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Pirate Basketball Reflections at Awards Banquet

Mar 22, 2009
by Charlie Pieterick
The Vashon High School boys’ Pirate basketball team held its team awards banquet at Camp Burton on March 22.  Taking center place among the festive decorations was the big gold ball that the Pirates brought home from Yakima earlier this month as the 1-A state champions.   

Following a spaghetti feed and a dessert buffet, the coaches and kids took time to reflect on the past season.  Coach Andy Sears opened the occasion by reminding the crowd that, while bringing the championship trophy back was great, “all these memories and all these things we’ve been through together… are really the most important things that these guys carry as they move forward in life.”

He noted that the team had over 70 practice sessions during the season.  Of those, he would “only take back two or three.”   He lauded the “extraordinary commitment” these young men made to bring their best effort to practice after practice and game after game during the long season.   

Assistant coach Shawn Hoffman, took his hat off to Coach Sears and declared it “an honor to coach with one of the best coaches in the state of Washington.”  He noted the sustained effort Coach Sears has made to bring the program to its current high level.  As the C-squad coach, he applauded his players for their commitment to playing the game for the love of it. “They don’t get all the glory, but they work hard.”  He noted how participation in non-varsity sports “molds these kids” as much as varsity players’ participation in their program.  He also thanked the varsity players for making his C-squad players feel like a part of the Pirate team.  

Coach Yeoman echoed Hoffman’s salute to Coach Sears by saying that “every year I’m just amazed at what he’s able to do with these young men.”   As Junior Varsity coach, he thanked the varsity players for being great role models to the younger players and for their support throughout the season.   

Everyone who spoke saluted the efforts of the boys, their parents, and the fans for the support they gave throughout the year.  The coaches acknowledged the sacrifices made by their spouses and families.  Parent, Jake Jacobovitch, was given special thanks by coaches and players alike for all his efforts over the years.  Besides prepping the gym floor before the home games, he drives the team bus.  And he does this all without compensation in order to help stretch the teams’ budgets.   He has also been providing sack lunches for both boys’ and girls’ teams to eat after away games.  The boys singled out his efforts at arranging opportunities for them to keep playing basketball in the off-season over the past several years.

A tradition at the basketball awards banquet is for seniors to share their reflections.  Seniors Josh Cox, Nathan Osgood, Joe Shigley, Jake Theno, Michael Stoffer, Chris Pieterick, Charlie Hoffman, Thomas Timm-Skove, Odin Jacobovitch, and Max Burnham all took their turns at the podium.  Amongst funny anecdotes and praises for parents and coaches, most echoed Cox who expressed kinship with his teammates and gratitude at having had “the opportunity to play with a great group of guys.  It was awesome!”

Pieterick noted how much his teammates enjoyed each other’s company off the court and how they looked out for each other.  Senior team manager Jake Theno added that among themselves, each team member could be himself without any feelings of awkwardness.  Timm-Skove put it succinctly, ““One through fourteen, we’re like a family.”  

Jacobovitch talked about the many years of practices and games that are like “bricks that we laid along a path toward our common goal.” He noted that among those bricks was the hard work put in by teams who came before this year’s team.  Pieterick recalled the boys’ elementary school-era dream of winning a state title.  He observed that putting talk into reality took commitment and sustained hard work.  Hoffman noted that the commitment of the basketball team exceeded that of other sports he had been involved in.  

Several players singled out former McMurray Mustang coach, Phil Ross who, in the words of Max Burnham, was “the first coach who wasn’t our dad.”  It was under Ross that the players learned more than the “run and gun” offense they had grown up with and began understanding the strategy of the game.

Following the seniors’ remarks, Jacobovitch the elder, then carried out his ceremonial (and sartorial) duties of clipping a small tuft of hair to place in the little treasure chest with the clippings of past basketball Pirates.  The little box symbolizes the continuity of the basketball program and the brotherhood with all players that have gone before.  It is carried to all Pirate away games and serves as a talisman for the team.

Odin Jacobovitch’s ending sentiments, on a slightly nostalgic note, were likely shared by his senior teammates as they look back on their basketball years together.  “I’m (no longer) going to dream about perfect games and championships, I’m just going to remember them.”  In the glow of the big gold ball, those will be some memories!