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.

15 December, 2007

Something Good is Gonna Happen

Above- The Eagles in a time out during the G-Town Game
The Wahluke Eagles are in their first week of intra-season vacation. However rather than let the cobwebs form and let their skills rust, the boys are using the time to practice and train. Aided by Collin's dad, the Eagles are retooling their skills and improving them.

For example, the Eagles are working on executing lay-ins with their hands ready to rebound and outlet the ball. They are concentrating on sharpening their outside shots and sending the ball off with good form. The Eagles players have good skills now it is the time to make them better.

However last Thursday we took a break from practice and took some time to celebrate. The boys took a seat in Juan's classroom and we asked the to listen. We began by recounting the beginnings of our team. We reminded them of when we first entered AAU as fourth graders and how we practiced in the elementary gym, with it's two hoops and concrete floors. We recounted how some players would slum against the gym wall in tears saying it was too hard and they wanted to quit. We recalled last year's record and our two 1-5 seasons. Lastly we congratulated the boys on our best finish in the top division (Preseason rank #3, Record 3-2, Finished 3rd).

We also did a little rough math. When we began in the Catholic Youth League, we had nine games. When we started AAU in fourth grade, we played 18 games (6 Fall, 6 Winter, and 6 Spring). We continued the same trend in fifth grade, and have finished 6 games this seasons. Our overall record, including preseason games, going back to CYO till present is 33-17 or winning percentage of 66%. For the coaches that means 50 Saturdays spent seeing some exciting games.

Since fourth grade, the Eagles have practiced year around. The boys and coaches figured that there have been about ten weeks a year that we didn't have practice so a rough estimate is that starting with October of 2005, the Eagles have practiced 168 times. As a rule of thumb, the practices were two hours long so we spent 336 hours in the gym. These numbers don't include time at tournaments or jamborees. Those numbers don't include the hour or two hour study halls in Juan's room. Those numbers don't include all the hours spent in the car, listening to music, laughing, telling stories, or just taking in the beautiful countryside. Those number fail to quantify what this team means to players and the coaches and the bond we share.

The Eagles are family to each other. The coaches and players look for each other and work for the common good. Spending that much time together does lead to the occasional clash of ideas or personalities but we always work through it and never let the bad times drag us down. And speaking for Juan, Bethany, and myself, we've enjoyed every bit of it. And as Bethany described so well, when you the team working so well together on the court, you know something good is gonna happen.



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