Each 1 Teach 1 Goes To LA

Each 1 Teach 1Brian and JJ have been in Coach Dan Mooney’s Each 1 Teach 1 AAU program for two years now. If you’re familiar with little league and travel baseball, this is basketball’s version of that. After the regular season ends, they take a short break and then start practicing and playing until Memorial Day, which is the final tournament in Reno.

Our last two tournaments have taken us to Rocklin and Los Angeles. Since the LA tournament is high school only, JJ stayed back home with friends and we took Brian and a few of his teammates/buddies (Obi, Brandon, and Mason) on a roadie. The tournament started on Friday night and goes through Sunday.

What I enjoy most about these weekend roadies is not just watching the boys play as that’s always a lot of fun. But it’s taking them around the cities so they can experience something that is not their home of small town Gilroy. It’s not like we’re traveling half-way across the US, but there’s still something to getting used to different surroundings.

I’ve coached Brian, Obi, Brandon, and Mason together when they were younger (as seen here in a video from a few years ago) and I know the strengths and weaknesses of their games very well. I enjoy being able to take them aside after the games and let them know about something they may have missed. It’s a good feeling to know that I’ve been able to help in their quest to play a sport they love competitively. I’ve coached Brian and Obi since they were first graders. I used to tease Obi when he was seven that he should already be grabbing the backboard. At fifteen, he can get it for sure.

On Friday, since we were so tired from the drive up and the boys also had to play just a couple hours after we got to LA, we called it a night early. But on Saturday, they only had one game in the afternoon so we were able to get out. I called my buddy Albert who wanted to take Brian around town to check out hot girls and hot sneakers.

Each 1 Teach 1

Roscoe’s

Teenager love their kicks. Thus, when I told them that Albert wanted to take us to LA’s Fairfax area of t-shirt shops and most importantly, Flight Club, their eyes started dancing. But first, we headed over to the famous Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Since these kids were born in the very late 90s, I’m not sure they understood Albert’s reference of the waffles being like crack, but after they had them, I think they understood. We were stuffed from fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and waffles. Brandon wondered what the whipped butter was just in case it was secretly some sort of cheese topping since he hates cheese. Brian suckered Obi into ordering a side of mac and cheese with him only to bogart the entire thing to himself because it was so good. I gave Obi mine.

Each 1 Teach 1

At Flight Club

The kids spent more time at Flight Club than any kids without money could’ve spent. They asked to try on shoes that were $400 a pair just to feel how they felt. They inspected each crevice of each shoe on the wall to make sure they didn’t miss anything. They name dropped each pair of shoes like the Concord 11s, the Taxi 12s, the Breds, the Space Jams, and the Barons, showing that they belonged in the prestigious shoe store. But alas, with all their money spent, digging deeper inside their pockets and only coming up with lint, they had to dream that one day, they’d be back with pockets full of cash to buy the shoes that they so desperately wanted.

They also checked out skateboard brand t-shirt shops like The Hundreds, Diamond, Odd Future, and Supreme while being harassed by street-side rappers named Sean J and BNice trying to get them to listen to their #popthetrunk music. One of them parked his car on the street, opened his door, bumped his own music while he sat against the wall with his girlfriend rapping to it. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Albert, while driving in front of us and parked at a stoplight, texted me to let me know that we were about to pass the place where Biggie Smalls was shot. Biggie was shot a year before the oldest of the kids was even born, but it was a historic enough landmark that they had to take their iPhone cameras out and take the picture. I can hear them now at school talking about how they were at the exact spot where one of the greatest rappers of all-time was done in. Somehow, this trip will shape them culturally, at least a little bit.

We had a night cap at Umami Burger which they can now compare to Five Guys and In-N-Out while watching Brandon’s Oklahoma City Thunder nearly lose a game they were clearly winning in the 4th quarter. His favorite player, Reggie Jackson (even though he tweeted former Thunder player Josh Selby and lied to him that Selby was his favorite player) won the game for the Thunder with his late-game heroics. Brandon said he’s never been more confident in his team.

(The boys spent much of their time tweeting basketball players, including trolling Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert. They overplayed so many Eminem songs and I had to explain the lyrics of his hit song Stan. It hasn’t been that long since I was overplaying that song has it?)

On the court, they played one fantastic game, nearly upsetting the opposing Long Beach team in a nail biter on Friday. The second game on Saturday wasn’t nearly as close, but they continued to play hard. My message to them this weekend was that they would play against players who were singularly better than they were, but their desire and how hard they played as a team would close the distance. You can’t measure diving for a loose ball or taking a charge in vertical inches.

But somehow, I don’t think this trip was as much about basketball as it was about being a teenager traipsing around in LA while dreaming about owning expensive Jordans.

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