Monday, August 18, 2014

Barry Brothers Basic Training Basketball Camp: A Different Look at the Game Standing Tall

Now more than ever, most high school soccer, basketball, swimming, baseball and volleyball coaches must answer a common question. And if the high school athletic director is not prepared to answer it, he or she better be in the near future. The question? Why play high school sports? I never thought spending two days at the Barry Brother Basic Training Basketball Camp would provide me with a unique answer. 
Jon, Scooter, Brent and Drew with Steve Coccimiglio. Scooter, the eldest and  founder of the Hoops Camp claims
to have helped his brothers by lowering the bar in terms of expectations
The aforementioned sports offer competitive club teams—teams that compete year round, teams that make it increasingly more difficult for athletes to participate on their school's varsity squad, but these are teams that may lead to a college scholarship. Many athletes and their parents believe these clubs give the training, competition and exposure that their high school program cannot provide. And they're right. But it's also important to consider what being "true to your school" can and does offer. 

Playing for your high school means that you are part of something much larger than yourself, much larger than just a club of select athletes. For the four Barry brothers, it means they were part of the De La Salle school community, one that serves 1050 boys for almost 50 years now. It is a place that Brent—the third son—makes its students aware that they "enter to learn, leave to serve."
from Brent's twitter feed. A great interview, he's still quick-witted, smart & kind. Can dunk too.
It also means you have entered into a community that can and will support you long after you graduate. For Scooter Barry, who graduated 30 years ago, that means assistance from the school and staff to develop a basketball camp on the same court where his three younger brothers played. As mentioned in the DLS 151 interview, Barry Brothers Basic Training Basketball Camp "is a place where kids are not only made to feel special, it's where they learn the proper fundamentals so they don't need to relearn how to play basketball later on." 

Playing for your school, means that the relationships you develop and appreciate, aren't limited to just the sport you play. As a coach, I am constantly reaching out to student athletes who are free in the fall season, who I know are good competitors and who I would love to see run cross country. There is unspoken, unwritten understanding between true athletes and us teachers who are coaches. For example, I still give a Kelly—a lacrosse and soccer player a hard time. I tell her we could have won the state meet had she run for St. Ignatius; Kelly graduated 5 years ago...

As evidenced at De La Salle, Brent had 30 minutes to talk to Brian Marchiano, the host of Sports Review and Preview after camp/before lunch with his Religion 2 teacher, Terry Eidson. Most people know him as "Coach Eidson" the defensive line coordinator, good friend and alter-ego to Coach Bob Ladouceur. For Brent, this was a friendship that developed in class, extended to his involvement in student activities—rallies and DLS TV and has remained for 25 years now. I would love to sit in on the conversation between them at Genoa Delicatessen, I don't doubt those two can share a few battle stories, good jokes, and insights on competition, strife, and the sweet, sweet taste of victory

Uniforms have the name of an institution on the front and a player's name on the back for a reason. We know the team must come first, but even the team is slice of a much larger whole. Representing your school, means that you are the public face of an institution that has a history both before and after you; but one that is shaped by the four years you give. To look at the sports history of De La Salle, it's not hard to see the impact that each Barry brother had is as unique as they are.

In this age of increased specialization and star-zation, I love to recall the fact that Brent did not play on the varsity team until his junior year. Brent continued to get better in high school, at Oregon State University and in the NBA. Brent, who was inducted into the inaugural Hall of Fame class at De La Salle, stands as an example for young athletes to emulate. Success isn't determined by the age of 8, 12 or even 15. It's a journey, not a destination. 

When you play for your school, It's bigger than your family name, even a name like "Barry." And it means that the relationships you develop with coaches and teachers have a home—one you can return to and even share with your own children. In our two days at camp, I saw Scooter work with his own kids. I saw other family members drop in and out. I saw that this gym is a second home to many people. 

The De La Salle community is one that is getting a lot of positive attention right now, thanks to the movie"When the Game Stands Tall." Although none of the Barrys played football at De La Salle, many of their basketball teammates and friends did. And yesterday I had the opportunity to watch it with 1,100 people from the DLS community. 

My guess was right. The film is about more than a win streak or the sport of football; the importance of "standing tall" is not limited to just one team or one program. It is something that has drawn Scooter, Jon, Brent and Drew back to teach what they learned in their four years at De La Salle, to serve the Spartan community that shaped them in the best way they know how: Les Hommes de Foi take the hardwood. Good stuff.

Video Credits
Watch Sports Preview and Review's work!
Scooter Barry
Brent Barry

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