10th in a series.
The problem with success sometimes is what it can create: expectations and pressure.
In the case of Park View High School, many athletes have contributed to its impressive list of sports achievements. Among the best known are Patriots athletes who reached the professional ranks, including former Houston Oilers running back Allen Pinkett and Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Billy King.
Park View also has had plenty of team triumphs. The football team has won 13 district titles, including five in a row from 1998 to 2002. The gymnastics team is tops at the school with five team state titles, and the softball team won the most recent state championship, in 2002.
"Park View has a lot of rich tradition as far as being successful in athletics," said first-year athletic director Joe Breinig Jr., son of Briar Woods Athletic Director Joe Breinig Sr. The younger Breinig took over for Les Cummings -- who held the job for six years -- this summer when Cummings decided to take a position with Loudoun County public schools as the county supervisor of athletics.
"I think Park View's had a long, long tradition in sports before I even got there," Cummings said. "It's a school that has tremendous student and parental and community support. The pep rallies they hold there are unbelievable."
Football coach Andy Hill, in his first season, has heard the first whispers of what it's like to lead the football program at Park View. He recently was reminded before this, the school's 30th anniversary, that he is the fourth football coach in school history, and each of the previous three took a team to the state title game.
"I don't feel that pressure right now," Hill said. "There's a reason you coach high school and not in the NFL. We want to have a successful season and strive for the state championship every year. . . . I think modeling men is more important than modeling straight athletes. And I don't want people to think that means we're not doing what we need to do on the football field, because we hit it hard on the field."
Hill may not be feeling the Park View pressure, but a few of his players are. Just ask senior linebacker Kerry Dudley, who said fans have told him, "Oh, you got to bring [the district title] back this year." With each comment the burden grows, especially with talented players such as running back Deric Dudinski returning. Senior safety Greg Stuart is eager to win a title as well. He's aware the team hasn't won a district title since he started at the school.
Football players aren't the only athletes who have to deal with history. Senior sprinter Justin Nelson, part of the track and field team that Cummings describes as having made "tremendous bounds in the right direction," wants to win state titles in the 100 and 200 meters and maybe even break school records. To do so, he would have to surpass Pinkett, who in 1982 ran the 100 meters in 10.7 seconds and the 200 in 21.7.
Nelson doesn't feel any added pressure because it's Pinkett he's trying to beat. In fact, he didn't know who Pinkett was until he asked about him. "I just look at times," Nelson said.