by H. Joe Weyand

“The full moon is calling; the fever is high and the wicked wind whispers and moans.” – The Eagles*

Winning games, winning championships, making the shot, getting the steal – these experiences can be narcotic.  There is an intense need to repeat the experience.  But reality can get in the way and you can lose the game, fail to win a championship, miss the shot, or fumble the steal.  When your family is heavily invested in sporting events your life can become a roller coaster.  As a player you have some control over how things go.  When you’re a parent, you are just along for the ride.  And that’s easy when you are sharing the exhilaration of success.  The downside is tougher.  In 1996 I could readily identify with the Warriors when they were 3 – 3.  As I watched and taped the state tournament games – the tip, the blowout, and the emphatic claim to the title – I couldn’t help but smile.  I thought that championship was made even more special because that team had to overcome some adversity to get there.

Joel’s experience as a Warrior was the exception as Wahoo cruised along on the high road for four years (except for what Joel called that one little “bump in the road”).  I think we were all cognizant of how rare Joel’s experience had been and were able to cope with normal seasons where losses occur, where goals go unmet, and personal performances fall short.   During the 1996 season Joel was in his junior season at Morningside.  He was a full-time starting point guard and led the team in minutes played.  Coming off their trip to the national tournament in 1995, the Chiefs were expecting to keep that momentum into the new season.  As usual, the North Central Conference was very competitive. The Chiefs were in the hunt for a bid to the national tournament right up to the end of the season.  An 18-9 record would normally be seen as successful, but it fell far short of the 1995 team.  In spite of some great individual performances and some big wins, Joel felt his season was a disappointment.

Our twin daughters, Jaclyn and Jill, were playing their first high school season at Wahoo.  It was a difficult year. They both made the varsity as freshmen and split time between varsity and junior varsity.  There were stressful moments as they tried to find their way.  The varsity team posted a 12-8 record while the jv’s went 13-3. 

Needless to say, with all that basketball going on in our family, we missed a lot of the Wahoo boys games.  At that time there were only a few boy/girl double headers, so the girls rarely played on the same night as the boys.  But as in previous years the boys schedule often conflicted with Morningside games, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  However, since Morningside did not qualify for post season play, we were able to attend the state tournament.

By the Wahoo boys standard, our family’s basketball experience in 1996 might be labeled disappointing.  We had to fight off some demons.  The 1996 Warriors had expressed a strong desire to claim another championship.  In doing that, they had to also deal with some demons.  As The Eagles sang, “You got your demons and you got desires.  Well, I’ve got a few of my own.”

*”One of These Nights” by The Eagles

Joel became the starting point guard for Morningside in 1996.
Jaclyn (top) and Jill (above) "made" the state tournament in the pep band. They never did make it on the basketball court, but they did in volleyball.