Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scratch my back and I will scratch yours!

Hoyas Michelle Rodriguez and TeamXpress Meighan Simmons in New Orleans.

I got a call from a coach that triggered a trip down memory lane:

  • Charlie Harper, Lady Rohawks Head Coach, called and asked me if I knew any power forwards or centers that would like a scholarship to a Division 2 school in New Mexico. I told him I would think about it and put some feelers out. I then checked my email and saw that his wife, Lorraine, had already emailed the coaches' contact info and solicitation of a player to fill its roster. I also noticed that Lorraine had CC'd fellow club coaches in an effort to help kids other than Rohawks.

I then thought back to when the Harpers did the same thing about a month ago

  • OLLU was looking for a versatile big to help start its brand new program. The head coach reached out to the Harpers since he had recruited Lady Rohawk players in the past at a different school. Sure enough, the Harpers forwarded the news to Jeff Willems, Administrator of the SA Comets Elite. Willems made sure that Madison High standout, Alicia Crump answered the call and she is now attending OLLU on a basketball ride.

While remembering this scenario, I recalled my first time meeting Jeff Willems. We were at a fall league game and had an extensive conversation about basketball in general. During the convo, he mentioned that he had helped numerous kids financially and to keep him in mind if I knew of kids who needed help in the future. While we conversed he spoke to Jim Noland. Fast forward months later and Jim Noland sent me an email.

  • Koby Cantu, Director and Head Coach of the SA Heat asked his general manager, Jim Noland to shoot me an email. Mr. Noland sent an email notifying me that a Division 2 school in Texas was desperately seeking a skilled post player. Mr. Cantu also sent an email about a Kansas JC that was offering full financial assistance to a skilled big for the upcoming season. I could not help but notice that the Heat had sent this email to close to 100 coaches.

As I sat back and thought about this cooperation among rival clubs, I remembered further:

  • Mike Heineman helped Camille Washington get a ride to school. That's great right. The interesting thing is that Mike would not know Camile if she came up and introduced herself to him. Mike played ball at Wisconsin back in the 80's. He is from the basketball hotbed of rural Indiana, where basketball is almost as important as water. Long story short, I now coach Mike's daughter. Mike has a friend who is now coaching at Oklahoma Pan Handle State. Coach Rick Dessing called me about a point or combo guard. I immediately recalled that Camille Washington had not yet secured a ride. Washington is a very skilled 2009 guard out of Austin. She played club ball with TeamXpress and hurt her knee during her senior year,leaving her without a school to matriculate to. A few phone calls and video tapes later, Camille is getting ready to move to Oklahoma to play ball and get an education.

This spirit of cooperation was continued at scrimmage recently.

  • SA Finest is traveling to Oklahoma for a national event. The SA Finest Coach has called out the best 2013 team in the city, Schertz Jaguars, on numerous occasions. The once balanced rivalry has been dominated by the Jags over the past year. The often heated battle involves parents, players and coaches. In preparation for Oklahoma, The Finest asked if the Jags could come out for a scrimmage. They did! It was beeeaaaauuutiful! Some of the best middle school players in the city engaged in a spirited scrimmage in the hope of helping the Finest represent well against foreign opponents. No sparring between the coaches, no bragging among the parents; just basketball for the sake of helping each other get better. It was a sight to see! To top it off, the Finest coach own daughter played with the Jags. AGAINST HER DAD! And she loved it, even though it made her dad ill to see her rocking the Jags uniform against his squad. Tim Calvert and Pops Lambert of the Jags did not have to go that route. They put SA ahead of any rivalry or he-said she-said.

All these teams recruit against each other for the same players. They all strive to field the best team possible and inevitably step on each others toes. These are just a few examples of when the adults who are directing children, put competition aside for the sake of those we all swear to guide.