Today we have our first round game against Merced in the Gervasoni Memorial Tournament at De Anza College in Cupertino. This tournament is a big one for a lot of reasons.
For our team this year, it’s our last opportunity to play before we start conference play and our journey towards another Bay Valley Conference title. Because of that, it’s exciting.
But for most of our staff, it’s a bittersweet return to the school where we all have a lot of history and memories.
This tournament used to be called the De Anza tournament, but after former coach Mike Gervasoni passed away in a car accident in 2004, it was changed to the Gervasoni Memorial.
Both Coach Matt and Coach George used to coach as assistants at De Anza under Mike, and it’s where both of them developed most of their basketball philosophies and ideologies.
More importantly, Coach Matt is coming back to the place where he spent most of his time with his former best friend.
I never played for or coached under Mike, but I knew him well because I played for his wife, Kim Gervasoni, at Solano. I spent a lot of time with both of them, watching basketball and working in the gym individually with them.
A lot of former players called Mike “Gerv,” shortening his last name. I used to call him “Mikey,” my own term of endearment, and though he’d always look at me funny when I called him that, he allowed it.
To me, Mike was one of those people I’ve had in my life who believed in me and helped teach me to believe in myself. Along with Kim, I started my adulthood with two people outside of my family who always had my back and who pushed me to always be better.
So today I’ll be looking ridiculous at our game as my skrawny 120 pound frame dawns a Men’s size large “Gervasoni” polo. I know I, along with Coach Matt and Coach George, will be thinking about Mike as we participate in this tournament over the next few days.