Gains outdo BCL losses for vigilant Gaels

February 27, 2011
  • Bob Parasiliti
Bob Parasiliti

Mama always said if something hurts, don’t do it.

You probably don’t need that advice to keep your hand away while car door is being slammed. Then again, some have been known to stick their tongue on a frozen pole.

You have to wonder what Mama — and quite a few Papas — are thinking as they watch the St. Maria Goretti boys basketball team’s seemingly futile trips down I-70 to play Baltimore Catholic League games.

How many times will those nice white school buses drive all that way only to come back with their tailpipes between their back tires?

For the last three years, Goretti has been like basketball’s version of Meals on Wheels. The Gaels drop a full-course victory off at some other private school’s front door.

The Gaels are now oh-for-three years in BCL victories. Only South Park’s Kenny has a longer losing streak.

Momma is forced to look away while Goretti beats its head against the wall. It’s pretty tough to hide those bruises.

Yet, maybe she should be proud of the Gaels. They aren’t running away from a good fight. The program is willing to take its lumps to provide its players something that no one else around here can. Goretti’s main goal is to get back to its recent past.

It’s really not hard to understand. We are getting into an era when tilting at windmills is in vogue. It’s an alternate form of energy.

Goretti gets a yearly reminder that no matter how bad things get, it is still great to be part of the BCL.

The league’s annual banquet celebrates that the Gaels are a three-time champion in what is considered one of the premier prep basketball leagues in the country. Their players can be selected to an all-league team that has been graced with names like Carmelo Anthony and Rodney Monroe, two ex-stars on a list of many who have made it to the NBA.

And then, there are the memories when Goretti was the talk of the town. It had some of the area’s best teams under coach Cokey Robertson, who had an uncanny ability to find talent and use it to its fullest. He had his players, their parents, the school, its boosters, its students and a city believing the aura that they could — and have — run with the Baltimore’s big boys.

With that, though, came a stigma. Goretti “recruited” players. Players chose Goretti instead of going to an appointed public school. Many schools decided not to schedule the Gaels for that reason. And in some cases, that practice remains.

Now, here are the realities. Some successful traditions don’t last forever. Times change and people leave. A time comes to remember the past and start over again.

Goretti is no different than any other private school in the country. It doesn’t have school district boundaries and it actively looks for students and athletes alike. Some look for Goretti.

All Goretti is providing is a choice.

For better or worse, choice is why Goretti stays in the BCL, even though it’s like getting cracked across the knuckles with a ruler.

Leaving the BCL would greatly alter Goretti’s identity. Still, there are painful hurdles the Gaels need to clear to return to the pinnacle. The main one is continuity.

There has been much change at Goretti since Robertson retired a few years ago. There is a slight identity crisis, but getting the right caliber of players and retaining them is a bigger issue.

The Gaels started the season with only one player having extended playing experience. Next year, they could have six.

Until then, the Gaels’ plan must be to play hard, compete and learn to win.  

And when that time comes, Momma will understand the bruises.

Bob Parasiliti is a Herald-Mail sports writer. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by e-mail at

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