Titans have earned the support of the entire NIC-10 in pursuit of championship
By Doug Halberstadt
I can genuinely say I am very happy and excited for the Boylan Titans’ football team. They are 13-0, and headed to Champaign, Ill., to play in the class 6A state championship game against Aurora Marmion Academy (12-1). Kickoff at Memorial Stadium will be at 1 p.m. This will be the first time in 35 years Boylan will appear in the finals.
I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I have no particular allegiance other than community pride for the Titans. I did not graduate from there, nor did anyone else from my immediately family. The only connection I’ve ever had to the school was a few years ago I was part of the WNTA radio crew that covered many of the Boylan games. It was during those couple of seasons that I met their head coach, Dan Appino, and several members of his coaching staff.
Coach Appino was always gracious with his time before, during and after the games when I would request an interview. He was always quick to give credit to his players and would often shy away from my suggestions that he made some key coaching decisions.
There were many times I observed him congratulating and encouraging his players. I’m not saying that he didn’t, but I never once saw him lose his cool or temper with any of his players, opponents or officials. From all of my observations, he was the quintessential teacher, coach and gentleman. I often thought that if I had a son, I would have wanted him to play for such a coach.
I also had the opportunity to interview several of his players following the games. They, too, were polite, courteous and well-disciplined. They, too, would often shy away from personal glory, and instead would give credit to their teammates. I think that’s additional proof of a well-coached team.
I, like many people, have heard and been witness to the anti-Boylan sentiment that permeates the NIC-10. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard fans of Boylan’s opponents say something akin to “they should be good, they recruit their players,” or accuse them of bending the rules in some manner. I don’t think anything could be further from the truth. I think most of those accusations are merely born out of envy or jealousy.
From a proud 1979 graduate of Harlem High School, I’m comfortable with saying, “Good luck to Coach Appino and his 2010 Boylan Titans! I sincerely hope you bring back a state championship to Rockford.”
Now, I’d like to suggest to the rest of the fans around the NIC-10 to set aside their anti-Boylan feelings for at least this Saturday and lend their support to the Titans. I think they’ve earned it.
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