COLUMBIA — Friday night was a tough shooting night for Helias but an even tougher night for Bruins’ forward Logan Parks.
Wearing a light blue dress shirt, dark blue tie and khaki pants, Parks could have been mistaken for an assistant coach. He even held a clipboard tracking statistics for the Bruins.
“If I couldn’t play in the game, I would like to contribute something,” Parks said.
As his replacements Dave Duffeck and Austin Ray traded enormous blocks, Parks jumped to his feet, enthusiastically shouting “Yeah, baby!” as his teammates won Rock Bridge’s final home game.
But his façade could only help hold back the pain of riding the bench in his final home game as a Bruin so much.
“Man, if I could give anything to take it back I would,” Parks said. “I wish I could take it back.”
Parks said he was sitting out the game because he was nursing a lingering shoulder injury and because he got into trouble with the law.
He was arrested on suspicion of stealing on Feb. 14, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
“It was just a poor decision," Parks said.
As the game progressed, Parks kept shouting. Only a well-timed Pepsi from his mother, Rebecca Parks, could keep his voice from going out.
Teammate forward Charlie Henderson created brilliant plays, feeding off of Parks’ sideline energy.
“I could talk to our teammates, I could get them hyped,” Parks said. “It really gets in their heads.”
For a sad senior unable to play during Senior Night, Parks kept a standout grin and positive energy throughout the game. He laughed with teammates, supported players and looked for ways to contribute without actually playing.
“It was hard to watch, but I’m glad we won,” Parks said. “Because if we would’ve lost, that would’ve been even worse. The win lightens up the pain a little bit.”
Rock Bridge decimated Helias 62-27 in a game that was never close. After losing 61-59 to the Crusaders last season, fans may have expected a closer contest.
As coach Jim Scanlon said after the game, defense and rebounding were vital for the Bruins’ rout of Helias. Even so, the extra enthusiasm coming from Rock Bridge’s newest statistician helps too.
“Just me being there I guess helped a little bit,” Parks said. “Every time I got to talk it kind of let them know that I was still there. I wasn’t going to go away.”
His senior teammates understood how much watching his last home game from the sidelines must have been.
“It’s so tough,” Henderson, one of Parks’ closest teammates, said. “Just one mistake and it cost him. But just acknowledging him and remembering that he’s still apart of this team makes a difference.
“He’s still our teammate, he’s still our friend. There is no way we are going to abandon him on Senior Night."
As seniors Kreklow, Henderson and forward Trey Millard were given a standing ovation, Parks stood up with the rest of the crowd, cheering as loud as anyone for his friends.
“They’ve been playing here for as long as I know,” Parks said. “It’s good that they at least got their ovations.”