As the song goes, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … everywhere I go.”
The weather is certainly cold enough for Christmas and we did get a smattering of snow to make it feel like Christmas. The retail stores are decked out with holiday décor and the stores celebrated Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
All systems look to be a go for the holiday, whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
People on the west side of the river took a break from holiday shopping and decorating to see the Wyoming Area football team head into the school’s very first-ever championship bid for a state title at Hershey Park Stadium Saturday.
Full disclosure: I’m writing this column ahead of the big game so, obviously, I don’t know the outcome. As they say, though — win or lose, it’s always great to get as far as the Warriors did this year.
If you think anyone on that team or coaching staff believes that, I have swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you.
Getting to a state final or to even be in a state playoff is an extraordinary accomplishment. I’m not sure if one can really grasp the tremendous effort in doing so either as a team or as an individual.
My math might be off a bit but, with the state final game, it would be the 15th game of the season for the Warriors (and Dallas Mountaineers, as well who were scheduled to play for the state championship in their division Thursday night) and that doesn’t count an exhibition game or two at the beginning of the season.
If you think about it, the NFL regular season schedule has 16 games, so putting high school students through such a schedule is pretty grinding, a tremendous sacrifice and a lot of wear and tear on teenagers’ bodies.
Let’s not forget, these kids still have school work, studying and exams to squeeze into their schedules, as well.
I’d also like to take my hat off to head coach Randy Spencer. Randy didn’t start the season on the right foot, being hospitalized with a heart issue and coaching from the press box when he returned. That’s how much football means to him, so imagine how he feels this weekend.
Yes, getting to states is a huge accomplishment. Congrats to the team, the coaching staff and parents for their efforts.
Speaking of states
Since tennis is so near and dear to me and since we’re talking about playing sports at the state level, I want to bring up one person who will graduate this coming June who had a storybook high school career.
Brianna Pizzano will walk away from Wyoming Area as the most decorated female tennis player in school district history. Perhaps former coach Don Cassetori may correct me, but Brianna may be the most decorated player in both genders.
Brianna was fortunate to compete at the state level in Hershey, not once, but twice and, if it wasn’t for a phenomenal player from Riverside High School who stood in her way, Brianna could have been a 4-time state contender.
She ended her career with two PIAA District II gold medals, two PIAA District II silver medals in singles and two PIAA District II silver medals in doubles, both years with teammate Bella Scappaticci.
My daughter Tiffany was Brianna’s coach when Brianna was a freshman and sophomore and I was along for the ride, pitching in whenever possible.
Brianna was on Tiffany’s radar when she was just 10 years old and playing United States Tennis Association (USTA) singles tournaments. She was very successful as a youthful junior.
The first time I had a chance to observe Brianna, I was pleasantly shocked at someone going into ninth grade who had such great footwork and shot-making ability. I thought for sure she could have been Division I college potential by the time she reached her senior year at Wyoming Area. That’s how impressed I was.
Being as athletic as she is, Brianna was not just a tennis player; she excelled in softball as a four-year starter at shortstop. She also managed to play a few seasons of basketball, but eventually left that sport to focus on tennis and softball.
Over her four-year career as a Warrior tennis player, she amassed 81 wins against 8 losses – with a winning percentage nearly 90%.
Even with torn ligaments in her wrist during her senior season, she still managed to go undefeated in the regular season.
Brianna has won numerous awards, has been recognized by all local media outlets and I’m sure has received the attention of many colleges looking to recruit her.
The icing on the cake for Brianna is, she is a student with exceptional grades – another reason why colleges were interested in her.
I can only wish Brianna well in her college career, no matter what path she takes or if tennis will even play a role. It will be exciting to see where life takes her.
Congratulations to her parents, Tiffany and Steve, on doing a great job raising their daughter and guiding her to the best of their ability. It’s certainly not easy raising a child and I know the Pizzanos are proud parents.
Quote of the week
“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time — the mind, protecting its sanity — covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.– Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, mother of President John F. Kennedy
Thought of the week
“Don’t waste time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.” – Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist and novelist
“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” – Marthe Troly-Curtin, author