Swampscott High Rallies For Hockey
The high school's hundreds of students filled their auditorium and sent their hockey players to the Garden on a high note — rallying the team to the state championship.
The high school hockey team sat quietly on the stage's edge facing their schoolmates.
Occassionally some of the players in tan pants and white hockey jerseys shook their heads or looked at each other with raised eyebrows acknowledging this unexpected delightful time in their lives.
It was the end of the school day Friday and the students were there to rally their team for the high school Div. III state championship game against Westfield at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Emotional scenes from the movie Miracle played on the screen in the darkened auditorium.
Athletic Director Jon Flanagan spoke of the Swampscott team's character and heart.
Coach Gino Faia, SHS Class '82, unleashed a rallying cry.
Students chanted "Let's Go Big Blue" and waved side-to-side.
The players took it in — the cheers, the chants, the rollercoaster wave — maybe surprised to be in this position.
Likely they know they are the talk of the town. From the Post Office to banks, from Town Hall to restaurants to stores people are talking Big Blue hockey.
One reason is: they are the first Swampscott team ever to advance to a state championship hockey game, as the coach announced to the crowd.
Another reason is their tourney journey arose unexpectedly.
And the team has developed a fire-hardened, never-say-die attitude that has sustained them through heart-stopping action.
They have stepped up their play amidst critical or sudden-death action and reaped confidence from the effort.
The last Swampscott high school team to win a championship was the girls' basketball team in the 2008-09 season.
On Friday the coach and athletic director thanked the students for their enthusiastic support and asked them to bring it again Sunday. They have showed up in big numbers on school nights in distant hockey arenas.
And they have witnessed remarkable play and comebacks, felt the season's storybook quality.
Friday's rally reflected a bit of that quality.
The players took it in sitting on the edge of the stage, a little surprised with two days until Sunday.