By Gordon House, Senior & Water Polo Team Member
EXCELLENCE INSPIRES US.
Here at Beaverton High, we have a set of core values: excellence inspires us; tradition unites us; community connects us; learning Transforms us. As a senior here, I have been part of these values for a while now. I think about them and use them every day I’m at school. One of the most important things I’ve learned is to hold myself to a standard of excellence on every aspect of my life.
A very important part of my life right now is Water Polo, my last year playing the sport I love for the school I love. And it’s almost over. I am blessed to be a Captain of the team I know as family. But what makes this sport so special to me is what it taught me as a freshman on the Varsity squad. I need confidence in myself. My actions, my words etc… To hold myself to a standard of excellence is something my coaches taught me from the get go. I choose to believe that is the reason I am where I am as a player and as a captain of this team.
The excellence I hold to myself and my team is very high. And they proved that to me this last weekend, when we took home first place gold at the annual Dan Berry Tournament in Parkrose, Oregon. I do not believe many of the other teams or the parents would have thought us to win out of the 16 teams attending. But we played like we wanted it. Like we deserved it. Our game with Reynolds High Friday night determined our position playing the following day. Reynolds was the expected winner. We tied them, but lost in the coin flip. Because the tournament is both a girls’ and boys’ competition, there were three pools where games were played, the top two from each would play Saturday.
Saturday morning, we played Sam Barlow. They placed 3rd in state last year, but we had beaten them before, and we did it again!
We then battled it out with Parkrose and won in a low-scoring game for the championship game. Reynolds. The much expected victors. In a back and forth match of very fast and physical water-polo, it was tied 4-4 heading into the 4th quarter. A bad call gave them a 5-meter free shot. Not easy to block. We were down 4-5 with two minutes left, and I scored to tie it up. I was so excited but I knew we had to close. A stream of turnovers led to a tie. 5-meter shootout was the rules of the tournament. Five players from each team would shoot a 5-meter shot on the defending goalie. I hit the bar on my shot. But my goalie Hunter blocked 3 of the 5 shots Reynolds took. My co-captain skipped a shot top left corner to win the game. Both teams wanted it, I could see and hear and feel the excitement and energy of my team on the bench and in between quarters.
Water Polo at Beaverton is something I hold dear to my heart and to finally win something not only for myself but with my team, for my coaches. Something we worked so hard for, performed so well for something we really wanted and had fun getting it. That’s what I love.