DeMatha Stags Win 2009 DC City Title Game

You probably already guessed by now that DeMatha won the DC City Title Game last night 55-48 over Ballou Senior High School at the Verizon Center. I went to the game with Maverick and Maven so that they could see how Stags lived, so I won’t go into the details of the game.

The main thing is that DeMatha has won a bunch of these titles. Actually they have won over a score (20) of the prestigious titles claiming high school basketball supremacy over the District of Columbia metropolitan area. By my rudimentary count, I have us at 21 City Titles. That is no small feat, people. You see in order to even win one City Title, you would have to win either the WCAC or DCIAA tournament. Of course, doing well in the tournament would probably be preceded by your doing well during the regular season, too.

In the case of both leagues, sustaining such greatness over such a stretch of time is extremely difficult because we are dealing in the medium of basketball and teenage boys. Now extending this success and stringing it along over a period of years into a dynasty would be almost unimaginable for every team in either league, except for one: DeMatha Catholic High School for Boys. DeMatha is absolutely awesome people. Awesome like finding a freshman the likes of James Robinson to help continue the winning ways. Kudos to Coach of the Year Mike Jones, who has taken on the challenge of polishing this latest rare gem, as well as many others.  The Washington DC metropolitan area has long been a hotbed of basketball greatness.

Every kid that grows up putting a round ball into a round hoop in this town has dreamt of winning the City Title one day. For the majority of those kids it is the longest of long shots, as they have a better chance of making it to the NBA.* Some fall flat in their goal of achieving Chocolate City roundball royalty status and still go on to greater fortunes or as far as that talent could take them. Other kids go to DeMatha and do what the coaches and teachers say and it eventually pops off.

Oh, DeMatha has sent a few kids to the NBA too. I think that DeMatha likes to send  their players along with championships, though. Think of it as a parting gift.

Picture this scene at graduation, sometime in June.

Pan the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine. Zoom in slowly to caps and gowns in red and blue.

Diplomas are finished being passed out and newly minted alumni are filing out towards Michigan Avenue on the campus of Catholic University.

Random alumnus speaks. “Oh did you get your championship before you left, brother?”

Notre Dame Recruit: “Why yes, I’ve got two in football. Do you need one? I have one to spare.”

DeMatha is out of control. I’ve been saying it for years and so I had to finally start documenting it on this web site for the purpose of posterity. Put quite plain and simply the Stags like winning. In fact, they have a tradition of winning. DeMatha just doesn’t train kids like monkeys to win games for high school glory, people. DeMatha is educating kids at how to succeed in the game of life. "You could play basketball anywhere," as Naji Hibbert once said in an interview. If you wanted to learn mental toughness from some of the best that ever did it then you would have no other choice in that matter than to attend DeMatha. If you don’t believe me, click on Naji’s link and watch him tell it. Kids want to be challenged and getting their mettle tested is in their long term best interest.

Someone needs to tell Ballou’s Chris Mozee, named the most outstanding player with 21 points in the loss, that short term thinking will eventually leave you shorter than his "interview." [Go back up there and click on the longest of long shots, please.] The kids that stick with the DeMatha program and apply the principles are all successes on some level, in some field of human endeavor. Life is not a game. The game of life is a metaphor or hyperbole or some shit like that. If you have to drive two hours a day to go to DeMatha you just shut the fuck up and do it. Don’t worry; momma will get you a car or something if you are doing it like that. Me, personally, I took the bus. I remember getting on the 70 bus and changing at Silver Spring station to the F-4. Another kid’s dad was one of the bus drivers on the way home sometimes.

That’s back when I held it down on Sheridan Street. We’re talking 1989 when the dope boys was making serious paper on the basketball courts and shooting each other. (And I’m from New York, so I meant to say “was.”) Ma’ said that the music program was the best and she wasn’t lying but between taking the bus and walking around in the uniform I saw and heard it all. People from all walks of life would comment on what their DeMatha moment was. A lot of it was about sports, but not all of it. Occasionally, someone would say something like, “I wish I had gone to DeMatha.” Or, “I wish I could have convinced my son to stay at DeMatha. Maybe he would have had the chance to make something of himself.”

Those are the things that always stuck with me whether I was wearing the uniform or it was long after I had put it away, forever. These guys have been getting championships like water from a well because the system is proven and working. Kids are getting all kinds of scholarships, left and right, and studying everything from science, art, politics and religion. Sure there are a lot of other schools that could probably say even better things about their academic achievements but if we’re talking whole person and well roundedness then we are all Stags. Anyway, I could ramble on and on about the Stags. I do it like it’s my job. What that says about me, I may never fully understand.

I do know that the DeMatha Stags kick ass though. They also always look cool holding up the number one for the cameras flashing about as they pose with championship trophies. They do it all the time, people. Nothing to see here… move along. Nothing to see here… keep it moving. As for me, I’m ecstatic that the Stags won another title and I thank God that there are some things that just look right in the world or there is no telling where my sanity would be. When I would go out to sea –in the absence of media hype I would check for the Stags. I’ve checked for the Stags from islands that you’ve never heard of. I’ve been stopped on the street wearing a DeMatha t-shirt in Frederiksted, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, and Madrid.

Anyway, I had to have enough writing to justify all these photos of the Stags.

They really do look cool, you know? I asked Maverick who he thought the best player on the team was and he said, “Number two. [Quinn Cook] He kept getting to the backboard.”  This Maverick kid is 8 years old.  You would think his parents were black geniuses or something with the way he espouses such right knowledge. 

Maven was too busy being mesmerized by the Ballou Senior High School band and dancers to really care. Even though she’ll never be a Stag she still had the good sense to root for them. That little girl is as smart as they come.

The basketball season isn’t over yet for the Stags. Once again, DeMatha has been invited to the prestigious Alhambra Tournament in Cumberland, Maryland. I hope we win it.

* Means that statistics might not actually be factual, but by all practical accounts in my head there is no way that DeMatha represents more than 1% of the total high school basketball population and more than that percentage are eventually selected to the NBA.  Think of it like this: if DeMatha has won 21/49 City Titles offered, and you didn’t even go to DeMatha then how the fuck do you expect you are going to win this motherfucking game in your four chances of trying?  Are you sure that your team is even going?  Hungh?



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