Wings Academy head coach Bill Turnage didn’t understand the magnitude of the situation until random people he didn’t know started stopping him in the street.
“Bring it home for us, coach.”
“Good luck in the finals, coach.”
They were frank reminders that what his team was trying to do was special. For the first time in the school’s history, Wings Academy was going to Madison Square Garden to play for a New York City championship in basketball.
In Episode 1 of Glory Days, a new web series from Victory Journal and Complex detailing the championship journey of Wings Academy in The Bronx, we meet a group of unlikely heroes, a team bent on overcoming what once felt like an insurmountable hurdle.
Bookended by 6-11 Georgetown commit Jessie Govan, the player described as the difference-maker by Turnage, and senior point guard Desure Buie, Wings ran through the PSAL (Public Schools Athletic League) easily and yet still sported several key weaknesses. In the year prior, they lost because they couldn’t make free throws. And then during the regular season this year, their one league loss came again Cardozo, a perennial power and the school they’d ultimately play in the finals at MSG.
This is the story of “Wings Nation,” a group of outsiders who saw an opportunity and wanted nothing more than to live in the moment. When that journey concludes, fittingly, with a title, you can see it on everyone’s face. This was about more than a trophy.
It’s a theme reiterated by Turnage. Even when you think people aren’t watching, just know they are. In the end, you’re always playing for more than just yourself. You’re playing for your school, your community, your family, and your teammates.