For the second time this season we beat Lake Howell by one point. This time 51-50. It sucks to be them. We are now 11-5, but from this game foreward we will be different. This is the last time we played with Devon Ortiz as a member of our team. He went out in style with 26 points. I expected that type of performance from him, and proud that he delivered it. On Monday, he will be with the varsity.
I am glad I got to coach his last JV game, but it made me think of another player we lost, Aaron Penn Jr., who last played with us during the debacle against Lake Highland, while I was on suspension. I regret that.
I met both of these players this past summer when I was hired at Winter Springs, and really value their contribution to our group. They will forever in my memory exist as JV Bears during the 2011-2012 season.
Their personality and character ingrained in the fabric of our team. We had a saturday practice before our first game of the season against Lyman. When I told the team the time and location of practice, Anthony Valdes said he couldn’t make it because he needed a haircut and had to go to McDonalds. Aaron is polite as any player I have had, he looked over at me and said, “Coach if Anthony doesn’t come to practice tomorrow, do I have permission to punch him?” Anthony was at practice the next day.
Devon first caught my eye scrimmaging in the summer. He could take off on the dribble and get to the rim at will. Few things don’t begin with S and end with X get me as excited as someone with the ability to get to the rim. He told me he played baseball. I met his mother. She told me she made him play basketball. I liked her. Devon has been a tremendous player for us on the JV team, and has worked hard enough to have a promising varsity career. I feel and hope that what we have done together has ignited a passion for basketball that will burn for a long time.
Tom Brokaw wrote a book called “The Greatest Generation”, a fantastic read that speaks of the generation of Americans that came from the Depression and won World War II. Near the end he tells the story of a group of men that served together during the war that would still hunt together after the war. Decades had literally passed, but when these men hunted, they did so as they fought, the same chain of command, the same faith in each other. The story resonated with me, and with Aaron and Devon, I will always keep in touch and be “Coach”.