The boys’ basketball season began with a bang Tuesday night at Mullen’s Hutchison Fieldhouse in a down-to-the-wire affair against Legacy High School. With only two returning starters from last year’s team, the Mustangs find themselves in a youth movement; however, if you can only return two starters, it’s good to have the top two statistical returners from a year ago. Senior Anderson Brendle was second on last year’s team in points per game with 14.4 and total points with 287. It’s even more comforting to know that the one player who led the team in almost every statistical category is back for an encore season. Senior Jordan Leslie led the team with 521 total points, 22.7 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game, 6.9 assists per game, and 4.6 steals per game. Junior Thomas Stewart also played significant minutes on last year’s team. Not a bad place to start when putting a team together.
The questions going into the season opener remain, though, whether or not there is enough young talent to fill in the gaps or, better yet, compliment those tested seniors’ skills? The Lightening from Legacy were the test to help answer those questions.
Fresh off a 2nd-place finish the previous Saturday at the Ralston Valley High School hosted competition, Battle in the Valley, Mullen’s Cheerleading team took the floor on Wednesday night, November 8th at Eaglecrest High School for the Centennial League Cheerleading Championships. As always, the energy surrounding the competition was electric and the atmosphere in the gym was defining. The team was the last squad scheduled to compete, the wait seemed to take forever, but at 7:35 their names were called, and it was time for them to do their thing.
On November 7 at 6:34 PM, the Mullen Dance Team took the floor at Grandview High School for their very first competition of the year, and it was not just any competition. No, it was the toughest league competition around, the Centennial League Championships. But, before this goes any farther, let’s recap what these young ladies went through to get to that night.
Nine senior Mullen athletes put pen to paper and officially declared their athletic residency for the next four years of their lives. November 8th was the declared date for senior athletes from all across the county to declare their intent (with the exception of football) to play their sport at a college or university at the onset of a new fall, and at a 12:45 PM ceremony in the newly constructed Student Life Center in the Sferra Center on the Mullen campus, that is exactly what these nine Mustangs did.
In this writer's opinion, one of the greatest sports movies ever made was The Legend of Bagger Vance. The film captivates because it epitomizes the idea that sports teach life lessons thus deeming them valuable in the makeup of those who participate. What makes the story of Bagger Vance unique is instead of the sport of golf, the game of golf, teaching life lessons through the trials and tribulations, the successes and gratifications, the outright failures, or the sweet victories one experiences, it reverses the role and teaches the game through those life lessons already learned. That is especially apropos regarding the value of high school sports. Whichever way one looks at it, the value of sports are the lessons they teach. The truth is high school sports must intertwine with the very fabric of education-based athletics or there is no reason to have them in our schools. That is, also, why in many cases one of the most influential people, outside of our parents, in our young lives has been or will be a coach. That man or woman who genuinely understands that the judgment of their duties comes much later long after their charges are gone.