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.

29 May, 2006

Wahluke Eagles Rap

I spent the Memorial Day at my godson's house in Othello. Oscar R. was an original member of the Eagles but he moved to Othello.. So Oscar (the other one), Antonio, and I spent the weekend there. Anyway we were messing around and I came up with the Eagles' rap. It has not been put to a beat.

Oscar busting down a three.
Tony moving shaking with ease
Wahluke Eagles flying high
Wahluke Eagles rolling by
Oscar seeing all the players
Doing it with style ignoring all the haters
Tony cruising down with the ball
Tony dominating all

Welcome to Mattawa new team on the block
Welcome to Mattawa putting points on the clock
Wahluke Eagles on high
Wahluke Eagles looking so fly

Freddy diving on the floor
Pickles shooting one hoop, two, three, then four
Cristian no se duele
Ahijado si se puede

Dario D blocking like Shaq
Big D pushing players back
Caedyn cruising showing his smile
C-Dog scoring in style


Alan making points off the glass
Black busting, grabbing boards off the glass
Gabino afro dude looking so cool
Alien Chris taking people to school

Laffy Taffy shooting hoops looking so classy
Laffy Taffy shooting so wacky
Little Fingers last not least
Little Fingers making points with ease


Wahluke Eagles working hard every day
Wahluke Eagles play us you don't know what to say
Wahluke cruising to glory
Wahluke not the end of the story


23 May, 2006

Invitation to Try-Out for Basketball

Juan and I wrote this letter inviting kids to try-out for the team. Them today I rounded up the boys and we announced that we were accepting boys in fourth grade for a try-out. When the boys came by Juan's room for a letter we warned them that practice is hard and we expect all players to listen, behave, and get along. We'll see how many boys hang in there after the first practice.

Our agenda for the first practice is below.
1. Mile Run
2. Timed Lay-in drill
3. Three Man Weave
4. Shooting drill with players going one on one
5. 3 on 2 drill
6. 1-1-3 defense drill
7. One set of suicides
8. Free throws
9. 10 side to sides

Here is the letter.

To all Fourth Grade Boys

Are you interested in playing Basketball for the Wahluke Eagles next season? Are you interested in improving your basketball skills? Are you interested in working hard? And are you interested in having fun and spending time with friends?

If you want to play for the Wahluke Eagles this is your chance. We are hosting try-outs for all interested players. However, if you decide to show up consider the following information.
1. We expect you to work hard. It doesn’t matter if you never played before, if you are willing to try that is what’s important.
2. Come prepared. Bring shorts and tennis shoes.
3. We expect you to listen to the coaches and respect the other players.

So, if you are interested, return this letter with your name to Mr. Martinez in Room 6 in the Intermediate School. We will contact you to tell you when the date of the first try-out.

After the try-outs we will tell you about the team and what we expect. There is no cost to try-out, but remember playing sports is a privilege and we expect you to represent your family and school and be good student-athletes.

Coach Martinez and Coach Berghout

Student Name:_________________________

21 May, 2006

Caedyn's Shot

When Caedyn joined the team this Fall, Juan and I wanted him to work on inside shots off the glass. We drilled him to take the ball inside. But every recess, every shoot around in practice, and almost every scrimmage, he would take the ball about 3 feet inside the arc and to the right of the hoop and send it. The coaches (okay just me), would yell, "No Caedyn that's not your shot." He didn't listen.

So now it's the last game of the season and we are going against the Sunnyside Grizzlies Ramirez. Both teams lost to Wapato and both teams are fighting for second place. The lead seesaws between the two teams. We started slow on defense and Sunnyside had some big boys who could drive the ball in the paint and off the glass.

At this point I should mention that we are playing at the Mabton High School Gym. This gym was the sight of one of our greatest games ever. Flashback to 12 November 2005. The Wahluke Eagles are playing the Mabton Vikings in a show down of the undefeateds. Mabton is playing great and our boys are fighting hard for every possession. There are 20 second in the game and Mabton is up by one. Oscar has the ball, Christopher and Tony are at the low post but covered, Gabino stands ready to take a shot, and all of a sudden Freddy breaks free of his defender at the top of the key, Oscar makes a perfect pass, Freddy catches, aims, and sinks the shot. Wahluke wins 30-29. Now here we are again and there sitting on the bench is Freddy. At this point, Juan and I frustrated with him because he misses a lot of practice but then like George Steinbrener and Billy Martin, Juan and I send for Freddy. In goes the Big Cat smiling and ready to scrap. Sure enough next Sunnyside possession there's a loose ball and Freddy hits the ground, comes up with the ball and a smile on his face.

As the second quarter progresses each possession is critical. Neither team can open up a commanding lead and its like the Mabton game all over again fighting for respectability. Oscar bring up the ball and sees Caedyn standing there a few feet inside the arc to the right of the hoop. He's open so Oscar makes the pass. Caedyn gets the ball, I think he dribbles a little and then he shoots, the ball goes up and it's a swish. Later in the quarter its the same scenario and again he makes the swish. When the game ends the final score is 26-24 Wahluke wins.

After the game, Juan and I were talking to Caedyn's parents. We told them how we tried to get Caedyn to take inside shots but he wouldn't listen and he was right. His four points helped get us the win. Freddy and Caedyn both finished with four points. Alan and Gabino each had three and Oscar finished with twelve.

The Wahuke Eagles finished the year 14-4. We won our division once and finished second twice. We entered in the lowest division and hope to end up next year in the top one. We don't plan to sit our laurels. Next week we'll have try-outs and practices during the summer. We plan to raise money and hopefully buy some warm-ups. And beyond our dreams lays the AAU championships in Orlando Florida.

No Me Duele

On 06 May, Cristian and I missed the debut of Dario against Medicine Valley. The Wahluke Eagles got the better of our opponents and the final score was 47-10.

The biggest news of the game was Dario's 2 points in the paint. We need Dario to be another Lebron making his points in the paint and off the glass.

Cristian and I missed the game because he made his First Communion and I was his Padrino. After Church, we went to his house for tacos and soda. Then, he wanted to play some ball. I went up to court with him and watched him play. And although I am biased the kid looked good.

When Cristian began playing for us in December, he was a definite diamond in the rough. His shoes were too big and fell a lot in practice. When I say fell a lot, I mean he fell playing offense, then get up run to play defense, and the fall again. So after 5 minutes of this he signaled that he wanted to sit. Holding his wrist he exclaimed, "Me duele."

Then in January he disappeared. He is student in Juan's class and I am in and out of his classroom at least twice a day so it wasn't like Cristian couldn't find his coaches. We all thought he was off the team and then one day in mid February he returns with new shoes and a vengeance.

Slowly his awkwardness disappears and his shots begin to fall. We joked it was the shoes and he smiled and kept on working. He still fell a little and sometimes hard. We asked him if he wanted to sit, we joked and called him Me Duele but he smiled and said he wanted to stay.

And then it hit me watching him go against Tony (Macaroni, My Little Pony, etc), Cristian is his twin. He dribbles, jukes, and shoots with the same intensity. Also he resembles him quite a bit. Both boys are slender and wear the hair the same way. Lest one think I'm dreaming when Cristian and I were at Church for his fist confession we saw Tony's Aunt. I greeted her and she kept on saying Tony's name. Then she asked Cristian why don't you respond to your Aunt. Only when Cristian turned did she realize her mistake and remark how much the boy's look alike.

So next year our bench looks stronger with addition with another shooter. And let's hope he doesn't start chewing his nails like Tony.

04 May, 2006

Big D

The day after the Wapato loss, Juan and I were talking about our need for height. So we asked the boys who the tallest kid was and they uniformly responded, "Dario." Juan and I checked with the counselor and she added that Dario was a great kid with a kind heart. I know him as he was in my class in kindergarten and I see him and his brother playing around the school.

So Monday at lunch we called him into Juan's room for a sit down. We asked him if we wanted to join the team. He did but wanted to know if our practices would interfere with his Judo practice. Here we are asking Dario to be the big man and deal with bumping bodies and he tells us he is in Judo. Very good news indeed.

Later I heard that at the Monday afternoon recess, Alan was showing Dario how to make lay-ins and free throws. And then on Wednesday Big D showed up for his first practice. Nothing says welcome to Eagle basketball like a mile run.
Then in gym he jumped right in the drills and in the scrimmage worked on getting the ball on the baseline and laying it off the glass.

After practice the boys lined up, Alan was a half a head shorter and the rest of the team was at his neck and some an inch below that. Dario is the Big Man.

When we left the gym I took Dario to his house. I met with his mom and she signed him on the team. She asked why we wanted Dario when we just have two games left. I responded that Dario had two traits we value. First he has a good heart and second he's tall.