Along with your wife, Kelsey, and high school best friend, Rudy
Nielson, you started a youth basketball league in 1995, which blossomed
into a learning ground for nervous 13- and 14-year-olds uneasy about
ascending to the ranks of high school competition.
I recall a telephone conversation, when you expressed the surprise of
the league's success, never imagining more than 100 students would pack
the Glendale Presbyterian Church gymnasium.
But you taught more than the fundamentals of basketball.
Besides for refining players' skills, you helped develop teenage boys
into young men.
Then, while the league was still flourishing, you decided to move back
home to Alexandria, abandoning the league shortly before the postseason
People tried, but failed to achieve the same success you so easily
Others, who attempted to revamp the league, didn't have the same
charisma and relationships with junior high principals or the powers that
be at GPC, which you had.
A once promising league, where teenagers so eagerly participated in,
was gone, left for dead.
I thought about what could have been if you had stuck around.
Shortly after your departure, curious individuals asked, "What
happened to the basketball league? Will someone start it again?"
Those questions remained unanswered for six years.
Being one who accepts challenges, I -- along with Michael Locke, a
57-year-old sales representative -- took on the responsibilities to
relaunch the league less than four months ago.
But I thought to myself, could a 19-year-old, full-time college
student, help coach a seven-player squad and manage a league?
Too many people had tried and failed to start a league and I was
determined not to be one of them.
Four months ago, Eric McClenahan, Chris French, Locke and I, along
with several others, gathered ideas and laid out a blueprint and
But how fast things can change.
For security reasons and all other intents and purposes, the Glendale
Unified School District wouldn't allow us to go to classrooms to pass out
We were left at, leaving fliers in the attendance offices at Toll,
Roosevelt, Rosemont and Wilson middle schools, while sitting, waiting and