Gilligan views it all as just another challenge.
“It’s a little hurdle you’ve got to get through in life, which I do, and I try to stress that with the kids — you know, adversity. There are things in life that aren’t always going to go well, but these are things we can overcome.”
Gilligan has not missed a game this season, despite undergoing a stem cell transplant less than two months ago. “I just go the way I normally go,” he said.
Lingren said proudly, “He’s not letting cancer beat him. He’s mentally strong and keeps us as strong. We know if we just bear down mentally then we can do it too.”
“It’s definitely great motivation if he can be out there with us at practice,” Connor Irving added.
The team’s goals are pretty simple, according to Andrew Irving.
“Win the [Northeastern Conference], keep winning all our games, win the state championship game and get to the Garden. Keep winning for coach.”
After losing season, Reading girls rock
A year ago, the Reading High girls finished 3-16-1.
This season, the Rockets started 6-0-1. And they have done so with an explosive attack, outscoring foes 39-8, including back-to-back drubbings of Framingham (10-0) and Wilmington (11-0).
“This year, we’ve been blessed with four really outstanding freshmebn: Caroline Seibold, Ali O’Leary, Tori Grimmer, and [goalie] Kayla St. Pierre,” said Reading coach Michael Golden.
“It’s about a bunch of young kids getting a ton of experience and blending in some really high-end freshmen. We needed a goal scorer and found one in Ali O’Leary. We needed a stable defenseman and found one in Seibold. You add those four pieces to a young but experienced group and its led to the quick start we’ve been off to.”
Pat Bradley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.