Comebacks are part of the excitement of athletic competitions. The comeback staged by the six Hope College teams this spring was simply amazing in leading the Flying Dutch and Flying Dutchmen to an unprecedented 11th consecutive MIAA Commissioner's Cup.
The Commissioner's Cup is presented annually to the MIAA-member college that has the best cumulative peformance in the league's 18 sports for men and women.
Hope's string of Cups was in jeopardy after the fall and winter sports seasons as rival Calvin maintained what appeared to be an insurmountable eight-point advantage in the standings.
Hope spring teams led the rally call claiming a league co-championship in men's track and field, finishing second in women's track and field, second in both baseball and softball, second in women's tennis and third in men's tennis. The spring teams garnered 77 out of a possible 90 all-sports points.
The result was Hope gaining a four-point advantage over Calvin in the final standings, 206-202. For the year Calvin had a 96-94 edge on the men's sports side of the standings while Hope owned a 112-106 advantage in women's sports.
The closeness of the Hope/Calvin Rivalry goes beyond a single sport. A year ago Calvin made a run at Hope for the Cup only to lose by a single point, 209-208. In 2008-08 the schools ended in a deadheat at 202 all-sports points apiece. This year four of Hope's MIAA championships were shared with Calvin -- men's soccer, volleyball, women's basketball and men's track & field.
This is Hope's 33rd Commissioner's Cup, the 26th over the last 32 years. Next is Albion with 14 followed by Kalamazoo 13, Calvin 9 and Alma 5.
Hope's MIAA finishes by sport in 2010-11 were --men's cross country, third; men's golf, third; football, fourth; men's soccer, co-champions; men's basketball, champion; men's swimming & diving, second; baseball, second; men's tennis, third; men's track & field, co-champion; women's cross country, second; women's golf, third; volleyball, co-champions; women's soccer, seventh; women's basketball, co-champions; women's swimming & diving, second; softball, second; women's tennis, second; and women's track & field, second.