All hail the champs: Open Door Jets

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Tribune staff

Not too many student athletes can boast of a state championship. This weekend, the Open Door Jets became one of those lucky few.

With true grit and determination, the Jets brought home the Special Olympics Division III state basketball title from New Philadelphia. They posted a hard-fought 36-37 win over Richland in the semifinals Friday and a commanding 61-39 victory over Cuyahoga Berea in Saturday's championship game.

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Fittingly, the school's championship came on one of the final days of March, which is observed as MR/DD Awareness Month. This year's theme was "We Can Make Choices," and these athletes made several choices that led to their success.

First, and foremost, they chose to become athletes. Too often, people tend to shy away from things that will challenge them. Despite their obstacles, these young men and women decided to participate. That in itself is a reason to admire them.

Secondly, they made the choice to work hard to reach a goal. Just like any other sports team, a championship is the ultimate milestone. The Open Door Jets made the sacrifices necessary to achieve this goal.

And, finally, they had the desire to become champions. Teams throughout the state had the same goals, but the Open Door Jets put forth the effort to become champions. While all of the teams that competed this weekend are winners, only one is champion, and that is our Open Door Jets.

While state championships are hard to come by, this marks the third for the Open Door Jets. This accomplishment is in itself a remarkable feat.

These players are the perfect example of what teamwork can do. Players Aaron Arbaugh, Kimber Brickey, Darrell Christian, Donnie Cooper, Patricia Ellis, Jimmy Fields, Michael Lake, Jarrett Osborne, Chuck Ross, Ben Slone and Robbie Stove and coach Angie Kelley deserve a standing ovation for a fine performance this weekend. You made Lawrence County proud.