As coaches we know, even though it isn’t always easy, the results and appreciation of our efforts to guide players will usually come later than sooner.
Players move on and experience new things and it is always a special time when they contact us to say thank you for helping prepare them to be successful in all that life has to offer. Saturday, June 6 was one of those special times as several of us in the Solano women’s basketball family were invited to attend Welana Toki’s graduation celebration at the Foley Cultural Center in Vallejo.
Welana played for us from 2004-2006 and then transferred on full scholarship to Texas A&M University- Kingsville. Welana will be remembered as one of the best players in Solano history and she was an All Conference performer at Kingsville as well. Most importantly she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice becoming one of the few members of her family with a college degree. Hence the celebration!
I was honored to be seated at the head table with her high school coach Ann Talamantes-Ristow and other relatives. The two words that immediately come to mind in describing the celebration are fantastic and phenomenal. And I don’t know if they even do justice.
To witness the Tongan culture celebrate such a wonderful occasion was one of the great experiences of my life. I was blown away when, as one of Welana’s former coaches, I received a separate cake along with blankets and mats as part of the culture’s tradition for such an occasion.
It was a special day for my family and our program to witness the traditional dancing and gift giving and to be reunited with players from those two years. A very special day! Thanks and congratulations again to Welana!