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Last Friday night, I was present as Groton-Dunstable Regional High School alumni Stacy Adams was honored at “Women in Sports Night” in the Groton-Dunstable High School gymnasium. While I never had the pleasure of knowing Stacy when she was in high school, it is clear that she is a woman of incredible class and an outstanding role model for all student-athletes, girls and boys alike. As I listened to her speak about some of the values sports teach us — teamwork and discipline, I felt prompted to recognize some very special people.

First, I am compelled to pay the ultimate complement to the team I currently coach, the Groton-Dunstable Varsity Girls Basketball Team. While the team has struggled to adapt to their new and more intense league (3-9 overall record), I don’t think I could be any more proud to be their coach.

Every day the girls come to practice and pour their hearts and souls into becoming better players. They accept constructive criticism with ease, consistently maintain a positive attitude and always stick together as a team, regardless of how frustrating or difficult things become. The girls demonstrate exemplary sportsmanship at all times and do their school and families proud each and every time they walk out on the court.

Addtionally, I feel the Groton-Dunstable athletic community owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to sports writer Ken Blanchette. Anyone who has ever had a conversation with Ken is well aware of how passionate he is about his job and how important the student-athletes he reports on every night are to him. Every column/story he writes reflects an appreciation for athletes who demonstrate remarkable effort, personal improvement and sportsmanship. In this way, I think Ken masterfully balances the tasks of recognizing the accomplishments of exceptional athletes while never losing sight of the big picture.

As readers of the Groton Landmark are probably aware, Ken recently proposed a very unique way of raising funds for the athletic departments of the school communities he covers for the paper. Ken is accepting pledges (of any size) for every pound he loses between now and April 30. I hope many people will contact the paper and support Ken in this program as he raises money for a great cause and proves once again what a class act he truly is.

As a player or coach, it always feels better when you win than when you lose games. However, it is crucial that we have exceptional people like Stacy Adams, Ken Blanchette and the Groton-Dunstable Girls Basketball Team to remind us all of the true value of athletics.

MARK HENNELLY

Groton-Dunstable Varsity Girls Basketball Coach