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.

14 January, 2008

This is what we're about

The Wahluke Eagles played in a Yakima League tournament this weekend and lost all three games they played. They lost the first game by over fifty points. If the Eagles cared only for winning, then it was a unsuccessful venture. But to understand the Eagles, one needs to look closer.

Other teams in the tournament are all-star teams made up of the best players from around the area. Our first game was against the Yakima Rattlers, yet they had the tall kid from the Kodiak Boyz on their squad. Teams are formed for tournaments and then disband till the next one. At a young age, their players learn to concentrate on their own game stats at the expense of the whole. The Eagles are different.

Bethany was waiting in line for the restroom with a mother of a son on one of the all star teams. The Yakima area mom lamented how her son's team didn't play like one. Each one wanted to be the one to score the basket or block the shot. She went on to add that it made her frustrated because basketball is about team work. She compared the Eagles to her son's team and said that the way the Eagles played made it fun. Everyone moved together and got the ball to the open player. The Eagles work together.

A few vignettes drive the point home. A couple of times Oscar and Tony put together a series of passes that made the spectators sit up and take noticed. They orchestrated a symphony of half court bounce passes and quick chest passes when a defender got close, until one of them had the shot. One of the referees told them that he wanted to see more of the kind of play. Bethany commented on how the back court trio of Christopher, Dario, and Librado worked in tandem with hands up and chests out that denied the opponents easy weak side lay-ins. Bethany's pictures show Cristian with his hands up and Collin ready to receive the ball. One sees Jose worming his way to grab a rebound. They show a team.

Perhaps the picture above shows it best. One of the Eagles players had a fever the day of the tournament. He came, did his best, and gave his all for the team. In between games he rested and attempted to recoup his strength. Instead of laying somewhere on his own, he found the lap of teammate to rest. Notice how the other player has his arm across his friend's chest as he listens to music. These Eagles care about the game and they work hard and want to win. More important than that though is that care about each other.

That's what makes coaching the Eagles a wonderful experience. That's why you need to cheer for this team and support them. The Wahluke Eagles aren't a hastily concocted All Star team only worried about the bottom line. The Wahluke Eagles represent the best of youth sports because they are a group of young men who learning and displaying the values of hard work, friendship, and team work. As Juan told Oscar after the first loss, we're about more than just winning. The Eagles work on building the values that last.

These are you're Wahluke Eagles!

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