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.

12 February, 2006

Tough Times Continue

The Wahluke Eagles are staggering a bit after a third consecutive loss to the Cle Elem Kodiak Boyz. The frustration grows since we had the opponent on the ropes and again led most of the game. A couple of questionable three-point shots by Cle Elem, an ill time turn-over by us, and a lucky shot sent the game into overtime. We tried our best but came up short in the two minute period. Final score Wahluke 25-Cle Elem 26.

Again the boys took it hard. The reality of running with the big boys is wearing them down. After the game, several of them asked whether or not our team would drop in the standings. I replied in the affirmative and immediately reminded them that win or lose, they were getting better and developing skills that will take them places.

Gabino, one of our starting point-guards missed the game because his family had to go to Sunnyside. Coincidentally, Antonio and Eduardo's family went there as well. Instead of missing the game however, both boys showed up on my doorstep at 10 AM. Antonio thought to call ahead. They watched television as I ate breakfast and got ready.

Missing Gabino, we put Freddy in as starting point-guard. He did well moving the ball around and getting steals. But the hero of the game was Christopher (nicknames Alien, Ghost Boy, and Pretty Ricky). Chris played most of the game as foreword, he only sat five minutes to rest and give some other boys playing time. He went back on defense to stop there fast break, and like a phantom (thus the name Ghost Boy), he camped out at the edge of the key waiting for a pass and then a quick shot. He scored 2 points but had many good shots that just rolled out. Best of all, he hung in there and didn't let the pressure get him down.

Last year, Christopher frequently got upset during practices and used to sit on the sidelines and pout. This year he has become a team leader and is truly a self-less player. He encourages his peers and when I need a volunteer to take another boy's place in drill, he responds.

Caedyn gave us a solid five minutes of play as well. Using his abundant energy, he came in for Christopher and played aggressive defense. He took part in one steal and had a couple of good shots that just rolled out of the rim.

Eduardo, (nicknamed Laffy Taffy), who took over for point guard also played well. He made six points and stuck close to Oscar as to nullify the trap. His predilection for shooting materialized a couple of times but at least when he shot he was inside the arc.

After the game, we invaded Burger King for some fun. Last year one of the boys classmates asked the players if I would stop for food even if we lost a game. The boys responded in unison, "Of course we would, Mister only wants us to play our best." Now I realize that after tough losses, theses stops are probably more important in terms of the team's morale.

Mr. Martinez and I watched as the boys placed their orders. Luckily one of the cashiers spoke Spanish, which alleviated Cristian's anxiety considerably. One plus of the long season is that now all the boys can place their order and negotiate waiting for it without our help. When the food arrived, the cashier called out the number (195). The other boys then relayed the number back to their peers mostly in English, except for Cristian.

After eating and joking around, our four car caravan loaded up and headed back into the desert toward home. Tomorrow we'll have practice, break down the game, learn from our mistakes, and sharpen our skills. Just wait till next year when the Eagles, like their mythical cousin, will arise from the ashes arrayed in brilliance.


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