No matter where a team stands during the course of its long season, there are a handful of storylines you can always count on to crop up in columns just like this one.
For example, imagine that jumpstart Team A delivers a crushing blowout victory over a regular season opponent. You're going to hear phrases like "they dominated in all phases" and perhaps listen to questions like "Are they for real?"
Now, let's consider the defeated team in this case, poor, lowly Team B. Amidst the players' and coaches' reported motivation to play better going forward, you're going to receive a healthy dose of talk like "It's only one game."
Finally, picture that Team A isn't so lucky next time and instead ekes out a close victory in the final moments. Maybe, it didn't even play better than the opponent. In that case, bring on the glorious redundancy of this gem, "A win is a win".
So when the Darien baseball team crushed Trinity Catholic Monday with an 18-6 effort, you should have known what plot was coming. The Blue Wave "dominated" and the Crusaders knew it was "only one loss," no matter how many runs they had surrendered. That's all.
Except, that was wrong.
For, while Monday's contest registered as only a single loss in the Trinity Catholic books, it served as more than just one game for Darien. Instead, it stood as another piece of a winning pattern that ought to answer any doubts as to the legitimacy of the team's hot start.
For, when is a win not only a win? When it's a part of something much greater.
Back in October, the Boston Red Sox took Game 6 of the World Series and consequently celebrated like released prison inmates on the mound.
Was this because they had simply compiled their 108th win of the 2013 season, all of which carried the same value?
No. They had claimed the clinching game of Major League Baseball's championship series. Going bonkers was more than called for.
As for Darien, celebration, particularly uninhibited rejoicing, must certainly wait. But, the feeling of having truly arrived should settle in. There ought to be no more surprise anywhere that this team stands atop the FCIAC ahead of state champion New Canaan and other conference powers, who were projected to finish better than their current leader.
The FCIAC needs to stop rubbing its eyes and shaking its head.
With the Trinity Catholic win, the Blue Wave has now won eight games in nine tries, falling only to Fairfield Warde, which owns a 7-2 mark in conference play. Otherwise, this team has outscored opponents by a total 55 runs and will be the FCIAC leader at the season's halfway point.
By comparison, the three schools closest to Darien in the standings, New Canaan, Warde and Staples, have outscored their opponents by an average total of 50 runs.
When these teams go head-to-head, we will learn an awful lot more about the correct order of the FCIAC picture. But, with a sufficient sample to draw from, it is already clear that the Wave has earned its place in the top-tier. Head on down Darien High School and catch a game one afternoon to see for yourself.
The bats are there and so is the pitching. One of the Wave's best hitters, George Reed, missed the Crusader bashing and his team still scored a season-high in runs. Starting pitchers Andrew Nault, Ames Murray and Stephen Barston have all collected wins in excellent outings from the hill and helped out in relief.
Who knows where this club will end up when the post-season rolls around, but should Darien find itself holding one trophy or another in June, don't let the inevitable storylines of a surprise team going the distance fool you.
This "Cinderella story" fit the slipper a long time ago. It's just about time everyone else took the time to see it.