous situation. 1 love to our forefathers and the 4 year election cycle. Critical time for us Americans. Much love, fam, putting us all on the map, again and again, next up. Brookline legends part 1: The story of the Jigga man. Head up – eyes open. PS: Below is a link of the former hall of fame coach at his best. And note the Freddy Krueger comment, a great shot / that kid is actually 1/3rd of the O'Keefe hoops brother dynasty AND he's featured in our title shot. How time fly's... Back then I'm sure young Chris always believed Bob, the celebrated Big Guy would always be his coach when he finally got his shot at varsity fame. And soon his senior year would come and he / LHS Hoops would be undefeated just like his older, slam dunking brothers were @ 1 time. Once upon a ryhme, the name of a rap LP i have yet to drop. Simon Says is IMPORATANT .: It's a huge hoops trait called AWARENESS, and this kid game instills it. PPS: here's the article I wrote (Stand by) gotta un earth this bitch. I also found some great articles and press from that year that I will need anyway to tell the story. Stay tuned.! And GDD Quote of the Day comes from Boston.com/metro
Bar rules: Boston: The general rule? “Just don’t be a d— bag,” and Less flare: Nobody wants to have a stare-off with you, bro. Stop flaring your nostrils and enjoy your beer. Hahaha our TAKE IT EASE GUY! Shout of the day. More Clips / short sequence from Where Defense Began (A year on the road with the Big Guy at the very end) Good shit. Rough dailys. IT USED TO LOOK LIKE THIS OK. Here's the transcript my article in the Minuteman honoring Coach farias's 500th win. Fortune 500. Fortune 500 Fortune 500 By Carl Easton Thursday, February 01, 2007 - Updated: 11:33 AM EST ..BYLINE END-->..MEDIUM RECTANGLE--> .. language=JavaScript> .. OAS_AD('Button26'); //--> ..> .. ..MEDIUM RECTANGLE END--> Lexington High School boys varsity basketball coach, Robert Farias, won his 500th victory Tuesday Jan. 9 on the road against the Reading Rockets. Farias, a Fall River native and former Durfee sports standout, is only one of five head basketball coaches over the past 50 years to hold the reigns of the consistently strong Lexington boys varsity basketball squad. Farias purposely kept the milestone to himself, not wanting to distract the team. And, as always, downplayed the success he has had against the greater purpose of recognition of the annual athletes that propel his teams year in and year out. To Farias, it's all about wins and education without sacrificing anything along the way. Education for his players to do the right thing and make the right decisions both on and off the basketball court is the bedrock of his successful program. Farias, once again, finds himself in the midst of what he himself calls the deepest and most talented team he has ever coached. Led by senior captains Sean Sullivan and Thomas Henneberry, this year's edition of the Minutemen bagged the prestigious Chelsea Holiday tournament which included wins against traditional powerhouses Cambridge Rindge and Latin and perennial power Wilbur Cross (Conn.). The key to Farias's success on the court through the years has always been predicated on a couple of basic principles. 1) Superior mental and physical conditioning. Always out lasting their opposition in a realm of the game that is always in your control. 2) A favorite saying of Farias' is "to bust a gut". In other words, he demands that his players give a hundred percent. Nothing less is acceptable. Former LHS legend, and 10th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA draft Ronnie Lee, was documented as having hit the 230 times in one season, and that only took into account home games. A teammate said he once heard Lee say that he'd "Run through my mother for a loose ball." Now that's Lexington basketball. Lexington has been blessed with a unique basketball legacy of tremendous success and pure entertainment. For the last 30 years, his teams much like this years powerhouse have served as a great source of pride for many Lexingtonians. A career teacher, husband, father, grandfather, coach and educator I'd like to say congratulations to coach Farias for leading a great tradition at Lexington High School basketball.. Check out the boys (14-0, 12-0 in Middlesex league) next game on the road Friday night at Winchester and tune in for free anytime on the worldwide web at www.ctnmedia.net Carl Easton is a former Lexington High School varsity basketball player where he played the point guard position for Farias from 1992-1994. Currently, Easton is heading up a documentary that is chronicling the current (and past success) of the LHS boys varsity basketball team.
And lastly lasty last last - hahahah, an excerpt from Fall River Dreams For Fall River boys, making it to the state title, you know, in Boston, is making it in the world. Since the days they played in the town’s fabled kiddie league, Chris Herren and his pals dreamed of becoming Durfee High Crusaders, a perennial state basketball power that brought home at least one state championship in every decade since the 40s. But championship basketball requires discipline and ego-suppression, things that just don’t come easily to teenage boys. Still, it is pushed cruelly on the court, and they do their best to endure it. Because playing basketball is one of three things they’ll do no matter what. The others are party and fight. Oh, yeah, they also dress rebelliously, and don’t like to be yelled at.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

great stuff

Matthew Doran said...

Love it!