State Stories


“I’m too big to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh.” – Leo President Dan McGrath On Amazing Basketball Season

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Current Leo High School President Dan McGrath was a long-time writer, including 13 years at the Chicago Tribune, prior to taking the head position at his high school alma mater in 2010. After the Lions came up just short and placed second in the IHSA Class 1A Boys Basketball State Finals, McGrath took to Facebook to summarize the season and weekend with the classy post below:

"The line is attributed to Abe Lincoln, and it has been co-opted to the point of cliche, but it seems appropriate today: I’m too big to cry, but it hurts too much to laugh.

The Leo Lions came up three points short in their bid for a state basketball championship, falling to LeRoy 38-35 in Saturday’s Class 1-A title game at the Peoria Civic Center. We just couldn’t hit a shot against LeRoy’s tightly packed zone defense. Matt Chastain, the best 1-A player in the state, got us for 21 points, but the dagger was a deep three from the corner by LeRoy’s Noah Perry with 38 seconds left, after we had scrapped back to tie it.

Unlike Friday, when Jamil Green’s buzzer-beating putback got us past Woodlawn in our semifinal, there would be no storybook ending this time. We finish 24-9. The kids competed admirably, they comported themselves with class. They represented Leo the way we like to be represented.

And second place in the state in our division? That’s a pretty good season. In time, the tears and the long faces that were prevalent in our locker room will give way to a real sense of accomplishment. We tell our kids all the time that there’s no shame in getting knocked down, as long as you jump back up and keep going. The old man will have to make sure he practices what he preaches to the young guys.

I got some help Sunday morning. The raw, wet weather was an apt metaphor for my mood as I left for Mass, but my two street pals whom I always encounter outside Assumption Church were more upbeat than usual. 'Man, Leo made it to the state championship, Mr. McGrath. You tell those boys we’re proud of them.'

I surely will. And I am, too."