On this past Wednesday evening, varsity basketball team defeated St. Ignatius High of San Francisco in the Division Three Playoffs, marking the second victory by the plucky public school over S.I.
That was added to an earlier victory over St. Francis High. With little doubt this is the first time in decades, if not forever, that a San Mateo County public school has secured three victories over the vaunted members of the prestigious West Catholic Athletic League, long regarded as one of California's premier sports leagues.
A word about why there are almost insurmountable odds of public schools over private schools in athletics. The athletes in private schools come through a system of playing many more games in the various sports through the private Catholic elementary school system, which most of the better athletes attended. Most have attended multiple sports camps as they grew and matured.
Since private schools have no attendance boundaries, they draw from a much wider area, and can cull youngsters from families which can afford the tuition and whose children are uniformly well prepared in both the classroom and playing field.
Compare that to El Camino, which has limited and defined attendance boundaries, an elementary school feeder system which, excluding soccer and baseball, is quite limited with modest numbers of games and, finally, often little exposure to sports camps.
No doubt that the West Catholic Athletic League sets the standards for excellence, and I commend them for that. But I have even greater admiration for the El Camino Colts and what their victory means not just for them and for their league, and, of course, for all the coaches of public high schools that will share a secret smile this whole off-season.
It may not be Hickory High of Hoosiers, or Rocky Balboa, but it's pretty good.