The Miracle of St. Anthony's

Location: Ms. Casey's Room

Dennis Erving
Josh Britten
Suzanne Driscoll
Chase Hughes
Megan Casey
Chase Hughes
Ms. Lewis
Junior Senior
It is 6:20 in the morning. I yawned as I hopped on the last bus that I would take to a game in my high school career. The nerves in my stomach were running wild. The state championship, the game that matters most is an hour and a half away. Not only is this game important because it could finish of a perfect season, but also because big names from big colleges and even NBA would be there watching for fresh talent that could bring talent and wins to their team. As I got onto the bus I noticed a face that was out of place. “How’s it going today Marcus?” Coach Hurley said. The sight of him on the bus with the team made me stutter before saying, “Good coach, I’m ready.” I sat down right behind him. I was still in shock because he would never ride the bus with his team, always driving with his wife in their own car. To me, this action meant a lot. I knew that he wanted to be as close to his players as possible on one of the most important days of his career. I could tell all the other players were feeling shocked too. The fact that he was with us made me feel like we were a real team that had a close connection with each other. Coach turned around and starting talking about scouts that would be at the game but I was zoned out because today I was going to be playing high school basketball in the Meadow Lands, the same arena that the Nets play in! The bus started moving and Jay-Z started blasting through my ears as I concentrated on the task that lay ahead of me and my team. The bus arrived to the stadium quickly and all of us walked into the huge arena with disbelief on our faces. It was enormous. We all went into the locker room and got ready for the biggest game of our lives. There was a ton of pressure on me because I was the only Friar on the team that had played in a state championship before. Sister Alan told me that I needed to be the leader and make sure my teammates don’t get sloppy because of nerves. Once everyone was seated on the bench I looked around the room. No one was talking or messing with each other. Most just stared at the floor almost as they were expecting something to happen. The silence suggested that everyone knew that they could make history on this night. Hurley is usually a big speech maker but tonight he came in and told us all we needed to here for motivation. He said “We’re in a professional building. The game is on TV. We’re playing for the championship in our state. Do we need anything else?” We all raised our hands and made a circle for the prayer. Coaches voice vibrated through all of us. All of us were making contact and it felt like we were finally coming together almost like a family. As he started the prayer we all bowed our heads and focused for what was ahead of us.
Mayhem was all around me, the strobes, the music, the cheering. The announcers voice boomed over the sound system that probably cost as much as my house. As I was introduced I ran to the center and did a complete 180 degree turn. Televisions cameras and people was all I could see.
I lost the opening tip but immediately we all locked into basketball mode. The fun and games were over because tonight the Friars would make a name for ourselves once again. My team and I played mediocre defense the whole first quarter but our offense was on fire. The buzzer sounded and I looked up at the scoreboard. It read Eighteen to ten. The second quarter started off great. I had a huge play when Sean hit me with a no look pass and I easily dropped a layup making the score twenty seven to thirteen. My play caused them to take a timeout. By halftime we were winning thirty three to sixteen. We had only aloud them to score six points in the last quarter. In the locker room everyone was happy. We pretty much had the state championship in our hands. During Coach Hurley’s speech he said something about there only being sixteen minutes left of the season. Those words lit a fire in me because it made me realize all the work I have ever done was being saved up for this one moment. Throughout the third and fourth quarter I had a few fast break layups and steals giving our team an extra boost even though it was not needed. At two minutes left coach pulled all of the starters including me. We were destroying the other team, and he wanted to give some of the bench some playing time. The last horn I would hear of my high school career sounded. Sixty seven to fifty five was the final score. We had done it, a perfect season, 30 and 0. It was the best feeling in the world. Everything that we went through to get here paid off. I ran to center court to join my teammates in celebration.
Coach said to me that I was going to get MVP of the game. This made my heart leap, but the announcer came over the speakers and gave the award to my teammate Barney. I wasn’t to moved because we had just won the championship, we were champions. The fact that I didn’t win the award had absolutely no effect at this time. I was just happy we made it. After all the celebrating died down we climbed back onto the bus. Coach told the bus driver to go the long way home because this was the last time he would have to spend with his seniors like me. It was an emotional ride but I could all go home knowing that I was a champion and Coach Hurley made that all possible.

Suzanne Driscoll's Creative Response:
The first song that came to mind when reading this story was All Star by Smash Mouth. Not only does the song directly relate by the title, but the song is about how everyone can improve a little. Coach Hurley in The Miracle of St. Anthony’s takes a bunch of boys from a poor high school and makes them into a winning team. Their were obstacles just like in the song, but getting passed them makes the journey more worth it. In the beginning the team wasn’t expected to be great. The end shows how hard the coach and the players worked together to change themselves into something better.
The second song that came to mind while reading was The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga. I chose this song because when the team is up against last year’s champions they are “on the edge of glory.” The songs says that the moment right before you reach glory is the best feeling. That is exactly how the team felt right before they one the championship game. This song is more of how the players think of their coach because they are in the moment with him. This is referring to the line “I’m on the edge with you.”
The third song I chose to relate to this story is Fighter by Christina Aguilera. This song also relates to the way the players look at Coach Hurley. This isn’t saying that their coach is a fighter. It is saying that the methods of his coaching made his players fighters. The entire chorus of the song is saying despite all of the things he did to them only made them stronger, smarter, and a fighter. The coach has a lot of respect for the players he coached because he puts them through hell at practice.
The forth song I chose to relate to this story is Get’cha Head in the Game by the High School Musical Cast. I chose this song because it is about basketball and life at the same time. This relates to the coaching of Coach Hurley. His lesson aren’t only linked to the game of basketball, but life in general. Coach Hurley could have coached at other schools, but when he coached these kids he knew that he was also giving the kids better opportunities for their futures. He helped them get the chance to play college ball which is probably more the players originally planned on doing.
The fifth song I chose to relate to this story is Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer. This song makes me think of type of things the coach would tell a player that is struggling. For instance, he might say that he knows that what he is asking is hard, but if you stay positive everything will be okay. basketball is just a game, so don’t discouraged by the challenge because their are much larger challenges in life than physical work.

Dennis Erving:
Hurley’s Perspective
It was a chilly afternoon in November, walking down Montgomery Street, thinking to my self that its to late in the seniors career for them to screw it up. I walk up the cement stairs of the Jersey City Armory into the gymnasium with a good feeling. Rubbing my watch on my right arm knowing that it’s time to run kids until they can’t move. I want to bring this kids back to old school ways, teaching them respect for the game and people around them and that this kind of disrespect isn’t going to get them anywhere.
I remember how my dad taught me respect. I was in high school and my math teacher was a huge jerk. I couldn’t stand his class, so one day I told him off and the next day he got a hold of my dad. That night my dad taught me some respect with a little beating to get it through my thick skull. So from there on I was a well respected other people and eventually became and respected man.
When I entered the gym I was beaten to my own job, someone else was already pounding my players. Kids crawling on the floor in pain and sweating like there was just an oil spill. The players had wired-braced contraptions that connected their legs and arms to create resistance. I had wished my old friend the St. Anthony teacher who ran the SAT practice course at the end of school was here to see the seniors suffer.

Josh Britten Creative Response:
There’s someone at the door. Coach Hurley walked across his office to where the principal of Saint Anthony’s was standing looking quite upset.
“What’s wrong?” Coach Hurley questioned.
“I’ve received numerous complaints about your way of showing these boys discipline on and off the court” the principal scolded.
See coach Hurley’s way of handling things may have been a bit harsh but quite effective. He was was to simply run.
“I don’t think you are in any position to tell me how to coach my boys” he replied.
The truth behind it was that his methods of imposing discipline and order in these boys was most effective. These Jersey boys had been brought up on the streets, never seeing any rules or punishments from their parents. Failing grades, skipping class, being late, all these things came back to coach Hurley, and when they did, the players could tell hell was coming.
“Well coach you best talk to your boys then because I will not have any more complaints from no one about your behavior during games or practices. We can’t have any kicking or swearing from you on the sideline. For heaves sake this is a Christian School!”
Coach nodded along with everything that was being said to him. But in the back of his head he knew what he had to do, and what had worked for him. After all, for many years he had been considered one of the best highschool coaches in the country.
“Mr. Principal” Coach Hurley stated “my methods of coaching are completely sane and logical for these boys. I have helped them change from juvenile delinquents into young gentlemen. These boys have nothing and now I am giving something to live for”
Finally the principal exited the room and it was time for practice. Coming up on playoffs with a unblemished record the team was in need of some new plays. He walked into the gym to see the whole team standing there.
“Everyone on the line, we’re running”