In a Loss, Something Far Greater is Won
On Saturday morning at the SoCal Regional Waterpolo championships, the Patriots were continuing an historic run with an opportunity to earn a spot in the program’s first ever Regional Championship game. They faced a tough opponent 2019 CIF-SDS D3 Champion Mt. Carmel HS. Every goal would count as the Patriots experienced in their run to the 2019 CIF-SDS D2 Championship (Overtime in both the semifinal and final).
The Patriots were the first to score and carried an early 1-0 lead. Then something unusual happened that required extraordinary courage and character. MCHS took a shot that looked as if it went in the goal but the officials called no-goal. After about 45 seconds, Coach Charlie Equels stopped the game to notify the officials the ball in-fact did go into the goal and through a hole in the net. The goal was awarded. The final score was 12-9 and MCHS advanced to the regional championship game.
The actions of Coach Equels were recognized by observers. State CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti sent out a message on Twitter honoring the moment in a statement, “In [CIFState] water polo semis a Mt. Carmel shot appeared to sail wide but actually went thru a gap in the net. Coach Charlie Equels from Patrick Henry got the referees attention and told them it was a goal. Thanks for modeling integrity, coach.” MCHS Athletic Director Greg Lanthier wrote, “In a game where EVERY goal was going to be crucial, in a time where an emphasis on winning is out of control, your coach displayed the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship. Please pass on to your Coach, PH WP program, and your PH athletics community, sincere appreciation from MC BWP, and our entire athletic community. Your coach has helped to renew my faith in the value of integrity in education-based athletics.”
Coach Equels simply stated, “It was the right thing to do.”
In a time where we are searching for leadership and positive examples for our young men and women this was a moment that will teach all the student-athletes present what words never could. At the end of the day, education-based athletics is more than winning and playing a game. If we aren’t teaching these core values through our actions then we are just swimming up and down a pool and throwing a ball around (in the case of waterpolo).
Although we fell short in the semifinals yesterday something much more powerful was won. The legacy of Coach Charlie Equels’ action will live on in the lives of those athletes, parents, and everyone who was present much longer than any win ever could.
Athletic Director- J. Cody Clark