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.

08 March, 2007

Academics Count

Bethany, Juan, and I care about our players' academic performance. All of us work in education and have high expectation for the boys and their grades. We realize that basketball eats into their study time so we offer study hall after Wednesday's practice. Additionally we will help any player with their school work anytime they ask. Even on non-practice days some of the players walk to the Intermediate and do school work in Juan's or Bethany's class.

We wish that all our players were pulling straight A's but they're not. However a few of them are close. This week is conference week and I took the time to meet with the players teachers and check on their studies and behavior. Most of the boys are doing well. I spoke with those players who were having difficulty and reminded them that basketball is a privilege they earn and can easily loose. One of our boys was having difficulty with his behavior in class. I gave him a firm reminder and today his teacher reported that his behavior was stellar, a complete turn-around. The coaches expect no less.

On a positive note, Morris Schott Middle School announced the Fifth Grade Honor Role and the following players made the list. Cristian (Me Duele), Oscar (Catfish), Dario (Big D), Alan (Big Daddy), Gabino (Pickles), Librado (Don Vicente), and Jose. Our goal is to eventually have all our players on the list. All the boys want to play in the NBA and Juan, Bethany, and I encourage them. We also remind them that in the end, academic success is the solid foundation for all their dreams.


06 March, 2007

Power to the Little People

The Wahluke Eagles finished the Winter season with their second and worse loosing record of 1-5 by falling to the East Valley Mules 42-29. Despite the loss, the coaches and players remain optimistic as the pieces of the puzzle are fitting into place.

The Eagles played well against a team that was huge. Big D would only be an Average D and Alan would relinquish Big Daddy for the less inspiring honorific Middle Brother and Buttercup the mascot had they been on the Mules. These boys were tall. The Mules took off and drove the ball into a weak defense. Despite a good effort from Chris, the Mules put the ball in the hoop.

The Eagles were hampered by several factors. Fruit Cup was not available as he was suspended for three games. Oscar played but was sick and thus he could not play for long stretches of time. And Laffy experienced the pressure of helping lead the team for the first time and that effected his play. This perfect storm of pressure transferred to the boys on the floor and for awhile we looked out of our league. However as is to be expected, the Eagles awoke and hit their stride in the fourth quarter.

Oscar and Laffy began by exerting a punishing full court press that lead to bad passes. Alan intercepted, passed, and scored. And the Eagles scored and closed the gap. But when the game ended before we could comeback.

As rewarding as the comeback was other players contributed in promising ways. Cristian scored three points and Jose had two as both players scored for the first time this year. Librado had two steals. And perhaps the best augur for future success was Dario at the free throw line. He had two shots and swished the first snapping the net. That first shot energized the bench. Juan began shouting out promises to reward Dario with burritos and I stared in amazement. Dario, appearing impervious to the bedlam, promptly swished the second as well. Then he ran back to play defense with a smile on his face as his teammates cheered.

It is painful to have two loosing season in a row but Juan predicted this scenario last August. However the pieces are in place and as the season changes we remain hopeful for a harvest of hoopsters.

Alan (6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals); Cristian (3 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal); Dario (4 oints, 3 rebounds, 3 steals); Gabino (2 steals); Jose (2 points); Eduardo (6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals); Oscar (8 points, 2 steals); Librado (2 rebounds, 1 steal)