It's been a wild couple weeks with everyone moving in, school starting and the beginning of our basketball conditioning class. Having so many players away from home for the first time seems to present a new challenge almost each and every day!
We often refer to our players, both past and present, both UCC and GWC, as one big basketball family and lately I've been reminded over and over that is a true statement. On Thursday my son Jeff had dinner in Westminster, CA with Bits Sirchia (GWC '91) and later this week is having dinner with Lisa Tamamasui-Taula (UCC '96) in Logan, Utah. Not only were they great players but also happened to be great babysitters back when Jeff was 4 and 9 years old.
Kirsten Strawn (UCC '09) has worked out with us the couple days. Abby Line (UCC '98) asked me to write a letter of recommendation for her and Sarona Snuka Palomalu (UCC '99) came by the gym today and talked to all the girls about the importance of a great work ethic. Sarona is currently living in Florida and working as a professional wrestler and made my day when I turned and saw her standing in the doorway of my office.
But the best "family" incident of the week started with a post on Facebook. Micaela Williams Leinonen (UCC '06) is working at the Boys & Girls Club in Eugene and posted that a deserving child at the club was in desperate need of a pair of shoes; even used shoes would be great if they were the right size. Almost immediately, Allson Bickel Shirey (GWC '92) responded by volunteering to buy the kid a pair of shoes and mail them to Micaela.
Micaela and Allison have never met each other in person. Micaela was a three point shooter and Allison was an aggressive, physical post player. They went to different colleges fourteen years apart and live in different states. The only thing they have in common is that they both played college basketball on teams that I have coached and as a result have worked and run and competed and run some more and won. They know exactly what each other has learned, experienced and endured and because of that they have a common bond and a mutual respect. They are part of our basketball family and like all good family members are still looking out for each other, even though they have never met.
We are family and I'm proud to be part of it!