By JASMYN GONZALEZ
On Tuesday April 11, the freshmen and Junior Varsity basketball players of Redlands East Valley and their coaches gathered to honor yet another successful season. All freshmen players arrived with their white team polos and all Jv players arrived with a mix of black and red. The coaches organized a potluck which included a variety of foods and the parents and players all listened as each coach gave their speech to their team and acknowledged other specific players in honor of their extra dedication and hard work to the team.
Bill Berich was in charge of the banquet and guided along the sequence of events that took place. To kick off the gathering, he opened up with a warming speech stating that he was proud of his new and young basketball players. Then, the parents were welcomed to first take their share of the food that was provided and the freshmen coach Meyers gave his speech in which he stated:
“I am thankful to help [the basketball players] not only be good ball players but good men. To play hard, sacrifice, discipline, mental and physical toughness, competitiveness; these are the things that being on a team teaches our boys. We are never afraid to play against anyone, we are accountable to one another. They learn that we have to be the best young men that we can be, and future leaders hopefully.”
Meyers then distributed his awards to his chosen players. He started off, awarding five of his players with the “all for one and one for all” medals. He spoke of each player and described that they each played their hardest and were there for each other, giving detail to the fact that some made steals after steals and some were extra enthusiastic, spirited and smart young men. Amidst enjoying the food that was served, the many parents who attended cheered on the players and congratulated them on their medals and their successful season.
Coach Simpson was then brought up to the staged where he gave his speech as well. Simpson started off by thanking the parents for their dedication to the team by driving their boys to the places the games would take place. He stated:
“We had three preseason tournaments, parents make a huge commitment when their child is in a basketball team. So, thank you parents, for your commitment to our basketball team. We had two games often back to back; our players got a good experience. Something I never experienced in my coaching career was our Yucaipa loss; at one point, we were at a loss by forty-eight points but we ended up losing by thirty. Coach Meyers told me something that day, from a coach to a coach, he said ‘let go off this one’. Which I really appreciate it and I still really appreciate. Our boys became believers, we worked hard and practiced; you could see the character in these eleven young men. We later went on to win Yucaipa by six points and had a great turn around.”
Simpson also spoke of his chosen players who were to receive an award. He spoke of his best offensive player being Samuel Gonzalez, “Sam was the one I saw from the beginning to the end of the year, always improving.”