Tuesday, Feb. 19 night marked the first time the Detroit Consortium High School Men's Basketball team returned to the court since the death of their beloved head coach, Al Anderson.
On Saturday, Anderson died suddenly of an apparent heart attack, just moments after his team won what many consider the team's best game of the season, a win over Dayton Dunbar. He was 40.
The recent loss is a shocking one in the midst of a season decorated by victory. The Consortium Cougars are currently ranked second in Class C, and could win their first state championship this year. The team has decided to use the tragic event to fuel its momentum, and continue on its path toward triumph.
Perhaps the only thing more tragic than the young coach's death is that the local community loses a leader and mentor. In an area frequently overshadowed by crime, it's easy to take for granted the unsung heroes. What hardly ever makes the news are the stories of those who give their all to improve the lives of young people around them. They inspire and bring out the best in them. That is an invaluable quality. Not all of our youth are running the streets and looking for trouble. It's easy to get caught up in what you so frequently see reported on television. But, many are doing great things, setting and achieving their goals. Kudos to those who work behind the scenes to keep young people out of trouble, and in books or on the court.
Sports has long been considered a positive outlet in urban communities to keep youth from going down the wrong path. That being said, our coaches serve as a beacon of light. They inspire and set a standard for their players not just on but also off the court. Detroit might have lost one of its shining stars, yet not in vain. What matters most are the lessons players will carry from the experience to aid them in their quest to succeed.
Let us hope that the Consortium Cougars use the unfortunate circumstance as motivation to continue moving forward. After all, that is most likely what Coach Al would have wanted.
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