Seniors have the last laugh in annual faculty-student game
The crowd roared; there was a deafening sound of thundersticks colliding; the gym at Park City High School was rocking one last time before summer vacation.
It wasn’t a state championship game or anything that will go down in the record books, but the atmosphere was certainly electric for those students, teachers and family members who packed the hardwood Friday afternoon. The annual faculty-student basketball game showcased some of the top talent in this year’s senior class, recognizable names such as Jono Schettler, Jordan Ruda, Heath Vincent, John Finch and Adam Klawe, among others. And then there were the adults.
The faculty squad, which, according to teacher and Park City golf coach George Murphy had never lost (to the best of his knowledge) to the students before, featured notable skill in boys’ basketball head coach Caleb Fine, girls’ basketball coach Sam White, track coach Steve Cuttita and some brawn in baseball coach Lou Green.
In what Murphy described as a "foul fest," the members of the senior class wrote their own names into the unofficial record books with a 41-38 victory over the faculty members.
"It was the championship game for them and they stormed the court after they won," he said. "It was cool to see them so excited one last time."
While the game used to be just another lighthearted activity, the recent emergence of the Park City basketball program upped the ante a bit for both the players and faculty.
"They’re a fun group and super competitive," Murphy said when asked what he’ll miss most about this year’s senior class. "You think it’s just a game, but they really wanted to win. It got a little heated at times, but I’ll miss the competitive edge that those guys brought.
"It’s good for school spirit. You don’t see that a lot throughout the year because we don’t have pep rallies like a lot of schools do. It was loud and it was pretty intense."
Fine, a former player at Park City High School, said the game has been ratcheted up a bit over the last couple years since the sports marketing class at the school took it over as a project. The objective, Fine said, was for class members to find a proper sponsor for the game as well as pay for proper officiating.
He said this year Booster Juice was the sponsor and the class did a great job of marketing the event to the student body and making sure the school would enjoy this once-a-year showcase.
"That has really helped amp it up," Fine said. "With the basketball program being more competitive over the last couple years, the kids seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. It’s a good time."
Participating in the game for the fourth year, Fine said this was the first time he walked off the court a loser. He said he was proud to see some of his former players and their teammates come up with executable game plans to battle the size and aggressiveness of Green, an assistant on this year’s boys’ basketball staff.
"It’s fun to have some laughs against them again," he said. "They came out with a game plan and it was fun to see them try and stop Coach Green. The kids came out and played hard. They certainly wanted it.
"It’s definitely a fun memory to end the year. There are a lot of fun things that happen at the end of the year, and I believe this is one of them. The kids that come out had a good time. They were rooting for the seniors boys to knock off the teachers."
Fine said the moment will stay with him for a while, saying goodbye to the group of kids who came into the program during his early years as a head coach. He said this year’s 2012 senior class as a whole brought a unique flair that not every class possesses.
"I’m going to miss some of the more fun-loving moments like this," he said. "The fun trash-talking that went on in the game, giving the boys a hard time; not just my basketball players, either. All these kids have a lot of personality and you know you’re going to miss them. There are never two of the same when it comes to classes. We’ll have new seniors next year, but there’s never going to be another Alec Roussos or Jordan Ruda and how much fun they are to be around."
"It means a little bit more to them to be 1-0," he said of the class of 2012. "I’ll have 30 more of these games under my belt. They can have their one."