For a former high school athlete, I know very little about how high school sports work.
I was chatting with some of my gym buddies yesterday about this Tuesday’s highly anticipated “tripleheader” between the Central and Trinity basketball teams.
“Those kids will be exhausted by the third game,” I predicted.
That’s when they politely — while also laughing hysterically — explained to me that the three games would be played by three different teams — girls’ JV, girls’ varsity and boys’ varsity.
While it won’t be the test of endurance I was expecting, the Dec. 18 matchups will still be very special. It was the first home game of the season for Central and the unveiling of the school’s new athletic championship banners.
The last time Central hung a championship banner was 2003. I wrote in June that this was not due to lack of titles, but lack of funds. So a group of teachers, students, parents and alumni embarked on a campaign to raise money for new banners for each team, listing each year that list all the years a championship was won.
Thinking ahead, and maybe creating some incentive, the committee also bought banners for the handful of teams that have never won a championship.
“Once they win a championship they’ll go up,” said Central Assistant Principal Jane Clayton. “Because they’ll look kind of funny if they’re blank.”
Those at the banner unveiling will also come with heavy hearts, because Diane Antoscia won’t be there to see it. The longtime Central educator, who was instrumental in the quest for new banners, died in a bicycle accident in August. The project was nearly 100 percent complete when she died.
“She’s the individual who spearheaded this whole project,” said Clayton.
After I met Antoscia through the banner project we kept in touch about her passion for bicycling. She was active in Bike MHT and the city’s bikeshare program, volunteering regularly to encourage and teach others to find health and wellness through biking.
“We lost a good staff member, but we lost an incredible human,” said Central Principal John Vaccarezza.
Tuesday’s ceremony will also include the unveiling of a plaque to be hung in the gym in Antoscia’s honor.
“She will be smiling I know it, on Tuesday night,” said Clayton.
I know she also would have chuckled at my ignorance of how a basketball tripleheader works.
A total of 19 banners were purchased with the $12,000 raised. A few honoring outstanding individual athletes and basketball high scorers are also set to be purchased.
But the fundraising is not done, and donations for upkeep of the new banners will be taken at the door to Tuesday’s games. Tuesday’s games begin with girls’ JV at 3:30 p.m. The banner ceremony and tribute to Antoscia will be held between the girls’ and boys’ varsity matchups at around 6 p.m.