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A moment of celebration, a future of painful memories

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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: A moment of celebration, a future of painful memories

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A moment of celebration, a future of painful memories

The Saratoga Springs football team will always have seared in their memories the loss, the missed extra point conversion and the aftermath of a 35-34 regular season finale against Albany High at Bleecker Stadium.

The Blue Streaks failed to advance into the Section II Class AA playoffs despite roaring back from a 21-point deficit, 28-7, late in the third quarter.

Saratoga scored four touchdowns in the final 17 minutes of play and could have forced an overtime, but the extra point kick sailed wide of the uprights, ending its playoff hopes.

Losing provides its own type of pain, but the Blue Streak squad's humiliation wasn't complete as time expired.

How could they forget the Falcon students storming onto the field, swarming its football team on its homecoming day. Saratoga players will remember lining up shake hands with the opposition and never getting the chance to say the obligatory “good game, good game,” because Albany was too busy celebrating its second win of the year at midfield.

The Blue Streaks will remember walking to the visitors locker room while their opponents celebrated, still haunted by the taunts by the student section throughout the contest.

Saratoga players will remember walking out of the visitor's locker room, heads held high and silent, as the Albany High students walked through the exit gates across from the entrance and continuing to remind them of their failure.

The Blue Streak coaching staff will never forget how many times head coach Terry Jones told reporters about “Class” and how proud he was of his players and how he couldn’t get on his bus and out of the parking lot to avoid any type of confrontation with opposing fans, parents, players or coaches.

One of the greatest comebacks of the regular season was spoiled for Saratoga Springs and one of the biggest upsets in Albany football history was negated by the emotions surrounding its regular season finale.

Who is to blame for the out of control celebration and subsequent lack of sportsmanship?

The contest had its share of chaperones, staff members and Albany City police officers on hand, but none of them ventured over to the opening in the end zone where the students had gathered.

The public address announcer failed to remind the students about sportsmanship and asking them to remain off the field. The Falcon captains joined the celebration rather than re-grouping their teammates, following the handshake tradition and then gathering at midfield or an end zone to celebrate.

Instead, a great moment for Albany became an infuriating memory for Saratoga, its coaching staff, its players and its fans.

What lasted a few moments will now carry forward for weeks, months and seasons to come when the teams meet again in football next year as well as in basketball in the upcoming winter season.

Phone calls will be made from one administrator to another, apologies will be offered, coaches will attempt to brush it off, but the feelings of embarrassment, resentment and lack of respect will linger.

I hope it was worth it, at least for the few moments it lasted for Albany High.

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