Having spent seven years as a teacher working with students from troubled backgrounds, I simply could not ignore the storyline in Saturday's victory by Indianapolis Metro in Indiana's Class 1A championship game.
In viewing the team photo, one can't help but think something is missing. When so many teams have players, coaches, cheerleaders and mascots cluttering the picture, Indianapolis Metro's team photo may be the smallest you will find. Eight players and two coaches - taken on a generic white backdrop. The team does not have a true home court and practices at city parks.
The picture does have that "us against the world" appeal, which is fitting considering the team is made up of players who have had disciplinary issues in the past. In fact, the school serves as something of a final chance for students who often enroll after falling multiple grade levels behind and turn to the school a last resort.
And while misery loves company, success is also contagious, and the eight members of Indianapolis Metro have now experienced success few others do at the high school level. This victory may not only be a turning point in the lives of the athletes involved, but also the entire school, which serves over 400 students.
Only in sports can one victory potentially affect thousands for the better and uplift an entire community. I hope this story receives national attention in the coming days and serves as a rallying cry for athletic programs whose budgets are under attack by people who do not consider extracurricular activities to be vital to the success of schools and the communities they serve.