McQuaid’s Anthony Iglesia didn’t make the Democrat and Chronicle’s All-Greater Rochester Basketball team in 2017. So he wrote a note to himself on how to change that for 2018. Here’s what he said, and here’s what he did.
Anthony Iglesia could have sulked. He could have let it crush him. Instead, the McQuaid point guard used not making last year’s All-Greater Rochester basketball team as motivation. So on the day last April the AGR team was announced, Iglesia typed a letter into his iPhone’s notepad. It was for him, no one else. This is what it said:
“April 13, 2017 at 8:20 PM
Note to all:
Today was the day that the AGR list came out, and me not making the first or second team was devastating. Obviously all of the people who made the teams deserved it and I am not taking anything away from their tremendous season, but I took it more into account that I could’ve done better. Making any of the teams would’ve been a blessing, but unfortunately I was unable to do so. But that is not my goal. Only thing on my mind is winning. Only way to fix this is to push myself this summer so that I have a chance to make the list next year. I just want to take a second and thank the AGR committee for not selecting me this year because this only made me a better player, leader and teammate. As the captain of my team I am making a PROMISE. We will win a sectional Championship. We will fight through adversity. We will make history. My only goal from here on out is to make sure that a championship is brought back to McQuaid Jesuit. And to the committee: no player in Section v will push my teammates as hard as I will, no player will want to win anything more and as much as I do, and no player will compete at the level that I will. I will share this message to the public next year in March when I accomplish this goal. As of right now, the only thing left to say it … #BlameTheCommitee.”
Iglesia also cut out the pictures and biographical capsules of the 15 boys who did make the Democrat and Chronicle’s AGR first team. He taped them on his bedroom wall. “Ant, that’s a little bit excessive,” Karen Iglesia told her son.
“I need motivation,” he said.
It’s not the first time. When you’re 5-foot-5 and you dream of being a basketball star, when you’ve asked your doctor growing up how tall you might one day be and rarely hear the words you want, you learn to deal with it and get better because of it.
There was more to overcome, too.
In August, McQuaid lost its star player, five-star recruit Isaiah Stewart, to a prep school. Then the Knights started this season with a 4-7 record. But they pulled it together, led by their tenacious floor general Iglesia, and won McQuaid’s first Section V championship since 2003. The Knights reached the Class AA state semifinals and finished 17-9.
Iglesia turned a negative into a positive.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard young athletes use an AGR “snub” as motivation. We know it happens. We hear about it. Believe me, we hear about it. We try our very best to make sure the right athletes are chosen, but it’s not an exact science. It never will be. Teams are chosen after voting by Section V coaches. Those votes shape the teams. We have final say.
This year’s winter selections, honoring more than 185 athletes and coaches, are scheduled to be published on our website on Thursday, April 12. Our special section runs in our print edition on Sunday, April 15. We hope you check them out.
If you follow the D&C’s social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter, on Tuesday and Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. you’ll see us feature this year’s winter AGR selections. They’re coming to our studio for a picture and video shoot.
We’re honored that being selected AGR in the fall, winter or spring seasons is so important in our area, but it’s also important to know that we don’t enjoy disappointing athletes who don’t make it, but it happens. There is a lesson to all this, of course.
“It’s not just basketball, you know,” Iglesia told me Sunday afternoon. “There are going to be obstacles in your life and how do you overcome them?”
Just like he did: Dig deeper. Work harder. Be a better teammate and leader. Do that and the rest may just take care of itself.
Go AGR social with us!
What: Follow the D&C’s social media channels as we feature the winter All-Greater Rochester selections coming to be photographed and videotaped.
When: Tuesday and Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Our Instagram: DemocratandChronicle.
Our Twitter: Follow Jeff DiVeronica (@RocDevo), James Johnson (@JJDandC) and the D&C account @DandC.
AGR publishes: Thursday, April 12 online and Sunday, April 15 in print.