Friday, November 24, 2017

Orange & White

Orange and White Scrimmage 2017

Hoop Clips Pt. 1

A big fan of my brothers when they hit the court. This one is one out the archive. I'm reminded of all the footage I need to go through and share. Look forward to the Winter holidays to dig into my files for some more Hoop Clips of the RBros!

Hoop Clips Pt. 1 feat. Joshua Rhyanes click here

Tonight we premiered Hoop Clips Pt. 1 with the family of Joshua’s time out in the city for the local men’s leagues.  Had a great time editing the clips as its been a minute since I’ve put together a highlight tape.  Found the beats which we included in the credits at the end.  Hope ya’ll enjoy as much as we did.  We enjoy watching Josh play his game and we look forward to the next series of tapes of some clips we pulled from Isaiah’s time on the court with the Golden Eagles these past few years and also E-Man who’s on the come up himself.

If you can’t view the video embedded above, here is the direct link click here.

We’ve also got several other videos including Joshua’s AHS highlights tape of his time in high school at Andress and some clips from Barrio basketball out here in El Paso present day.  You can view them at the channel link above.


The Scar by Jeff Green

Read this! The Scar by Jeff Green click here

Got a lot of great basketball memories of Jeff Green’s come back. Despite the changes the Celtics experienced at the time, Jeff Green was out there playing to win and competing to defeat all odds.  So many highlights where I was getting way hype for the Iron Man.  He took full advantage of the blessing he had to hit the court again and I can’t wait to continue watching Green compete in the East with the King and company.

He’ll always be the NBA’s Iron Man and is one of my all time favorite Celtics. So many lessons to take away from this reflection published in the Player’s Tribune.

No doubt!


Monday, June 19, 2017

What is the Jr. #NBA Way?

Featured Link: @jrNBA 
#e1plinks #every1plays
What is the Jr. #NBA Way?

Our latest featured link will direct visitors to the  What is the Jr. NBA?  The Jr. NBA is the official youth basketball participation program of the NBA.  I’ve been visiting this website since last year checking out its resources on Twitter…at times retweeting inspiring quotes and watching NBA coaches talk about the core values of the Jr. NBA.

Everything about our love for basketball revolved around the NBA as kids.  Back when kids wasted allowance money collecting basketball trading cards, I probably knew the full names and statistics of basketball rosters by memory better then I knew the names and details of some of my own extended family members…and we’re talking about the megabyte sized memory of a 10 year old kid. To a child, the NBA has an overwhelming influence on how kids view future goals (“when I grow up I want to play for the NBA!!!”) and how kids socialize and connect with the greater community.  Whether you were playing with a summer league that referred to themselves by an NBA team name like the Lakers or Magic or were outside as a kid trying to debate who you thought was the best NBA basketball player in the world…for kids who love basketball, the NBA captivated our imagination while we were awake and wandered into our dreams while we slept.

As the 20th century came to a close (1990s) technology took the game beyond just a picture and a few stats on a trading card. Technology brought children closer to hoop through video games, increased broadcasts on TV, and news channels like ESPN or NBA Inside Stuff. Even magazines began to blend ink with the emerging Hip Hop culture that played the soundtrack to our adolescent years…it inspired the style on our feet creating a sneaker con$umer culture…inspired how we wore hats and the kinds of $tarter jackets we wished for during winter…til’ this day kids year round are walking adverti$ements for the NBA…short$, sock$, jersey$, bed sheet$, towel$…you name it the NBA sell$ it.

As we thought about the mission of #every1plays at the beginning and the kind of values we wanted to promote to kids and parents, the goal was to think about an approach that went beyond the superficial stuff. An approach I wanted to articulate in writing and document. My hope was to create a mission that would describe the core values of a team with greater purpose than simply winning or reducing one’s hoop dream to the wishful thinking that we could coach kids towards becoming a future lottery pick.  I thought about the teachable moments that exist in basketball that often get lost in the translation of competitive sports culture.  A culture funded by the bottom dollar politics of an entertainment mill that divests from children and community. The kind of culture that creates microcosms in communities where families simply can’t afford to get their kids involved in organized competitive sports or the “only the best” mentality of school sports.  And while we may see a glimpse of the NBA’s connection to community after a commercial about car insurance, a KIA, alcohol, or McDonalds…whether or not anything real exists for the future gets lost in the commercialized hype of being sold something.

Discovering the depth of the Jr. NBA and their philosophy and core character values helped me reflect on #every1plays…to encourage us to read on I decided to highlight this resource as a featured link. The site presents values that stress coaching as teaching and mentions what development can mean when we focus on a more positive, encouraging, and fun approach to what we do.  Values that explore what hard work means as it relates to positive outcomes that may go beyond the court and extend to life at home, school and in the community. Values that help us understand and reflect on what respect can mean, especially for adults who are in a position to facilitate these conversations with kids.  The site also notes how we think about the concept of fairness, not as a means to stifle competition, but in how we recognize and respond to a child’s skill set and how we support, encourage and challenge children to be resilient and if necessary help redefine their understanding of failure.  Most importantly, and I’ll quote directly from the site, I respect their emphasis on healthy living…“exercising regularly benefits both mind and body – leading to better health outcomes, greater energy levels, and enhanced classroom performance.”

As we continue to imagine #every1plays in the context of a more organized initiative, I look forward to referencing the Jr. NBA’s site for information.  We’re still understanding what this concept of #every1plays can be about in our own community.  Please do check out the Jr. NBA at and follow on Twitter @jrNBA and Like at


#HoopDreams 1st Half 2017

School is out and the summer is here!

Its been an eventful 1st half to 2017…everything from the name change of our #USAB squad…the start of the year with the #3v3 #every1plays Winter League…new #HoopDreams jerseys…our first attempt at sponsorship…new players on the roster…opportunities & new responsibilities on and off the court for the coaches…involvement from parents who helped us find new spaces to practice…the ups and downs of losing, getting better, winning, and losing again in the city league…and all the ideas we have to merge basketball & education for youth in the city and inform ourselves & others about resources that are out there.

There’s a lot to be grateful for…a lot to plan in the future and much more to document when time allows.  We’re most grateful this year for all the young people on the squad that showed up to play til’ the end.  As we get ready to transition into the summer months, we look forward for those moments when we can reflect again and share our thoughts.  We look forward to continuing to brainstorm and contribute ideas for how to open up more opportunities for kids to play and learn from not only the game of hoop, but the values of the game and other life lessons.

We wish everyone a wonderful summer…make it one worth reflecting back on when the Fall arrives!


#WAB 2015

A note from the web Archive going back to March 3, 2015.

It’s going down, Andress vs. Bel Air … Many of the #WAB seniors grew up together playing ball in the Sun City… In middle school they all would compete against each other… from H.E. Charles, Basset, Terrace Hills to the champions at Nolan Richardson Middle. I got photographs of them all during this time. Win or lose, this will be their LAST game together as #WAB in El Paso … If they get the W it’s on to Snyder and the sweet sixteen this weekend.  As a family we’ll be turning the page on close to two decades at Andress High School, class of 99′, 08′, and 15′ for our youngest brother, Isaiah.

Much respect to everyone out on that court tonight from the players to coaches for bringing this to the city.  What’s even greater is the stories that will follow from such a talented group, on both the Andress and Bel Air side.

We’ll continue to share photographs, videos, and other clips that we’ve captured over the years here at the website.  It’s also time to check for the ones coming up.  From JV all the way down to the youth leagues throughout the city both boys and girls.  Til’ the next great game, thank you to the #WAB seniors for the memorable moments in b-ball out here.  We’ll be talking about y’all for years to come.

All best to the Andress & Bel Air.  Time to go.

Friday, April 14, 2017


In Memory of Austin Sean Williams

This post is dedicated to the memory of Austin Sean Williams. Below are words our friend Phil Campbell shared with us about Baby A. Since 2016 Phil would often share stories about his moments with his nephew.  Its how we got to know Austin before and after his bout with cancer.  Just a year young, Austin was able to fight and beat cancer before passing away in 2017.

With these words we remember Baby A and send our thoughts to his family, friends, and the community that came to be known as #AustinsArmy.

“The outpouring of love for Austin is beyond words. For a being who was here such an infinitesimally short time to have brought so many together in Love is a miraculous lesson. A lesson that calls us to remain faithful and strong, holding onto, and allowing ourselves to be transformed by the love Austin Sean Williams/McGehee awoke in each and every one of our hearts.” – Uncle Pidi

Sunday, March 5, 2017


In the early 90s my Dad and I use to watch Tuesday Night Fights on the USA Network. I became a fan of boxing with my Dad watching fighters we had access to see on basic cable television; fighters I’ve referenced before like Oba Carr, Pernell Whitaker, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Jr., Riddick Bowe, Johnny Tapia, etc. I had no chance catching a pay-per-view bout as a kid and at the time HBO/Showtime access was limited to preview weekends or friends with cable scramblers that unlocked premium channels. I lost track of boxing when I got to college mostly hearing about big pay-per-view fights and on occasion watching a good fight on ESPN.  When I finished school, I started checking for sports again and about a year later stumbled across ESPN2’s broadcast of a 9-0 Keith Thurman, Jr. #ThurmanHartman. This was two months after Thurman’s trainer Ben Getty passed away. It was the beginning of Thurman’s journey without his trainer and a prelude to one of the biggest fights in boxing history. Tonight’s fight is as big as it gets for households that have a chance to continue tuning into boxing as they would other professional sporting events like basketball, football, or baseball.  As a fan of Thurman, I always reflect back to my introduction to him  in 09′ and how that built my interest to want to know who was fighting and when.

We look forward to this matchup and the excitement it brings to the sport of boxing. A lot has changed since the basic cable days of the 90s so this is a night to appreciate as Keith Thurman, Jr. and Danny Garcia prepare to tune millions of viewers into their story.

Time for fight night.


Lucero Rodriguez Round 1

YouTube: click here

This poem is dedicated to Lucero Rodriguez.

We worked in the same office for a few months.  Because of Lucero, I went to my first boxing match.  At this point she was already a Golden Gloves champion.  When she started working with us, my bosses, Lucero, and other co-workers would talk about boxing all the time.  I learned about boxers from the older adults who would start reminiscing.  Names I'd never heard of like Jose Mantequilla Napoles  I enjoyed these conversations since I've always loved boxing and was a big fan since childhood of boxers like Roberto Duran, Roy Jones, Jr. Oba Carr, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Johnny Tapia, etc.  Even when it came to video games like Nintendo's Mike Tyson's Punchout or Sega's Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing.  I became so interested in boxing as a kid that I agreed to join my Dad to train with boxers at the Northeast Tobin's gym where I played basketball.  It was a small box of a room.  I got no where near the real training boxers had to endure, and already it proved too difficult for my skinny, long, and weak frame.

Lucero spoke often about her love for the sport and a fight she had coming up when she worked with us.  I even got the chance to go to Carolina gym with my boss to see her spar and to meet some of the other young people she trained with.  Lucero was adamant about us going to support her fights.  Every day, "you better go to my fight!"  So I promised to go.  Since I like taking pictures, I thought it would be great opportunity to document my first fight and our champ at the office.  It was exciting to know we were rooting for her not just cause she's from El Paso, but because she was a part of our family at work.  Ever since going to Lucero's fight, I'd go on to support other boxers as well such as Jennifer & Abie Han, Antonio Escalante, David Rodriguez, Austin Trout, and other up and coming fighters.

We lost Lucero Rodriguez in January to an act of violence far from her El Paso home.  Though I hadn't spoke to Lucero in a while, I'd see her from time to time at a couple of boxing events.  One day I also saw her passenger side, window down, of the big suburban that her family drove.  It would be parked sometimes outside of our building when it was time for her to go to school or the gym.

I've thought of Lucero and her family often these past weeks.  Though I've read messages of peace for her rest, these words are intended to represent for life she shared with us during her bit of time at the office.  Til' the next round.

Round 1

Child of the sun city

in our Earth, visible, smiling

with a youthful kindness

bright and shining that day

for a young girl

in a professional world of office employees

you made it cause you could make it anywhere

especially here

the 1st one

everyone saw in the morning

with an illuminating hi

waving as people walked by

to clock in like bells to begin their round

you were alive & awake

far too young to be boxed into work

that forgets how to view life

through youth like you

unafraid of a job description you fit you

an unorthodox style that split time in the ring

at school and with us

Our boss introduced you as a Champion


with a mean left

yet so nice you laughed it off

shaking our hands with gloveless love.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

#HoopDreams 2017 #every1plays

#HoopDreams 2017 #every1plays @every1plays @RXNAthleticsEP #USAB #RBros

Our 2017 banquet event for the children and families of every1plays has been something we’ve been planning for over a year. On February 2, 2017 every1plays hosted a banquet for parents and children of Team USA to announce the new team name, logo, and to give children their new jerseys for city league play.  We also invited participants and their families that have been attending practices. We all enjoyed a lot of food thanks to the coaches and parents to prepare for the announcement.

For over a year, we discussed plans to change the team name. The Team USA name goes back to when some of the children first started playing organized basketball more than five years ago. Team USA also goes back to the first years of Joshy’s coaching experience. The team USA club was started by a group of coaches at Album Park’s city league when current players Ethan & Adrian started hooping.

Team USA 2012

About a year ago, RBros got together to watch the 90s classic film Above the Rim to share some ideas on changing the team name. That night I asked Coach Joshy, “so what do you think? What do you want to call the team?”  I was also prepared to share my suggestions which I’ve since forgotten because of how cool Joshy’s suggestion was. As we watched Kyle Watson and Shep dismantle Birdie & Motaw’s shootout team in the movie, Coach Joshy shook his head, smiled and said…”Hoop Dreams…”. I replied, “wow, that’s it, say no more!”

Back in 2008, I took a picture of my brother as we made our way out from the NBA preseason game at the Don Haskins Center. On my FB page I remember titling this shot, “Hoop Dreams” inspired by the Ben Joravsky book turned into a documentary by the same name in the 90s.

Afterwards I reached out to graphic design artist Luis Flores for his assistance on a logo inspired by the shootout uniforms from Above the Rim. After a few emails back and forth Luis sent the final proof and we had the new team logo design ready to go. It would take several months until I’d figure out how we were going to print up the jerseys. From the get go I wanted to make sure that we could provide each participant of every1plays with a free jersey.  Especially for those that had already paid for a Team USAB jersey.  I met with a few folks in town about how to print up the jerseys in a way that resembled the All Star Rookie jerseys that I saw back in February. They had a cold fade leading down into the shorts that I was hoping we could create for the every1plays kids. As time went by, the process seemed a lot more complicated and costly than I imagined.

Fast forward a few months after one of the Scotsdale Cadet city league games and Coach Joshy, Coach Isaiah, myself, and the two Ethans took a ride down to La Estrella Screen Printing and Embroidery on Zaragoza. With the logo on a thumb drive we found out that it would be much cheaper to print t-shirts instead of jerseys. We decided on two colors, black (away color) and beige (home color). With a quote on the cost, it was time to find a sponsor.

Coach Isaiah started going to Reaction Physical Therapy to address some hip tightness and flexibility issues he experienced competing in karate tournaments during middle and high school. A couple of years later he started sessions next door with RXN Athletics training for basketball. Over time we also noticed a few of our participants for every1plays putting in some work at RXN Athletics.  RXN Athletics is a sports performance training center in El Paso who’s slogan is “applying science to your game”. Their philosophy on their website states, “we approach training from the viewpoint that our methodologies and equipment used are either biomechanically sound or the published research supports it and that it is applicable to not just the sport, but also to the individual athlete. Each athlete deserves a qualified professional that can get them to their goals. At RXN Athletics each athlete is coached to ensure that the training is performed correctly and that safety is maximized. All of our coaches hold degrees in the field and professional certifications.”

Because of our history at RXN Athletics, Reaction Therapy, and their connection to some of our kids, it made perfect sense to approach them for sponsorship support. We’re excited to be able to hit the court with their logo branded on the back of our jerseys.

Hoop Dreams t-shirt jerseys (black & beige), logo & sponsorship RXN Athletics

We were able to prepare the jerseys in time for the new year 2017 thanks to La Estrella who also provided assistance on the appearance of the logo and design.  On February 2, 2017, we provided participants with their own Hoop Dreams jersey in both black and beige and shared thoughts on the upcoming city league and future goals for every1plays. Coach Joshy also gave each player resume letters in recognition of their participation and to inspire goals for future hoop whether its with us or other city and school teams.

Coach Lee, Coach Isaiah, Coach Joshy, and the squad, plus Lil’ Lucy the First Lady of every1plays

February 2, 2017 was a memorable evening, and like any other day it seems to have passed us as quickly as it arrived. This is to document that moment as we continue to think about ways to provide more opportunities for more children to have access to places in the community where they can learn about the game of basketball and play.  And this goes out to all children, boys and girls regardless of ability or skill. At the end of the day every1plays is about helping parents find those opportunities for their children and doing so in the most cost effective way possible.

Special thanks to everyone mentioned in this write up. We’re hopeful for future ideas and simply the joy children experience playing hoop as they continue to dream about their next standout game, making the school team, playing beyond graduation, and who knows maybe even having the chance to give back to their communities as coaches or professionals of the game.

Also to Javier, thank you for everything.  This wouldn't be possible without you.

Lecroy Rhyanes, Jr.
aka Coach Lee

Every1Plays is a volunteer organization born in Northeast El Paso Texas to promote basketball activity for children ages 8 to 11. Our mission is to introduce children and parents to the game of basketball through a positive coaching approach that is focused on development, education, and the core values of every1plays. The 5 core values include practicing TOGETHER, letting the children PLAY, making sure we’re all LEARNING something, WORKing to the best of our abilities, and respecting each other through the value of FRIENDSHIP. For more information on our group please visit us on social media at and This is also home for our children’s youth league which competes in city league tournaments throughout El Paso County. Our social media includes updates from the coaches and activities that the squad is engaged in! For more information you can reach us at

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Story About MLK

My Story About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
by Lecroy Rhyanes, Jr. @ELPASO_ISD @YsletaISD
Originally posted at

In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this is a Dr. King story of my own going back to my time in El Paso’s public school system. I was enrolled in Mrs. Barkley’s class at Parkland Elementary during my 2nd grade year. Unfortunately, I don’t remember Mrs. Barkley’s first name since we always refer to adults in school as Mr. or Mrs. I do wish I knew Mrs. Barkley’s first name though so that I could look her up. The last time I knew anything of Mrs. Barkley is when I learned she lived across from my friend’s house in Castner Heights. A few years had passed since my 2nd grade year. I was in middle school and walked up to her front door and rang the door bell. I wanted to say hi, and thank her, but no one answered the door.

To understand why I remembered 2nd grade so much, it starts with my experience at Parkland Elementary during 1st grade. It was not good. I had a terrible experience with the teacher who I simply remember as having a mean face that got really red. I don’t remember her name. I just remember mean & RED. I wasn’t exactly what people stigmatized as a bad kid by any standard. For the most part, I was shy, quiet, and listened. The event that stands out the most about 1st grade is when another kid sitting in the seat next to mine poked my thigh with a super sharp no. 2 pencil. It caused me to let out a really loud scream. Instead of being consoled by my teacher I got punished for yelling. She was too mean. Didn’t care why I yelled or none of that. I remember being more furious at her response than I was at the kid that poked me in the leg with the pencil that a minute before he got up to sharpen. There are only two other memories I have about 1st grade… the other is when I got really sick at school. As a kid, when I got sick, I GOT SICK. I was overheating and having a vomiting fit in one of the restrooms, puking my guts out, crying, and thinking I was going to die. All I remembered through blurred vision was looking back from where I knelt near the toilet… standing at the doorway was my 1st grade teacher laughing & looking mean. She was carrying on about who knows what with another teacher waiting for me to get on my feet.

Going into the 2nd grade, this set off an anxiety I had for adults, especially teachers, the cafeteria people, and principals. Especially our principal, Mr. Boone. Even his name freaked me out. His silent presence alone could’ve invented the word “authority”. Everything from his drill-like expression, to the colorless power suits he’d wear. Looking back I can only picture him as if I’m looking at a black & white TV screen in the 50s. An administrative byproduct of strict guidelines, to the T-Boone. Keep in mind this description is coming from the perspective of a child. For all I know, he might’ve been one of the nicest people in the Northeast to other adults. But when I heard my name come through the announcements upon returning from Christmas break in 1989… asking that “Lecroy Rhyanes please report to Mr. Boone’s office…” …with the sound of everyone going “Ooooooohhhhhhh…” I nearly tripped over my own legs that couldn’t keep up with a heart rate that at this point became a Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam hi-hat. I felt like I was on my way to meeting my maker. What could this be about? What did I do?

The anxiety was further prolonged when I arrived to Mr. Boone’s office. It was my first time ever stepping foot into a room that felt like a chamber of guilt. I must’ve have done something wrong to arrive here I thought. But what was it? His desk couldn’t have been bigger. I don’t remember a warm greeting. I remember being guided towards his office, entering, and being asked “to sit” and wait. It seemed like forever as my hi-hat heart rate started to subside awaiting for him to explain why I was there. After what seemed like forever, another youth was guided in. He was much older and from the adjacent middle school connected to our elementary school. He was much more calm and relaxed than I was seeming to have already known why he was there. Observing his reaction, I became eager to find out what was up, as opposed to what was wrong.

Before we get into that, I’d like to take the reader back to the 2nd grade portable from which I walked from to get to Mr. Boone’s office. As I mentioned earlier my 2nd grade teacher’s name was Mrs. Barkley. The atmosphere and experience in her classroom reset and wiped out what I had experienced the year before as a 1st grader. The learning space in Mrs. Barkley’s class created some of the best memories that I’m thankful I can still remember. Years later, it would affect everything about how I wanted to learn and eventually how I would teach. From day one, she demonstrated a level of empathy that drew us to her desk when something was wrong to talk and ask her for help or questions. Every time she congratulated us it really meant something. She seemed to never be tired of being nice. It was a part of her nature and a part of her lesson planning. In her class I remember one afternoon when we all got up in a circle to do some kind of dance. But most memorable was when in front of class, she set up a hot plate and cooked us all scrabbled eggs when we arrived in the morning. Now mind you, I HATE eggs. I literally cannot eat eggs. The minute eggs make impact with the inside of my mouth, I start to heave like I’m going to barf. I just can’t do it. But for some reason, in Mrs. Barkley’s class, she scrabbled the eggs to perfection. The eggs were glowing yellow and fluffy. She gave it to us with a side of toast. I remember eating two paper plates full.

One of the other things I loved most about Mrs. Barkley’s classroom was the “lil’ store” she set up with all kinds of gifts. For good grades, we would all earn paper money. Good scores on report cards were often credited so that students could save up their fake paper bills to purchase something nice from the gifts she set up in the corner of the classroom. I remember spotting some earrings that I wanted to get my mom. Even at this time I was very particular about what I was going to spend my hard earned paper bucks on. There were a lot of things, of course toys and children’s books…all with their own price. But I remember a really powerful feeling of getting the chance to surprise my mom with a gift for the first time in my life.. They were worth a lot of paper bucks, so I had to make sure my good grades were as good as they could be to save up enough. I would need an anthology to describe the love I’ve got for my mom. And as a seven year old, this would be the first time I could surprise her with a gift without her knowing. The earrings were beautiful just like mom. Dark black and pearl-like the way her long hair was and with silver sparkles like I’d seen in her eyes.

Fast forward to Mr. Boone’s office and I started to get nervous again as he assembled what he was working on to put away and talk to us once the other kid arrived. Thinking back, I would have to make up the dialogue to remember exactly what he said to us. I didn’t start remembering what people said until I got to the 3rd grade. Finally, after the mumbles… he finally got to his point of why we were there and congratulated us for winning an award. I don’t remember Mr. Boone breaking the news to us with any excitement. He might as well had started talking to us about the weather. But after I realized he was congratulating us for something, all the negative thoughts I had initially about being there evaporated. Apparently, prior to going on Christmas break, I remembered Mrs. Barkley had us work on an art activity about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s where I’d get my first children’s book about Dr. King’s life. At that age, we of course didn’t call it research, but I used the book as a reference on what I wanted to draw. I recall having the presence of race heavy on my mind because it’s what I drew. The separation between white and black and also the division between rich and poor. In the picture I drew I decided to split my page in two. On one side I drew John F. Kennedy and his secret service team dressed in suits. They were all standing around a limousine. On the other side I drew Dr. King and his wife and children in front of a modest home with a slug bug for a vehicle. It’s what my Dad drove. And in the middle of the picture I drew Dr. King and JFK shaking hands. I had no idea I was turning this picture in for a contest. That was a part of Mrs. Barkley’s plan. Mr. Boone I’m sure explained to us what was going on, but I hadn’t processed it yet as I was still readjusting my feelings of doom to feelings of joy. I also couldn’t wait to get back to class. I ran back. It wasn’t so much to announce that I was a winner, but to walk back and show everyone that was yelling “Ooooooohhhhhhh…” when I left that I survived my trip to Mr. Boone’s office.

My parent’s were notified that I was to accept an award on Dr. King’s holiday in 1989 at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso. As a kid, this was a far off place from where I lived in the Northeast. Even up until the award ceremony I hadn’t talked about it enough with anyone to understand what was going on. The place was jam packed as my Mom & Dad had me suited up in my lil’ wrangler jeans and checkered shirt…I walked up to a stage consumed by claps and smiling faces to receive my award with the other older kid who was with me in Mr. Boone’s office. They handed me then what seemed like a huge plaque with Dr. King etched in the gold plate and my name on it. It included “Jr.” which made me feel proud around my Dad that I had accomplished something worth carving my name into. Thinking back now, it was both of our names on that award. My Dad was proud of me that night. The importance of this award didn’t settle in until my last days of 2nd grade when Mrs. Barkley asked that I stay after class for a gift she wanted to give me. It was an emotional time as my family and I prepared to move to another neighborhood where I would start what seemed like a new life at another elementary school. While a part of me felt sad, for the most part I was excited to be moving out of the quadruplex we resided in. I was excited to be moving into an actual house and its new smell. I was excited that I was about to be a big brother. I was excited about the neighborhood that was brand new extending far into the desert where I would be able to let my dog Cujo run loose.

Meeting with Mrs. Barkley that day after class, I think I was aware that I wanted to thank her for everything. Even then as a little kid. I want to say I was completely aware of how grateful I was for Mrs. Barkely and that I would indeed miss her. But honestly, I can’t remember. In my imagination that is how the words play out, but I can’t remember for sure. That may be my older mind getting in the way of what was really said. But what I do remember is her passing me a book as a going away gift. It was a book of all the presidents. All the way up to Ronald Reagan who was on the cover sitting at a desk, signing something. I remember her smile…I remember her signing my book for me. This was the last time I’d ever speak with Mrs. Barkley.

In remembering Dr. King, I wanted this post to also recognize everyday people in our lives that have made a difference through Dr. King. She set the tone for a peaceful, fun, safe, and memorable learning environment for us. Even in thinking about Dr. King, who during the 80s had just barely been recognized as a national holiday… she engaged us in activities that set us up to accomplish something great in our own lives. Even as little 2nd graders.

Unfortunately, I ended up losing my Dr. King plaque the day after I graduated with my Masters from NMSU. I was moving everything out of the college housing and simply misplaced it in the things I was throwing away. Or maybe it’s in storage stuffed between boxes and binders that I saved… At least that’s what I hope. Hopefully I’ll find the award someday. Or maybe someone found it and can send it to me. That would definitely complete this story. I’ve also thought about following up with Parkland to see if they still have another plaque that was given to our school for the achievement. It was huge. It was a gold plaque in the shape of Texas and it had my name and the name of the other older student that also won an award. I recall stopping by the display in front of the principal’s office taking a second to look and stare at the plaque with my name before departing from Parkland altogether.

Perhaps the school still has this award. Would love to see it again in memory of Mrs. Barkely and Dr. King.

Parkland Elementary School
Mrs. Barkeley 2nd Grade 1989

Fearless or Insane

with Chris Webber

One of the best podcasts on the net with C.Webb...stories for days!

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