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Parasiliti: Personnel changes at HCC cloud the future

April 21, 2013
  • Bob Parasiliti
Joe Crocetta

Winning isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

It carries too many consequences.

There was a time when it felt pretty good, though.

Winning was the best of all worlds. Victory was the badge of honor that rewarded one for mastering the work, struggle and an opponent to come out on top.

It was a chance to bask in the topical sun.

But like most things in our culture, once is no longer enough. Winning isn’t a benefit anymore … it’s an obsession.

It’s a philosophy that benches Aristotle, Plato and Socrates. Instead, it’s a little more contemporary.

“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” — Vince Lombardi

“Momma always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” — Forrest Gump

Face it, the days of just winning being everything are gone.

How many times have you heard a coach say, “We are going to celebrate this win tonight and then get ready for the next game”?

Now, winning a game is like taking first on an episode of The Amazing Race — “Here’s the carrot at the end of this stick, now finish climbing that mountain for the ultimate peak.”

Wins have become the nuts and fruit in the center of a season, while everyone pokes around for creams and caramels.

Winning is more important than losing, but those wins mean nothing without a championship. And then, if you win that championship, it becomes all about winning another one.

It’s not about making history. It’s about dictating it.

It’s not unusual anymore for championship teams to be dismantled (see the Baltimore Ravens).

Players leave or get traded. Championship coaches get fired or resign.

Success has no job security. Dynasties have gone the way of dinosaurs.

It all hits close to home when you consider what is ahead for Hagerstown Community College.

HCC athletics have been on an upswing, probably emphasized most by the recent success of the men’s basketball team, which recently visited the national tournament for the first time in 19 years.

Step by step, the Hawks have improved. First, winning games … then a Maryland JuCo Conference regular-season title … then two league tournament titles … and three straight Region XX titles ... with the third finally leading to a District 3 victory and the invitation to nationals.

As the Hawks prepared to make that journey, coach Barry Brown mused that this trip to Hutchinson, Kan., was considered to be the first of many to come, making HCC the torchbearer for every NJCAA Division I school from New York to North Carolina in the process.

Winning was great. The championship was fine, but the whole box of Hershey’s chocolates was within reach.

Instead, Brown resigned as coach earlier this week, before that dream had a chance to become a habit. In addition, athletic director Bo Myers will be retiring at the end of June.

Suddenly, arguably the two most prominent faces in the HCC sports program are being erased with the team photo.

Coaching moves have been made with other Hawks teams — volleyball and track and field, to name two — and the quality remained, but this all comes with basketball at the crossroads.

Those two openings could close the door before HCC gets its chance to check off Hutchinson as an annual destination.

This situation is comparable to a professional team replacing its head coach and general manager at the same time. In all probability, the school will hire Myers’ replacement, giving that person the task of hiring the new coach. That way, it will be two people on the same page.

That page will be what is in question.

Will getting back to Hutchinson during this generation be a priority?

How much emphasis will be placed on winning — and will it be just games, league titles or region and national championships?

Will this past season be something used as a foundation, or will it all be gutted and rebuilt?

Will — and can — HCC afford to change some of its coaching positions to full-time jobs to keep up with traditionally successful programs?

Once again, in so many ways, Hagerstown is behind the times.

Basically, it comes down to the definition of winning. Is it the only thing, or is it an occasional treat?

Winning has its consequences, but so does losing.

Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or by email at bobp@herald-mail.com.

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