I was at the game on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Jeld-Wen field where the Lake Oswego Lakers beat Sheldon and took home, for the first time, the 6A OSAA Championship. I was struck by a comment Coach Coury made about the 'stars being aligned' and found it rather humble and, in my opinion, an inaccurate assessment of what just happened.

How exactly did the Lakers win the title when our football team wasn't the biggest or the strongest?

Well, there are several reasons why:

1. They had an excellent coaching staff. Led by head coach Steve Coury who always stresses it's not just about winning games but growing good men. Not only were there football lessons to be learned, there were life lessons as well. As the season progressed, we, as parents and spectators, watched these exceptional boys turn into really good men.

2. They had a lot of support from the Lake Oswego community. The booster clubs that support the football program are always run seamlessly, effortlessly, like a well-oiled machine.

I am in awe of these wonderful, efficient people who volunteer their time to make it look so easy. The games were always well-attended by students, parents and Laker staff. (If you want to have some real fun, sit behind the student section during a game and you'll catch Assistant Vice Principal Lovelin leading the always fun 'I Believe' cheer.) In fact, at the final game the attendance was more than 6,000 people, and I'd wager at least 5,000 of them were Laker fans. The support that the community gives the school, and the sports programs in particular, is just phenomenal. I am very proud to be a part of this terrific group of people.

3. They had heart. These young men played their hearts out. They never gave up, especially during the toughest game of their career against Jesuit in the semi-finals, they gave it their all. That's all you can ask of a team.

4. They had inspiration from coach Jeff. The letters coach Jeff composes for the Laker team galvanizes these young men to be the best they can be on and off the field. Indeed, Coach Jeff is an inspiration to us all.

5. They had a state of mind. Coach Coury always recites this poem ('A State of Mind: The Man Who Thinks He Can,' by A. Walter D. Wintle) before their games. And I have found that it is very effective on and off the football playing field.

Maybe the stars did align, however, this Laker Nation member believes that the combination of the above with a big sprinkling of hard work wove its magic on the team to play hard, to play with integrity and with class.

So thanks, coach Coury, for a phenomenal season! You, your coaching staff, the Laker football team, your wives and helpers who have put so much of your (literally) blood, sweat and tears into the football program for the good of the kids and for the pride of Lake Oswego High School made it a truly exceptional year.

You're a class act, sir.

Michel Biernat lives in Portland.

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