Dominant yet disappointing

The unpredictability of sport is what makes it so fascinating, the unknown that keeps bringing us back to the baseball diamond, hockey rink, tennis and/or basketball courts, or soccer and/or football fields. There is no way to predict, to judge, to foresee the results, whether as an athlete, fan, parent, or friend.
This year was no different on the local sports scene. Our borough had its fair share of playoff success and championship dreams realized, dominant programs that inched toward dynasties or upstart teams which finally climbed out of the cellar. However, it also saw once-promising seasons evaporate in despair and postseason heartbreak at the buzzer. There was sheer dominance, brilliance by unsuspecting heroes, devastation, shock, and the pure joy of competition, the singular reason we all play or watch.
2006 will ultimately be remembered for the championship programs that added hardware to their mantelpiece, the Christ the King girls basketball and St. Francis Prep tennis programs. The Terrier boys also won the city soccer title, just the third in school history and second in four years. Christ the King was suddenly not just a winter program - under former New York Met and Yankee pitcher, Allen Watson, they reached the playoffs after winning just one league game the previous season.
Long Island City shined as brightly as quarterback Haris Lekaj's golden spikes, completing a dominant 12-0 season with a Cup Division championship. Bayside shocked the city in the spring, navigating its way to the PSAL Class A quarterfinals behind the magic right arm of Mr. Perfect Game, Anthony Velazquez. Outside of the Lady Royals, winter was a season to forget. Cardozo found out adding talent does not always equal success, and Francis Lewis lost at Madison Square Garden in the PSAL Class A girls title game to Murry Bergtraum for the fifth time in six years, ending what's been a decade of dominance in the borough.
In the B division, four of the top six seeds were Queens teams, but they all fell short in the semifinals. Then there were the boys of Christ the King, who dropped a classic city title game to Rice at the buzzer, and a week later fell short in the state championship to those same Raiders, despite a heroic comeback from 20 in arrears.
The spring saw the Terriers win a record seventh straight Mayor's Cup, Cardozo take home their second straight city title in PSAL tennis, John Bowne gain a softball championship, Velazquez wow us, and Christ the King finally charm us. The usual Catholic powers - Holy Cross and St. Francis Prep - did not go very far, but Molloy enjoyed a dream run, winning five straight with their backs to the wall until they ran out of gas in the final to LaSalle.
The summer may have held the greatest story, the Panthers of De Phillips Athletic Club, playing in the NFL Flag Football Championship abroad in Cologne, Germany.
LIC and St. Francis Prep, in football and soccer, respectively, carried the mantel in the fall, capping never-before perfect seasons with dramatic performances.
With three freshmen in the starting lineup, Francis Lewis made a surprising run to their second volleyball title game in four years, although they fell short to JFK. Molloy and St. Francis Prep met in the finals in the Catholic school volleyball finals as well, with the Stanners repeating as city champs, and the Cardozo bowling team reaching greatness, knocking off the top three seeds in the process for their first title.
There was so much more that could be mentioned, the gallant efforts, memorable shots, pinpoint pitches, long homeruns, breathtaking sprints, awesome tackles, spectacular athleticism. But we remember the fairy tales, the seasons that end in glory, even the ones that fell a bit short. It was a year to remember for everyone who threw on a jersey or laced up a pair of spikes.
Presented here are six stories and teams that stick out most profoundly to us, as much for their grand accomplishments as the manner in which they were attained.

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