Senior co-captain Stan Bush.-Kristen Brown
I remember my very first day of basketball practice back in 5th grade. I was incredibly naive about the sport. I had almost no understanding about how to play the game, I just knew I wanted to play it.
I sat in my stateroom heading toward Ketchikan and the Region Tournament earlier this week and reflected on my basketball career the experiences it gave me and the person that it made me were things that ran through my head. I thought about games won and lost, shots missed and made, and plays that succeeded and floundered. I remembered losing to Angoon in the 2001 region semis by one point with 3.4 seconds left on the clock and I remembered beating both Angoon and Kake in their own houses by the smallest of margins. I thought about taking two charges on Jason Frank sophomore year in our home opener, causing Eagles coach Kevin OBrien to keep him on the bench for 10 minutes, and I also recalled subbing in for Mitchell Snyder after he had fouled out against Northway up at the Tok Invitational Tournament and going on to win even though I had two severely sprained ankles.
I could sit here for hours and talk about all of the games I played in and successes that we had, but the thing Ill remember most is the work that it took to be good enough to compete. I will cherish the memories of sneaking into the high school gym on Sunday mornings after the Broncos game and lifting weights for hours and then shooting for another hour or two. Ill remember going to the closest basketball court during my lunch break in the summer and spending that time working on free throws and ball handling or leaving the house at one in the morning with strength shoes and walking down to the old school courts to work on my speed while my friends were sleeping or cruising around till the wee hours of the morning. Most of all Ill remember the personal sacrifice it took to become a better player and it made me a better person.
I was preparing mentally for the tourney when I thought if the ends would justify the means. If all of my work would pay off and what the real satisfaction would be. I couldnt answer that until Saturday after my last game against the Yakutat Eagles. I didnt get to State, which was my season-long goal and I hadt been able to hang a basketball banner on the wall. But I did have one thing. I knew I had worked my hardest and had earned my spot on that team. There is no greater satisfaction then earning something rather then it being given to you.
I am very proud to have been a part of Skagway Panther basketball for four years. Ill hold those relationships and experiences close to my heart forever.