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A Team of Greatness
For many of you it might be hard to think all the way back to 1987. For me it is memorable as my first real job after graduating from college in 1986. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States. The cold war was still cold, although thawing. You may recall that the Cosby Show, Cheers and Family Ties were the top TV shows. Michael Jordan started his second season in the NBA and won the scoring title but it would be four more seasons before he would lead the Bulls to an NBA championship.

For most current high school seniors, 1987 was one year before they were born. But here in Brea, California we know 1987 season as they year the win streak started…….

………And we will remember 2006 as the year the streak came to an end. That is right, the Brea Olinda Ladycats won 183 consecutive basketball league games from the 1986/87 season until last Friday when the improbable but eventualladycats.jpg occurred. The Ladycats fell. It took a period of overtime for El Dorado of Placentia to end the streak.

Brea, California is near the border of the Los Angeles and Orange County line in the Los Angeles basin. About 17 million people live in the LA area so this streak was played out in a competitive environment. The span covered 183 games over 20 seasons and remarkably included three coaches, a league change and only one overtime period. The last time Brea lost in league was February 10, 1987, in the season's second-to-last game.

For perspective, the next longest streak in California is 107 and held by a team in the rural central valley of California. The loss endangers another state record. Brea has won 23 consecutive league titles, 10 more than the next current active streak.

The full story can be read in the LA Times,  if you are interested. It is not so much that this is a local story for me and the high school my kids attend. It is more about the pattern of excellence, the tradition and commitment to winning and the ability to stand against the pressure that makes this story special and noteworthy. All this from a public school and a current coach that is an AP history teacher by day.

You can’t pin this record of excellence on one or two great players although there were many great players. Nor could one coach take the credit as three coaches contributed to the success over the 20 years. Like most remarkable events, it comes from a combination of efforts – players, coaches, parents, community and of course some luck.

The Brea Olinda Wildcats had no circumstance or particular reason to be great for so many years. They just were.

"Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own."
-- Henry Ward Beecher

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» Historical Kobe Bryant from LeaderNotes
Is LeaderNotes just about basketball? It seems like it lately. I’ll admit, the past week has had a round ball influence. But the inspiring stories of “Glory Road”  and the 183 win streak of the Brea Ladycats  were really abo... [Read More]

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