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“I started math class late and nobody thought I’d be able to pass it,” said Walker. “I was playing JV ball because I had trouble turning the ball over.”
He worked diligently on his math, and his game, and became a confident leader on varsity.
“Edo was probably the only kid that bought into it at first,” said McKenzie, who came to North this year despite constant threats that the school could be closed down in the near future. At a game in Bemidji, he was sitting quietly by his locker, McKenzie said. “I asked if everything was OK. He said, ‘I’m just doing what Miss Jane taught us.’ ”
Now, before games, they do visioning, seeing themselves in their mind making free throws or perfect jump shots.
In class, Walker’s story prompted others.
“People said I’d never play for coach McKenzie because I’m too hot-headed,” said Isaac Johnson. “Now I’m starting.”
“I took my quantum leap by coming to North from Osseo,” said Randy Mathews. “Everybody said North wasn’t nothing and it was going to close down.”
The universe has indeed been magical and friendly to the North High team, and the kids have made their own reality.
But they also learned Friday night, at a game to determine which team would continue on to the state tournament, that the universe also has a say, and sometimes the other team is creating its own reality too. They lost in the final seconds, 67-65, to perennial powerhouse Maranatha.
Those tears and emotion Barrash talked about Thursday seemed entirely appropriate Friday night.
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