Steve Bennett was a junior in 1978, the last time the Roosevelt Roughriders won a state title in boys’ basketball…
“God!" he says, "we passed it well, and we shot it well and we just did all those little things well.”
Bennett and other Roosevelt alums are saying the same things about this year’s team…undersized but full of heart. Their dramatic upset of Valley, last week, has regenerated spirits young and old.
“I’ve been on the phone all week with the old players," he says, "they’re scattered around the country and they’re pretty excited.”
“You obviously notice a difference in school," says head coach, Chris McMahon, "there’s a buzz that isn’t normally there.”
Coaches like McMahon can preach the benefits of hard work and dedication, but nothing motivates like a state tournament berth.
“It validates a lot of things for a lot of people," McMahon admits, "and I think the parents can be included in a lot of that, the kids, the coaches.”
Perhaps no one feels more validated than Steve Bennett…he’s a fan, an alum, and…a parent. His son, Chris, is a senior, and they’ve got a new bond.
“Just the fact that he can talk about it to me," Chris says, "and now that we have a chance to talk about it when we’re older…it’s something special.”
What might it be like for father and son to have 35 years of separation, but a state title in common?
“It’d be a talking point in our family, I’d say," Steve smiles, "for a few years! Forever!”
It would be amazing…validating and invigorating. And it might give Roosevelt a new state championship photo for the hallway…one that’s a little easier to see.