Someone came up to me at an early business meeting when Aces Casino (the orange county casino party juggernaut) was born some 17 years ago and told me, "Aces, if you want to be a success in this industry, you have to be well-rounded." I also seem to remember that this man doing all the talking at this new small business symposium was about 5 feet, three inches, and weighed some 290 pounds.
Well, I thought, he's pretty much the well-rounded-est person I've ever seen, so I'd best take his advice, in more ways than one. I've gained more than a few pounds over the years to keep my bases covered in one aspect of his suggestions to success, but here at Aces Casino, we've also taken that OTHER meaning of his advice to heart. Yes, we're VERY good at what we do in the orange county casino party business, but besides that, we also taken pride in the fact that our "eclectic nature" also helps make us what we are today.
Among our many semi-insane (and proud of it) staff members, you'll find the most interesting and diverse types of hobbies and "like-to-do" things in the industry, from bird-watching to NASCAR, from eBay to E-Trade, from poker tournament play to fantasy football play. Every week, someone around these here parts has a fascinating story concerning what they did or saw during the past week.
Now, when it comes to THIS quasi-reporter, one of MY favorite "likes," or one of my favorite things to do around here, is to go to football games; mostly the NFL Chargers' games, but on a more local and personal level, high school football games. And not just ANY high school games -- Buena Park High School football games. It just happens to be the high school that I graduated from some 20 years ago (Ed. Note: OK, yeah, more like 50 years ago), and, because of my love for the game, it seemed a natural thing to stay connected to the ol' alma mater and take in a few games each year.
Now, as high school football factories are concerned, Buena Park High ain't exactly Servite or O-Lu... As a matter of fact, over the last, say, 40 years, the team hasn't exactly re-written the CIF Southern Section record books. The Orange County Register, one of the best newspapers in the world when it comes to local high school sports, lists the Buena Park Coyotes' win-loss record over the years at 193-317-18, which means we've averaged about 4 wins a season, thru the years.
That ain't much.
But, there HAVE been some big-time thrills here and there in Coyote-Land. Ten years ago, the Coyotes' football team did the un-thinkable when they stormed all the way to the CIF Southern Section Championship Game at Cal State Fullerton against the Brea-Olinda Wildcats. That was one of the greatest days of my high school football life, walking into that stadium to watch my high school team battle for the title.
Then, the game started. Ouch. Actually, when you follow prep football as closely as I do, you kinda know when your team's in trouble, and I knew that BPHS was wandering into the Twilight Zone when they took on Brea-Olinda. They totally out-played Buena Park the entire first half, but they didn't out-class the Coyotes -- Buena Park came out at the start of the second half, and marched right down the field for a TD, looking just like the team that had beaten South Hills the week before to get to the title game.
I don't remember the score of the BOHS / BPHS game (Ed. Note: Don't worry, I'll find that score someday), but I'll never forget the pride inside of me when I went to that game, as well as all the other games I've seen over the years.
The last few years HAD been rather tough to watch, however. There were times just two or three years ago when it seemed that the Coyote playbook could be written on the back of a business card. The dog days had returned, and these dogs were BARKIN', to the tune of a 1-and-39 win-loss record over a four-year span, and that one win was by forfeit. At THIS rate, we're NEVER gonna get our overall record back to .500... (Grin)
THEN came 2010.
The 2010 BPHS Football Program had a new staff, led by first-year Head Coach Anthony White, a man that has just one important vision for his kids -- Excellence in academics as well as athletics. He's intense, but not a screamer. He's knowledgeable, but he's not a know-it-all. But, to me, his one most important thing is, he's a TEACHER. I mean, I could go on and on about Coach White, but the OC Register and other periodicals have already done that for me. Go look him up thru the various news clippings like this link. Or THIS link. Or THIS one. You'll see what I mean. The best part -- The man knows FOOTBALL. He MUST -- He brought me back on board as "the Voice of the Coyotes," A.K.A. the P.A. announcer, a job I had held for about 15 years, earlier in my BPHS 'career.' I loved Coach White from the start. In a VERY short time, I could tell he was someone that got things DONE. I like that.
Then, the season started.
Now, I'll go into EVERY Coyote season thinking the best..."Hey, you never know, this year just might be one of those years..."
You can say THAT again. For the first time in school HISTORY, the BPHS Coyotes rattled off wins in their first SIX games, on route to their first CIF Playoff Berth since the 2001 season. Coach White and his staff re-built the Coyotes from scratch, preparing them for the '10 season like no other staff, instilling a feeling of pride, accomplishment, a desire to excel not just in football, but in LIFE.
For the first time in a long time, the alumni, parents, families and friends of the Coyotes were joining forces, and getting involved in the school at a level that I haven't seen in a long time. "The Coyote Club," the BPHS Booster Club, saw a spike in membership and participation. Suddenly, my ol' buddies from those other schools, schools like Sunny Hills, Katella, Estancia, Bolsa Grande..... They didn't want to talk to me about football any more. But I DID. (Until they hung up.)
Which brings us to 2011......
I can't WAIT to see the 2011 version of the Buena Park Coyotes football team. But not for the reason that you might THINK..... For me, It's just fun to be around a group of people, of kids, of coaches, all types of people that are getting together for the cause, bonding for not just athletics, but for each other. It really is a great thing to see. For the first time in the school's history, Aces Casino, the orange county casino party giant, volunteered it's time and energy to help the Coyote Club throw a casino night party and fundraiser for the Club two weeks ago, something that I'd never thought I'd see. I'm tellin' ya, things are happening out at Buena Park High these days.....
Oh, yeah, the 2011 Football Team....
Here....Let me introduce you to two fine gentlemen.....