It’s time once again for a Monster Mash-up!
Mix one: Jordan Abalos made a wise decision to go the New Mexico University. A positive trend, that has started to take place across the nation, in the choice athletes make on where they will go, is not picking the big- name school but the one that fits the student-athletes’ needs the best. It’s not the emblem on the jersey, it;s the player wearing it that should ultimately be the stand-out.
Mix two: The Fort Thomas High School football team played a wonderful game last Friday night. Poise, heart and conditioning. This is the best-conditioned team in the Gila Valley. They still had a lot of gas in the tank at the end of the game after playing hard all night. One of the top rushers in the country, Cale Merrell for Duncan, pulled it out of the fire for the Wildkats. The whole Apaches team almost pulled off the win; these kids are special.
Mix three: Gila Valley high school and college volleyball coaches are an amazing group of leaders to guide young women in athletics.
Bulldogs coach Janene Ward does it with her love of the girls and the game.
Eagles coach Becky Motes does it with passion and conditioning.
Roughriders coach Jerry Hekekia does it with wisdom and character.
Apaches coach Laree Green does it with fundamentals and team- work.
Gila Monsters coach Shari Kay does it with intelligence and caring.
Fans, when you see these people, thank them for their great job in helping turn girls into women.
Mix four: Gila Valley volleyball prophet /coach Jerry Hekekia should be thanked. Everywhere I go, he is there. He is there at volleyball practice and games for both high school and college. He is there for triathlons, football games and in the classroom.
Jerry Hekekia was my junior high school science teacher 35 years ago at Safford. He coached EAC to a national championship in volleyball. Now in his twilight years, he is coaching the Pima girls and still contributes at EAC.
Hekekia proves that you’re never too young or old to get out there and contribute to the youth of the Gila Valley.
I know he doesn’t seek personal admiration, and I know he will probably be a little embarrassed by what I am about to write. I have to say this. I know everybody on the inside knows this, but I want to share you with those who don’t.
Thank you from all those whose lives you have touched. Thank you for your love of the kids and your community. Thank you for your dedication, your wisdom and your wonderful smile and humor.
If there was ever an individual who deserved a bronze statue in this Valley, it’s Jerry Hekekia. I recommend him to be cast in a setters position, looking to the sky with this inscription: Thank you, coach Jerry Hekekia. You inspire us all. God bless you.
Mix five: Last week, a Safford student succumbed to the temptation of theft. I saw this coming from a mile off and said so after my initial run through the schools to my editor.
It was during the Gold Card rush, and at several of the schools, I walked into public areas where large amounts of cash were being counted and sorted (thousands) in full view of the public. My red alert went off in my brain.
This is not a teacher problem. This is complacency, pure and simple, in the system. When you place temptation in view of the public, especially kids, you reap what you sow.
This topic of large amounts of cash on our schools campuses needs to be addressed at our school board meetings, and administrations need to nip this in the bud now before another student faces the theft temptation.
It is my hope that authorities take this into consideration. The system of handling fund-raising money in our schools was a mitigating factor in this student’s misstep. Stealing is wrong, but openly courting it is too! This is one time that temptation can be removed without creating a taboo. That’s my two cents on this topic.
Mix 6: I have three hat tips to give out.
Gila Monster Rehtt Nebeker defensive back from Golden, Colo.
Nebeker almost became an unlikely game hero against Mesa Community College on Saturday night. His two defensive fumble recoveries, the first an almost 50-yard run back after a Mesa receiver put the ball on the turf after the reception. And his 5-yard fumble pick-up after the botched punt snap from Mesa, put two touchdowns on the board late. His quick thinking and actions lifted his teammates up on his shoulders and set the Gila Monster attitude on fire.
Nebeker’s play deserves a big-time hero hat tip.
Collin Fanning, wide-reciever and special teams punt and kick off returner
Every week, Fanning breaks a long return for a touchdown. He did it again for 69 yards against Mesa. He lifted the Gila Monsters team spirit once again. It’s simple; he is a real pro. A respectful hat tip to you.
Put all that together, mix it up and you have Murph’s Mash-up.