And so four boys from the Bronx arrived in September 2010 and a fifth a few months later, moving in with host families in this faded city of 16,500 and enrolling at a school that, with only 95 students, was barely afloat.
Quickly, the basketball team was transformed, notching a record of 16-7 for the 2010-11 season, a stunning turnaround from the previous year’s 2-18. This season, the Mounties, as the team is known, are 15-1 and sailing toward the state playoffs.
But the story of the Bronx boys in Rutland is not a uniformly happy one. Some students and parents are livid about their presence on the team, saying it deprives local players of court time and is an underhanded tactic by Mount St. Joseph to improve its team.
Forget the feel-good story of some kids from the Bronx getting a good high school education. Little Ethan isn't getting enough court time. If a star player grew up in the Bronx, then that's cheating. You need four generations to count as a real Vermonter, ayup.
Thinking, acting, and buying local isn't sustainable. We fear the foreign and somehow that's okay. It's more environmentally friendly. We justify our exclusion of outsiders in bizarre ways. People develop, not places.