This is a story about the 2009 Northern California Division I high school boys championship between McClymonds High and Monte Vista. It includes some
great basketball, great sportsmanship, a befuddling decision by a school district, and ultimately, a dose of reality.
For those outside of the Bay Area, McClymonds high school is located in West Oakland and has produced such notable people as Paul Silas, the Celtics
legend and all-time great Bill Russell and the not so great MC Hammer. This is a school that many would consider to be on the wrong side of the
tracks. They have a graduation rate of 52% in a city with a median income of $46,475 (low by Bay Area standards) and a crime rate index of 945.9 (US
Monte Vista is a high school located in the affluent town of Danville, CA and counts super model Christy Turlington as one of its' alumns. They
boast a graduation rate of over 99% in a city with a median income of $136,923 and a crime rate index of 93.9 (no, that's not a typo, 93.9).
These two teams met in the NorCal finals, with the winner set to compete in Sacramento for the state title. A hard fought, back-and-forth game
ensued, with McClymonds (the 2008 State Champs) edging out Monte Vista, 46-43. The Warriors of McClymonds had punched their ticket to the finals.
For many high school athletes, a chance to play in the state title game will be the apex of their athletic careers. It is customary for schools to
send their teams up to the state capital a day or two prior to the championship game, so fatigue or lack of practice will not play a factor in the
title match. Unfortunately, McClymonds resides in the much maligned Oakland Unified School District.
It was announced that the district did not have the funds to send the Warriors to Sacramento and that the players themselves would have to find their
own transportation/accommodations. This is no small task for a team of young kids from Oakland.
This is the point of the story where you might expect some great philanthropist or alumni to step in and foot the bill, but this is not the case.
Guess who decided to chip in? None other than the parents of the team beaten by McClymonds to reach the finals. A parent of one of the Monte Vista
players had heard about the situation in Oakland and decided to pass the hat around other Monte Vista parents. They raised the necessary money and
McClymonds was now set to head up to Sacramento early to defend their championship.
What a great story, right? Unfortunately, this where the befuddling decision by a school district comes in. Upon release of the story regarding the
fund raising efforts of the Monte Vista parents, the Oakland School District decided to fund the team and forced them to give back the money donated.
Many in the Bay Area believe that the district did not want to look bad and coughed up the dough. I think the head coach from Monte Vista summed it
"I don't know what high school sports program is in a position to say 'No, thank you' to money, ours included," he said, "that's what's sort
As for the dose of reality: McClymonds ended up playing their worst game of the season, losing to SoCal champs Westchester, 49-31.
I think it's a great, feel-good type of story to hear how high school sports was able to bring together two communities on opposite ends of the
spectrum. It truly is nice to see people helping out people. It is also unfortunate to see how the district prevented this from happening.
Edit to Add Source Links:
McClymonds Grad Rate
MonteVista Grad Rate
McClymonds ordered by school district to return Monte Vista's donations
[edit on 23-3-2009 by kawz1]
[edit on 23-3-2009 by kawz1]