I joined the team my freshman year, because I had been bowling every Saturday for years at that point, and I felt like it would be a cool thing to do. I made the team, started a few games, and made friends that still last to this day. We lost our Captain Tom in a freak accident, right before Christmas, and then we lost in a road quarterfinals match against St. Anthony's, by a score of 6-3 in February, but there was many glimpses of hope for the future. No one was leaving the team, so we could build chemistry and build for the next season.
My sophomore year, we gained my future co-captain Cole, and made a run for it all. We got Captain Tom back, and he iced a home quarterfinal win against St. Anthony's by a score of 5-4. We then went on to face Holy Trinity in the Final Four, and won 6-3. We then faced Chaminade and unfortunately lost late in the final game, losing the series 3.5 to 5.5. It was a devastating way to end our Co-Captain's Tom and Mike's last games, but we needed to move on.
My junior year was a bit of a disappointment, with some glimpses of hope as well. We got future Captain Alex, and and two excellent players in Brandon and Jamie. Along with our new Co-Captain's Chris and Jimmy, and Assistant Co-Captains Tommy and Nick, they lead me, Cole, and a few other seniors to the playoffs again, but we lost a close home quarterfinal match again to St. Anthony's 5-4. It left a bad taste in all of mouths, and in the mouths of the seven seniors that were leaving the team. It was time for me and my team to step up.
But we didn't step up right away. I was named Co-Captain, along with Cole. We had our returning core of guys, Alex, Brandon, and Jamie, but we also got a new junior, Pete, two new sophomores Craig and Andrew, and two new freshman, Thomas and David. We also got a new coach, Mr. Farrell, someone who I knew very well from Freshman and JV Football in seasons past. We started slow losing our first 5 games of the season, never winning a game in 2014. Some were close 6-3 or 5-4 loses to St. John's on the road, and St. Anthony's and St. Dominic's at home. Some were 9-0 blowouts like Holy Trinity on the road, and an 8-1 loss to Chaminade at home. We had lost games that we had leads in, and games that should have been easy. We were slumping, missing our shots, and just altogether bad. We needed to regroup and fast, so we had a retreat as a team, we made a group chat, and started becoming a family. That's when it all changed.
We then went on the road to St. Dominics who was ahead of us, and beat them 6-3. We then went home to face St. Mary's and St. John's two days in a row. We beat them both 9-0. We were now 3-5 and looking good. We then beat St. Mary's on the road 9-0, and came back home to beat Holy Trinity 5-4. We were 5-5 now at the end of February. We then lost two in a row to a close 6-3 match against St. Anthony's on the road, and 6-3 against Chaminade on the road as well. We finished the regular season 5-7, and had to face St. Dominic's in our house. We beat them 6-3, with me putting the icing on the cake with a turkey down the stretch. We got back to the Final Four for the first time since 2013.
We lost a close match 6-3 to St. Anthony's, as we fell short down the stretch. I finished my Kellenberg career with a Turkey in the last frame of the last game. I was heartbroken and so was the team. The team had bonded so close together over the year we were together, and there was so much promise that was left unfulfilled. But it was in this moment that I will never forget the love that was shared to me from my teammates and coaching staff. The last thing I ever told them in a Kellenberg uniform, as I was fighting back tears, was, "I love you guys all so much, you guys became my brothers, and I will never forget you guys. Now go out for the team next year, stay close, stay together, Cole this is your team now. All you guys listen to him, become leaders in yourself, and next year go win the Whole. Fuckin. Thing!" They all cheered loudly as we got a nice hand from the parents that had supported us throughout the whole season.
Now they have so far listened to my advice. I have made almost every game so far this season, as they brought be back as an 'assistant coach.' Even without Thomas for most of this season, as he broke his elbow, the team still has found ways to become 4-0. They have beaten the badly the broken St. Dominic's team on the road 7-2, St. Anthony's at home in close match 5-4, St. John's at home badly 8-1, and Holy Trinity on the road 9-0. Captain Alex bowled the first 300 in school history, beating my and his former teammate and Assistant Captain Tommy Sullivan's 299 that he set in 2014. Today they face Chaminade at home, who is also 4-0, as they will try to beat Chaminade for the first time since 2009.
Even though I'm not on the lanes anymore, they still text me and call me for guidance and to tell me the lineups and the scores of the first game, if I am not there in time. They continue to look to me as a leader, along with the leaders that have in front of them, and it makes me very proud. After the St. Anthony's game, they invited me back into the huddle as an 'Honorary Captain', and I got a wee bit emotional again. I led my famous chant, that they all made fun of me for, "FIREBIRDS ON THREE! FIREBIRDS ON THREE! ONE! TWO! THREE! FIREBIRDS!" These guys have seriously become my family, and I couldn't be more proud of them. I told them I would be a Firebird Forever, and I meant it. I wouldn't miss these games or this team for the world. #firebirdsforever #soar
Were you ever the Captain of a team? Did that team become a family to you?
Peace and Love,
Quotes of the Day: "This cannot be a team of Common men. Common men go nowhere. You have to be uncommon!" - Coach Herb Brooks
"You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don't have enough talent, to win on talent alone!" - Coach Herb Brooks