The state basketball tournament is over for another year and I am so happy for our boys and the showing they made.
Sure first would have been nice--we all want to be the top dog if we can, but after watching the Burlington team play, I donít think weíve got anything to feel bad about--they are very, very good. And hereís the good news for us--they lose more players to graduation than we do and I have every confidence that if our boys will spend some time in the weight room and keep themselves in good shape, go to some camps and commit to the work it takes to be a champion, that we can be champions at the end of next season.
Of course it sure didnít hurt anyoneís feelings--well, other than the obvious--that we got a shot to revenge that district championship game with Kaycee and did so. The fact that a third place trophy went along with the win sure wasnít too hard to take either!!!
And I think I would be remiss here if I didnít say something about our girls. They put in another tough season, but if you take time to look at their stats, you will see that they improved substantially over where they were last year. And not only was it obvious on paper, it was obvious if you saw them play. So I hope they will also continue to work hard, go to some camps and get themselves in the best position possible for next season so they can continue what theyíve started.
Kudos to Bailey Prewitt, Katelynn Hernandez, Meredith Hollister, Treasure Hollister, Nick Cunningham and Brady Esquibel for their selections to the All-Conference teams. And of course, additional congrats to Treasure and Brady for making the All--State team--quite an accomplishment.
When I got to the Events Center Thursday just before our game got underway, I was visiting with Grant Jones, the optometrist and radio announcer from Torrington. We were talking about Guernseyís opponent and he asked me if I knew the story about the Dubois team this year. Story? No, sure didnít. Let me tell ya--itís a story alright. Itís one you ought to all check out but I can only give you the basics here because itís a copyrighted article by Sports Illustrated that published several weeks ago.
Seems the Dubois basketball team nearly didnít exist this season. Theyíve had quite a turnover in coaches over the past four years and the boys didnít have a very good season last year. So getting a coach was an issue and a good number of the kids were going to either wrestle or do some substantial traveling to play basketball with another school. One of the players mentioned the situation to his grandfather who lives in California. His grandfather didnít want to see the program go by the wayside and he apparently felt pretty strongly about that because this is what he did next. He studied text and videos and met the qualifications to be a high school basketball coach. He learned the offense and defense, he got the coaching endorsement and then applied for the coaching job at Dubois, a school with just 38 kids in the high school.
The school liked his resume and offered him the job, which he of course accepted. In October, he made his way to Dubois and began working with the team of just eight players.
But hereís the catch...his home is in southern California, he is married and he is 78 YEARS OLD! Yes you read that correctly.
His basketball experience was primarily that he played basketball in college and coached a church league many years ago. He served in the Marines, became the CEO of a computer company and was nationally ranked on a senior tennis circuit. Not bad creds by any means but I have to admit, this is a huge undertaking. But heís also from ďthat generation!Ē The one where people didnít let things stop them. The one where people perservered to get what they wanted and needed and they helped others do the same along the way. So maybe it really shouldnít be so surprising that Mike Carrico is doing what heís doing.
His wife stayed in California, so heís here with his grandsonís family, living in or around Dubois and coaching the Dubois basketball team. He set rules, they live by them and heís taken a team that really had little to lose and a lot to gain and thatís just what theyíve done.
We beat the Rams in the first game of the tournament but they went into the consolation bracket and beat Lingle-Ft. Laramie to get a shot at the consolation championship aganst Upton. The game was just before ours Saturday at Casper College and for anyone who knew about this story, I think itís safe to say they were hoping the Rams would win---and they did. It was almost as rewarding as seeing our own kids win.
After their game was over and they received their consolation trophy, I got the perfect opportunity to meet this man so I took it. I introduced myself, told him where I was from and what my occupation was and told him I thought that what he was doing for his grandson and the entire team was just outstanding. With a very firm handshake, he thanked me and told me heís hoping the school will hire him back for next year!
I hope they do too.
I figure Iíll be lucky if I can GO to a basketball game when Iím 78!
If youíd like to read the full story, go to:
You can also just go to the SI.com website and do a search on that site for ďMike CarricoĒ and youíll find it that way too.
Itís one of those rare stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Boy, what we donít do for our grandkids--I just hope mine never need a basketball coach!
Be good to each other.