Wahluke Eagles

This blog describes the joys of coaching an AAU basketball team from Mattawa, WA. Our team and town is roughly 90% Mexican. The blog celebrates and describes life in a central Washington town through the eyes of the players and their coaches.

Location: Mattawa, Washington, United States

I work as a School Psychologist in the Wahluke School District. When I am not coaching I enjoy fishing, reading, and riding my bike.

21 January, 2006

Glory Road

Met the boys, Mr. Martinez, Caedyn, and his family at the 76 station and headed to the big city. We arrived at the theaters. All of the boys were quite excited, for most of them, it was their first or second time at the cinema. Christian felt a little apprehensive as the movie was in English and he spoke very little if it. We found our seats and took almost a whole row with 11 boys, 2 coaches, and a mom and dad.

The film did not disappoint. The audience watched the basketball scenes and responded to them as if were a live game. The message resonated with the audience as well, namely this team faced adversity, worked hard, overcame internal and external challenges, and demonstrated that boys and men playing games with balls and hoops can improve the world.

When the pizza arrived one of the boys was being goofy and wouldn't sit with the team. Oscar (one of the captains) turned to him and said, "didn't you learn anything from the move we just saw." Oscar gets it, discipline, hard work, and team work create winners.

After the film, we went to COSTCO for pizza, specifically for pepperoni pizza because that is all the boys like. As we were eating, Oscar asked if we could have Sunday's practice in the Middle School instead of their school since that's where our home games are located. I asked Gabino (the other captain) what he thought and he agreed, plus he added, "it's a bigger court so that means harder suicides." Most of the boys groaned but agreed so the switch was made. We took over three tables, ate, joked around, then divided up the boys and headed home. I had Alan, Christopher, Eduardo, and Christian in my car as we left town and the fun continued.

Eduardo saw or claimed he saw a Volkswagen Beetle, so he exclaimed slug bug and began smacking everyone on the shoulders. If you want him to stop, you must respond safety. Well his myopia was contagious and soon all the boys were seeing Beetles and smacking the others. Everyone said safety except for Christian, I guess they don't play slug bug south of the Rio Grande. The boys explained that he had to say safety. Later on when the pounding resumed, I heard his voice in accented English exclaim, "Safety".

Once we got ten miles out of the city and were driving on a desert highway to Mattawa, there were precious few cars so nobody could 'see' a Beetle. Boys being boys didn't need an excuse to smack each other around. It was even play each boy got as good as he gave and they never stopped laughing through it all. They even played squeezing the other guy's knee till he said Uncle (or Tio). One time Christian was getting it at the same time from Eduardo and Christopher so he started saying "Uncle, Tio, Tia, help."

Dropped the boys home, happy that we went. Caedyn's dad summed it up best when we left COSTCO, this excursion was a good idea. Between the pizza and punching, the boys got the message- Discipline, Team work, and Hard Work pay dividends.


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