There's No Place Like Home
If home is where the heart is, then my whole heart was invested in the 2nd Annual Wichita Asian American Basketball League Tournament. I grab any chance I get a chance to play in my hometown. I've been fortunate to play in a lot of tournaments, but there's nothing like playing in your backyard. These tournaments also provide an opportunity to run with the guys who introduced me to the world of Asian Basketball..
I played in my first tournament at 18. It was held at the University of Kansas, and I had no idea what to expect. I was the youngest on a team filled with very talented players from Wichita. Just being a part of that team taught me so much. Since I just graduated high school, there was a void created by the end of my highschool basketball career. But now, thanks to these tournaments, I could feed my competitive side, continue to become a better basketball player, and hopefully win a tournament or two. Since that first tournament, 12 years ago, I've played in more tournaments than I can remember. However, it's the tournaments in my hometown of Wichita, Kansas that I remember most.
The pictures here are from the championship game between my team (CCA) and our opponent (OK Rookies). The turn out was pretty good for this tournament; 12 teams participated from all over (Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and Arkansas). We faced some pretty tough opponents, and had to overcome some physical play. It's nice to see the talent and skill level of teams continue to increase as Wichita continues to host these tournaments.
Although we went in to the playoffs as the number 1 seed, this tournament was by no means a cake walk. We were actually losing most of the semi-final game until the last 2 minutes. It was a game where it felt like the whole world was against us. Our shots weren't falling, the other team seemed to be executing their game plan despite our defense, it even felt like the officials were partial to the other side at one point. Games like these really test a team's ability to overcome adversity. But through trusting in each other, and remaining confident in our team, we came back to win the game, and eventually win the entire tournament.
I'm really thankful to play on this team. I am no longer the young buck with energy for days running up and down the court with reckless abandonment. Although we had some of the what I call "OG's" on this team, the next generation of Wichita hoopers was well represented. I can't wait to see what these guys do with their talents in the future. I hope to see and play in more asian basketball tournaments in Wichita. But most importantly, I would love to share the next tournament with even more teams and players from all over the Midwest. The facilities are great, the games were well organized, and there's even a cash prize! Most tournaments don't offer more than a trophy and bragging rights nowadays.
Look, I know I'm a homer. I make no excuses about how proud I am of being from America's Heartland. I realize that Wichita may have a bad rap, and most likely, most people have NO IDEA what Wichita is all about. After this weekend, one thing is for sure. The basketball scene in the Asian Community of Kansas is Growing. I am proud to play a small part in it, and I can't wait to see what happens in the years to come. Thank you Chris Tran, Dave Ho, and my CCA teammates for a great tournament, and a terrific weekend.
Truly...There is no place like home.