PAUL VALENCIA: Hudson's Bay squad delivers for community
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Points. Rebounds. Steals. Victories.
A lot of the statistics having been going Hudson’s Bay’s way this season. (Say that three times fast. In fact, I’ll write it again, because it’s so fun. Hudson’s Bay’s way. OK, promise I won’t do that anymore.)
The boys basketball team at Hudson’s Bay has shown some improvement this December, preparing for league play that will begin in January. The Eagles are getting to the boards, making some steals, scoring some points.
But their biggest assist this season might have nothing to do with basketball.
The Eagles — all of them, varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen — handed off a bunch of coats and blankets to Share House in downtown Vancouver. By a bunch, I mean a whole bunch, as in hundreds.
It was a contest between the teams and the coaches. Two points were awarded for a coat, one point for a blanket. The program totalled 580 points.
Who won the contest? Who cares?
Who really won? The recipients of those coats and blankets. The city of Vancouver, for yet another example of good deeds performed by its citizens. And the players themselves.
Oh, and Hudson’s Bay High School.
There are many negative perceptions about Bay, but perception is not reality.
Senior Jeremy Hickman said some might be shocked to learn about his school’s generosity because, he said, “we usually have a bad rep.”
But the folks at Share House were grateful, and that made the Eagles feel even better about this effort.
“It felt so good that they were appreciative,” Hickman said. “They wouldn’t stop saying, ‘Thank you.’ ”
“We’re like the underdogs,” added senior Thomas Mikaele, and he was not referring to just the sports teams at Bay. “You never hear good about us. This brings a positive to us. It was a good experience, to do it for the community.”
The players and coaches asked for donations from friends, but a lot of what was given came from their own homes.
“It’s good to know that instead of leaving it in your closet or throwing it away, it’s helping other people,” junior Ingo Arrozal said.
This was not just some spur-of-the-moment thing. The Eagles, behind the leadership of coach Andy Meyer, talked in the fall about “becoming better people.”
This is what the players came up with. Not just as a way to help those in need, but to benefit a community that has been great to the Eagles.
Several people and businesses have helped the basketball program through the years with donations. That money goes to camps, or athletic fees, maybe shoes, even clothes.
“When I first started as the coach, not all the kids recognized how much help we were getting,” said Meyer, in his third year as head coach.
The Eagles do now.
“We felt like we wanted to pay it forward,” Meyer said. “They really bought into the idea.”
“It feels great to give back to the community because they paid for a lot of the things in the summer,” junior Medhi Berrissoul said. “The camps we go to are pretty expensive.”
The donations also help the Eagles host their own camp for younger players. Hickman remembered what it was like at Bay’s camp this summer, and he noticed there were youngsters at that camp who came from families that might take advantage of the free coats and blankets.
“They really look up to us because we are high school athletes,” Hickman said. “Maybe we could help them out.”
There is no maybe about it. Record this as one big assist from the Hudson’s Bay Eagles.
Note: Several high school sports programs, from all seasons, give back to the community in a variety of ways. The Prairie girls basketball team helped out at a women’s shelter recently and has other charitable plans for a tournament next week in Delaware. Baseball and softball programs, among others, help out with Columbia River Miracle League.
Every year, I ask for programs to send me a note about the things they are doing for the community. Probably won’t write about all of them, but it would be cool to list all of them in our high school sports blog.
Paul Valencia covers high school sports at The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4557 or e-mail at email@example.com