Take a good look
It is rare that we devote the space of this editorial to sports. Normally, it is an area to weigh in on the issues related to the how-tos of education, or the slow slog of our local political machine. To wit, the writer Frank Deford once referred to sports stories as the children’s table of journalism and, true to form, our sports section is confined to what constitutes to be our back pages. This week, however, we’re making an exception, one that we believe is cause not only for notice but for celebration
For the last four years, those who follow the Oxford High School boys’ varsity basketball team like we do have been witness to the building of a successful basketball team, player by player, practice by practice, one that has culminated in a 20-7 regular season record, and the team's appearance in the state playoffs. What has most remarkable in their ascension is not so much their record – highlighted by recent post-season wins over Harriton, Methacton and a ferocious comeback win over Haverford this past Friday night – but in the longevity of some players’ time together that makes this journey even more worthy to write about.
Four years ago, head coach Sean Harvey placed freshmen Jordan Logan, Miles Clarke, Musty Mahmud and Dylan Dunn on his varsity squad, and over the next four seasons, choreographed under Harvey’s clipboard architecture, every player seemed to blossom in rhythm with the others. When they are in their groove, as they have for the better part of this season, each seems to have a sense of where the other players are on the court. When they are behind in points with the game on the line, their resilience is seen in their dogged determination to win. Mahmud is an offensive force in the paint. Dunn is a patient point guard with an eye for the smart pass. Clarke is a workhorse with an eye for the basket. And Logan demonstrates an intelligence for the game well beyond his years.
At the tail end of the 1963 season, as baseball legend Stan Musial stepped to the plate for the last at-bat of his storied career, St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Harry Carey told his audience, “Take a good look. Take a very good look, because you’re not likely to ever see his kind again.”
Soon, whether it be in their March 8 state playoff game against Roman Catholic, or somewhere deeper in the playoffs, these four will play their last official basketball game together. In June, they will graduate from high school, and although there is a likelihood that all four will play on the collegiate level, the name ‘Oxford’ will not grace the front of their uniforms. Life is marked by transience, and never is it more illuminated for us to see than in the world of sports.
If you are affiliated at all with Oxford High School, or at the very least, if you admire the sweet synergy of teamwork on a basketball court, then it is our hope that you will find your way this Saturday to cheer on this Hornets squad at Archbishop Carroll High School in Wayne, beginning at 3:30 p.m. It may be your last opportunity to take a good look, because chances are, that you are not likely to see this kind of team again.