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This post brought to you by the letter "P"

Patience is a virtue. And it's hard to be virtuous come playoff time.

It can be hard talking to crying kids, and we'll see lots of 'em over the next few weeks. I'm glad I met Carli Hunter, a Milledgeville senior. She epitomized hustle Monday, playing like a young woman possessed and affecting many aspects of the game. Oh, and for the record? Not a single tear. She's a pro.

Chris Jahn was practically begging.

Over and over during the second half of his AFC Raiders' 55-44 victory over Milledgevile in a 1A regional at Polo High School, he hollered a request the rest of us would love to honor:


Easier said than done when it's win or go home. Even if a team is in full control, as the Raiders were, it's a challenge, as AFC senior Sarah Matson confirmed. She admitted that it's hard to run clock and slow things down when momentum is urging you forward.

As an almost-middle-aged sports writer who is suddenly planning further ahead than he ever could've imagined, I often forget how paramount a game like the one I watched Monday is for high-schoolers. I spend most of my time imagining the nursery we'll be building soon. Teenagers? They're locked in on the task at hand.

Try to remember what it was like being 18. I can. I spent incredibly little time thinking about what was going to happen beyond the next 2-3 hours. Whether the obsession de jour was a game, a girl or a grade, I remember often feeling like the world would end if things didn't work out.

What's funny is it wasn't until years later I realized how foolish it was to be so dramatic. But we all go (read: grow) through it.

Because these athletes are laying it all on the line for the only thing that matters in the immediate, it's tough to walk the fine line of patience. Eventually, the Raiders cooled it and won. They're going to need to be patient every possession in the halfcourt if they want an outside shot at beating the uber-patient Prophets on Wednesday.

I love this time of the year. Love it. Monday's game was riddled by 67 turnovers, yet I had a blast watching the youngsters play like there's no tomorrow.

For half of them, it now feels like there isn't. Although, by the time they read this, they'll likely have moved on.



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