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.

Name:
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.

03 November, 2006

The Uniform Journey

Due to support received from private donors and the Washington State Association of School Psychologists, the Wahluke Eagles were able to order uniforms and warm-ups. I thought once we had the support the rest would be easy and well I was wrong. One company had what we wanted but it would come in three weeks and then when I called back it was three more weeks. Another company sent me the wrong sizes and finally we decided to try a local retailer in Yakima. So today (Friday 03 November) I received a call that the samples were in so today right after school Juan and I took off with a cross section of the team. On the way there the boys listened to rap and also appreciated the beauty of the tree line on a ridge silhouetted by the fog.

We departed with Dario (the biggest), Alan (tall and slim), Gabino (short), Christopher (medium and stocky), Oscar (medium), and Tony (medium and skinny). We drove to Yakima and arrived ready to go. Then things got a little silly. The boys were rotating through the dressing room trying on shorts, tear-aways, uniforms, and shooters. The came out of the dressing room and Juan appraised the situation and either approved the fit or sent them in for another try. One would think that the boys could change into basketball clothes in under two minutes but for some unknown reason they took around five minutes to change and emerge from the room.

The salesperson did a great job and would inform Juan or I that Christopher needed to try the tear away pants with the shorts or that Dario might need a bigger size, or that Gabino still hadn't tried on the jersey and the shirt together. After we sized the boys we went to the counter and voted on a print design and eagle logo for the uniform shirt. An hour later we left the store laughing and ready to eat.

We wanted to try the Old Country Buffet but the hour wait scared us away so we hit the Chinese buffet. I sat across from Dario and watched in amazement as he out away about six plates. Tony stuck mostly to the shrimp and chicken, Oscar sampled everything, and Gabino, Chris, and Alan stayed close to the pizza. Meanwhile they spoke German to the waiter, joked in Spanish with each other, read their fortunes aloud, looked at the giant carp, and generally had a lot of fun.

While we ate we reminded the players that things like this are some of the benefits they receive for all their hard work at practice. Juan and I expect a lot from the boys. We ask them to be student-athletes on and off the court. In turn they help us become better coaches, communicators, and examples and rightfully inform us when we don't meet the team expectations. It was especially enjoyable to be with Christopher, Gabino, Oscar, and Tony as these four have been with me from the beginning when as third graders they played against second graders in the Catholic league. Of the original seven only these four have been stayed with the program through the summer practices, mile runs, Friday pregame practices, and Sunday shoot around. It was from these humble beginnings clad in homemade uniforms that their dreams of basketball glory began and when I began to learn from them.

Afterwards on the way home we rocked to the Smack That, told ghost stories, and I observed Dario chew gum using his chopsticks while Tony changed the radio stations with his. Alan wanted to hear Mexican Banda and was voted down, and I just drove home enjoying the great chemistry of our team knowing how lucky I am.

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April 11, 2007  

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