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Mets vs.

Pumas 1981
By Jose Rosario The day the Mets won the championship game in the summer of 1980, that night we celebrated we an improvised parade of cars through entire downtown area and subdivisions. It is amazing how people responded to our spectacle as the team went through town people cheered our team. The majority didnt know who we were and why we were celebrating that night but people cheered anyhow. Winning make you do things that you will not do in another conditions. That night believe it or not, I began to think about the next season. We were winning this game by thirty points, by this time ONeills team could not put a dent on our blue basketball machine. As I coached the game I realized that for next season all my players will not be able to play in the same league. That night sitting on the side line a small boy was watching the how the Metz destroyed the red team. This boy came to the game with my sister. That year my sister began to work for City Hall, her first job, and she was put in charge of the HUD office. Her job was to help lower income families to find a house and then help them with their rent; it was called the section 8 program. So, that summer her office picked up a family that needed help with almost everything. After years of marriage and six children, five girls and one boy, their father abandoned them for a younger woman. There were other considerations here too, some people said that gambling and drugs were part of the equation too. The thing was that the poor woman was thrown out on the street and was forced to move back with her parents. My team parents wanted to have an end of the season party, so we could give the awards and the all the gift they had for their kids. It was organized for Pepe Delgados home, wish was more life a ranch that anything else, big and specious so the kids could go wild. All of them showed up, with prepared plates for the banquet before the trophies were giving. Even my mother was assigned a plate, rice with ham, something that she never cooked before. Anyhow, I could not believe how high this group of parents thought of me then. They were all saying that next year it was going to be wonderful. I guessed it was because they were all caught up with our season sweeping victory. The Mets only lost one game, and I have always said thats because the referees didnt like an undefeated team to take it all. I would not say more. For some reason, the boy seating on the sidelines in our last game was at the party. I am not sure if he came with me or my sister that night, the thing is that he was there. He ended up tagging alone with my sister at first and then with me for any activity I did with my players. The doctor that brought him to this world named him Machote, after delivering three girls for this family it was a release for them that a boy came for this family. I guessed he thought they were going to close the pike line after Machote, the doctor didnt know then that two other girls were coming alone after the boy. Machote was sandy blond, very skinny, with big hands and extra large feet; his outside shooting was awful; he couldnt make a shot even if his life depended on it. His hands were too big and never got the rhythm to do so, so every shot he took was different. On the other hand he probably was the best point guard I ever had in a team. The best court vision, now and then, with an instinct for breaking the press, and the ability to move the ball ahead in the fast break,

without equal to these days. I know that this is going to get me in trouble with some of my todays players. But the truth is the truth. I built the next summer biddy around him. This new team wasnt my Mets from the year before, we lack everything, and it was as if no one wanted to play basketball that summer. However, I managed to recruit some prospects from my school, Ivan Bruno, David Quiles, and the son of the Funeral Home owners, which gave us the uniform that year. Funny after they donated the uniform and the season started, their son didnt come to almost any games until the last games of the season. Carlos Cortes, a red hair boy from Jose De Diego Elementary, and one of the Falconi twins, Jesus, played for us too (thats another story) and the biggest players of the League, el Chino. However Machote was the anchored of that team. In the summer of 1981 many thing happened for me, for once I got a new job. After my first year as a teacher the Mayor offered me a position in his team as the parks and recreation director. The office was literary close; the Mayor fired the director before, and closed the office for one year after he could find the right person for the job. Someone told me that he offered the position to a number of people, but none wanted it. The position was a hot potato appointment, highly political, and quite demanding, a twenty-four-seven position in other work. The story went that the Mayor was complaining about it, that he could not get anyone for the position, my sister was in the meeting and she told him that he should approach me for it. Many people began to say that I have a conflict of interest in that league, two teams were my, the Old Mets, with a new name, the Hawks, and the Mets. The problem that I have was that these teams were formed way before I was offered the position as the Parks and Recreation Director. I could not just say to the kids hey I got this job you need another coach, after so many hours invested on them and the relations I developed with them for three years by then. These talks will continue all the way until my last day in the job, seven year later. I remembered one of the ONeills team parents said my team were all whitish (Blanquitos in Spanish) meaning that they were all from wealthy families, which was feather from the truth. I always thought that that was the mines comment a parent could say about a group of kids that were there for the sport only. Its true that some of my players were from wealthy families, but at the same time we had kids that came from the projects and some came from the slums. Well, the season began, and there were fix teams in the Bibby division, Zorrilla (horrible team), Las Marquez, ONeill (by very competitive team), the Pumas (team like my put together by the Maristas coaching staff), the Murals and my team the Mets. We defeated Zorrilla, Murals, Las Marquez and ONeill in the first round, but we lost against the Puma, this was the team to beat that season. Jimmy Bou, their coach, selected players from all places, even Jose (Tony) Valentine (later a New York Mets baseball player), and Hector Tuti Gonzalez, who will later play for me, and the brother of one of my former renegade players. The Pumas were the best team of the league, without a doubt, they had everything, tall players, the best backcourt of the league, and a deep bench, plus were coach by Chaguito Maldonados protg. Jimmy Bou was the Marista elementary school teacher and in a way the assistant coach for Chaguito their Head Coach. When I compared Jimmys team with my, I couldnt see how we were going to be able to beat them. We were to face them twice during the regular season, however I dont remember what happened to us those two games, I think we divided, they won one and we beat them one. Anyhow, we were going to see them again after the regular season was over.

In contrast to them I have two players, Machote and el Chino; a super developed eleven years old. El Chino has a name but I cant remember it now, everyone call him Chino because his Asian looking eyes. I found this boys as I waited in line for my bank teller, his mother introduced herself to me, she asked if I was me. This kid was able to play basketball; he ended being our highest scorer. As the season went on its way we finished in third place in the overall standing bracket, we were to play ONeill the second seated and Las Marquez was to engage the 1 st seated the Pumas. The semifinals were the best of three games while the finales were the best of five. The Mets and the Pumas met in the finals after we both defeated our opponents in two games. However the finals were a different story, for some reason we ended playing one game a week, school began by then and kids werent allowed to play during the week days. Anyhow, we won the first two games, el Chino, who in the regular season fouled out in almost every game, learned his lesson and remained in the game till the end. He was a domain figure in that level. Plus Machote was on fire, he broke the most effective weapon the Pumas had, their zone-press. By this point I thought that we were going to sweep them in three games, but the prolong wait between games give the Pumas and opportunity, Jimmy Bou practice his team, while I couldnt do the same. It all comes down to a final game. There are moments that you dont forget and this why I am rambling about this game. Machote the only point guard I had for this team fail ill with stress throat and was confined in bed for two days before the game was over. I did not practice with my team, so things were grin for us going into the final game. I went to pick him to take him to the game and his mother told me that he was sleeping and that she was not going to let him go to the game. I understood that what shit could I do. So as I was preparing the team in the warm ups the sick boy showed with his uniform on and ready to play. Who brought you here? I asked him. I escaped from home, I was going to walk here, but Carlitos gave me ride, Machote said. And your Mom? She aint happy but she is coming to the game later . . . Kid youre sick, I might not be able to use you in this game, I said to him. Its funny; I meant ever word when I told him this. He played the four quarters of the game as if he was on fire, he even make his stone shots from the outside; he stripped the other team guards of the ball, and almost got into a fight with Tuti Gonzalez. But the Pumas were always there, and with two minutes and thirty seconds of the game, Jose (Tony) Valentin, stole the basketball from Machote, something that was almost impossible to do. Tony went for a lay-up by himself as Machote watch from the middle of the court without doing anything. I think he was crying. So many things could be in his mind at this point, who knows. The game was now one point the Pumas ahead, and as always the gym was full of people, and many were in their favor. The court exploded with a roar for the Pumas and Tony well executed steal. I called a time out and crossed the court, got on my knees in front of the kid, that was crying, grip his t-shirt and yelled, The next time someone take the ball from you . . . I pointed

to the boy that was coming from making a basket for his team, . . . you go after him and foul him, dont let him make the basket. If Machote was on fire before this incident, he, then, was burning in hell after. Machote dominated the game with an ease that I only seeming in two other players after him: Jimmy Triplet from Montverde Academy and Chase Tramont from St. Paul. These people are the real thing, the true point guards, and the play makers of the game of Basketball. Yes, I won make second championship that day. I was doubled happy then, because behind the Pumas bench there was a multitude of coaches, giving advice to Jimmy Bou. I would name them here but I have more stories to tell about those years. We you are in a business like this, you make friends but you also make enemies.

Mets vs Pumas 1981


Por Jos Rosario El da que los Mets ganaron el partido de campeonato en el verano de 1980, esa noche celebramos con una parada improvisada de autos a travs del pueblo y subdivisiones. Es increble cmo la gente respondieron a nuestro espectculo cuando el equipo pas la gente en el pueblo ovacion a nuestro equipo. La mayora no saba por qu nos estbamos celebrando esa noche pero la gente grit de todos modos. Uno hace cosas que no harn en otra de las condiciones despus de una victoria. Esa noche, empec a pensar en la prxima temporada. Este juego estbamos ganando por treinta puntos, por esta vez en el equipo de O'Neill no podra hacerse un hueco en nuestro maquina azul de baloncesto. Mientras diriga el juego me di cuenta de que para la prxima temporada todos mis jugadores no tendran la edad para jugar en la misma liga. Esa noche sentado en las lneas un nio estaba viendo cmo el Metz destruy el equipo rojo. Este muchacho lleg al juego con mi hermana. Ese ao mi hermana comenz a trabajar para el Ayuntamiento, su primer trabajo, y ella fue puesta a cargo de la Oficina de HUD. Su trabajo fue para ayudar a las familias de ingresos bajas a encontrar una casa y, a continuacin, les ayuda con su alquiler; se llamaba el programa de la seccin 8. Por lo tanto, ese verano su Oficina recogida una familia que necesitaba ayuda con casi todo. Despus de aos de matrimonio y seis hijos, cinco nias y un nio, su padre les abandon por una mujer ms joven. Hubo otras consideraciones aqu tambin, algunas personas dijeron que juego y drogas fueron tambin parte de la ecuacin. La cosa fue que la pobre mujer fue echada a la calle y se vio obligada a regresar con sus padres. Los padres de mi equipo queran tener una fiesta final de temporada, por lo que podramos dar los premios y regalos para sus hijos. Fue organizado por la casa de Pepe Delgado, un rancho a

las afueras del pueblo grande y donde los chicos podan correr salvajes. Todos ellos fueron asignados con platos para el banquete antes de que fueran dando los trofeos. Incluso mi madre fue asignada con plato de arroz con jamn, algo que ella nunca antes haba hecho. De todos modos, no poda creer cun alto este grupo de padres pensaba de m en aquel entonces. Todos decan que el ao prximo iba a ser maravilloso. Ellos estaban fascinados con nuestra temporada donde barrimos con la victoria. Los Mets perdieron solo un juego, y siempre he dicho que es porque los rbitros no le gust un equipo invicto que tomar todo. No quiero decir ms. Por una razn, el chico que vio nuestro ltimo partido sentado en las lneas estaba en la fiesta. No s que si el vino conmigo o mi hermana esa noche, la cosa es el que estaba all. El termin viniendo con mi hermana al principio y luego conmigo para cualquier actividad que hice con mis jugadores. El mdico que le trajeron al mundo lo llam Machote, despus de la entrega de tres nias de esta familia, fue un lanzamiento para ellos que un nio lleg para esta familia. Pensaba que iban a cerrar la lnea despus Machote, el mdico no saba entonces que otras dos nias venan solo despus de Machote. Machote era rubia, muy flaco, con buenas manos y pies extra grandes; su tiro exterior era terrible; l no poda anotar ni que su propia vida dependiera de eso. Sus manos eran demasiado grandes y nunca pudo conseguir el ritmo para hacerlo, por lo que cada disparo que tom era diferente. Por otro lado, el fue probablemente la mejor armador que tuve en cualquier de mis equipos. La mejor visin, con un instinto para romper el preseo y la posibilidad de avanzar a la bola en el contraataque, sin igual para estos das. S que esto va a meterme en problemas con algunos de los jugadores de hoy. Pero la verdad es la verdad. Yo constru el prximo equipo Biddy para el verano alrededor de l. Este nuevo equipo no era mis Mets desde el ao anterior, nos falta todo, y es como si nadie quera jugar al baloncesto ese verano. Sin embargo, he podido contratar algunas perspectivas de mi escuela, Ivn Bruno, David Quiles y el hijo de los propietarios de la funeraria, que nos dio el uniforme ese ao. Gracioso pero despus de donar el uniforme y la temporada comenzado, su hijo no juego hasta los ltimos juegos de la temporada. Carlos Corts, un muchacho de pelo rojo de Escuela Jos De Diego y uno de los gemelos de Falconi, Jess, jugaron para nosotros (que es otra historia) y los ms grandes jugadores de la Liga, el Chino. Sin embargo, Machote fue el anclado de ese equipo. En el verano de 1981 muchos lo sucedido para m, un nuevo trabajo. Despus de mi primer ao como maestro, el alcalde me ofreci un puesto en su equipo, como director de recreacin y deportes. La Oficina estaba cerca; el alcalde despidi al director anterior y cerr la Oficina para un ao despus de que l podra encontrar a la persona adecuada para el trabajo. Alguien me dijo que el ofreci el cargo a un nmero de personas, pero ninguno quiso. La posicin era una patata caliente, altamente poltica y muy exigentes, una posicin de veinticuatro horas y siete das a la semana, en otros trabajos. La historia fue que el alcalde se quejaba, que l no pudo obtener cualquiera para la posicin, mi hermana estuvo en la reunin y le dijo que l debera de hablar con migo para ello. Muchas personas empezaron a decir que tengo un conflicto de intereses en esa liga, dos equipos fueron m, los viejos Mets, con un nuevo nombre, los Hawks y los nuevos Mets. El problema que tenia era que estos equipos estaban formaron antes de que me ofrecieron la posicin como Director de Deportes. Yo no podra decir a ellos oye consegu este trabajo y no ser su entrenador, despus de tantas horas invertidas en ellos y las relaciones que desarrolle con ellos durante los tres aos anteriores. Estas conversaciones continuarn hasta mi ltimo da en el

trabajo, siete aos ms tarde. Me acord de uno de los padres de ONeill dijo mi equipo era de blanquitos, o de familias ricas. Siempre he pensado que ese comentario fue muy insolente, que un padre dijera eso sobre mis jugadores que solo estaban all para el deporte. Es cierto que algunos de mis jugadores eran de familias ricas, pero al mismo tiempo tenamos chicos procedentes de los proyectos y algunos venan del arribar. Bien, comenz la temporada y hubo que arreglar equipos en la Divisin de Bibby, la Zorrilla (equipo horrible), la Las Mrquez, ONeill (un equipo muy competitivo), los Pumas (un equipo puesto junto por el entrenador del Marista), Los Murales y mi equipo los Mets. Nosotros derrotamos a Zorrilla, a Los Murales, a Las Mrquez y a ONeill en la primera ronda, pero perdimos contra el Puma, este era el equipo a derrotar en la temporada. Jimmy Bou, su entrenador, seleccionado de jugadores de todos los lugares, incluso de Jos (Tony) de Valentine (ms tarde un jugador de bisbol de los Mets de Nueva York) y Hctor Tuti Gonzlez, quien era el hermano de uno de mis jugadores renegados. Los Pumas fueron el mejor equipo de la Liga, sin duda, tena todo, jugadores de alto, el mejor backcourt de la Liga y un banco de profundo, ms fueron entrenador por protegido Chagite Maldonado. Jimmy Bou fue la maestra de escuela primaria en Marista y de forma que el entrenador asistente de Chagite su entrenador. Cuando en comparacin con el equipo de Jimmy el m, que no poda ver cmo bamos a poder ganar. Fuimos a enfrentarse a ellos dos veces durante la temporada regular, pero no recuerdo lo que nos sucedi esos dos juegos, creo que dividimos, ganaron uno y les ganamos uno. De todos modos, nos bamos a ver despus de la temporada regular. En contraste con ellos tengo dos jugadores, Machote y el chino; un sper haba desarrollado de once aos de edad. El Chino tiene un nombre, pero no puedo recordarlo ahora, todos lo llaman el Chino porque su aspecto asitico de sus ojos. Encontr estos chicos cuando esperaba en lnea para mi cajero automtico, su madre me pregunta si yo era yo. Este chico era capaz de jugar baloncesto; termin siendo nuestro mximo anotador. Cuando la temporada termino nosotros terminamos en tercer lugar en general, he bamos a jugar contra O'Neill el segundo sentado y Las Mrquez con el primero sentado, los Pumas. Las semifinales fueron los mejores de tres juegos, mientras que los finales era el mejor de cinco. Los Mets y los Pumas se reunieron en las finales despus de que ambos derrotaran a nuestros adversarios en dos juegos. Sin embargo las finales fueron una historia diferente, por alguna razn terminamos jugando un juego una semana, escuela comenz por entonces y nios no pueden jugar durante los das de la semana. De todos modos, gan los dos primeros partidos, el Chino, que en la temporada regular sali por faltas en casi todos los partidos, aprendido la leccin y permaneci en el juego hasta el final. Fue una figura de domnate en ese nivel. Adems Machote estaba en llamas, rompi el arma ms efectiva que los Pumas tenia, su zona de preseo. En este punto pens que bamos a barrerlos tres juegos, pero la espera prolong entre juegos los Pumas y oportunidad, Jimmy Bou prctica su equipo, mientras que yo no poda hacer lo mismo. Todo equivale a un juego final. Hay momentos que no se olvidan y esto por eso estoy discurriendo sobre este juego. Machote la nica base que tena para este equipo se enfermo y fue confinado en cama durante dos das antes del partido se termin. Y el no poder practicar con mi equipo, por lo que las cosas no nos estaban sonrisa para el juego final. Fui a recogerle para llevarlo a el juego y su madre me dijo l estaba durmiendo y no iba a dejarlo ir. Yo entend, qu mierda podra yo hacer. As mientras preparaba el equipo en el caliente el chico enfermo se presento con su uniforme listo para jugar.

Que te trajo aqu?" Le pregunte. "Me escape, iba a caminar hasta aqu, pero Carlitos me dio avent", dijo Machote. "Y tu mam?" "Ella no est feliz, pero viene al juego ms tarde..." "Chico est enfermo, no puedo usar en este juego," le dije. Es curioso, todo lo que le dije era cierto no le estaba mintiendo. Jug los cuatro cuartos del juego como si l estuviera en llamas, l incluso meti sus de tiros piedras desde el exterior; despojado de los otros jugadores de la pelota y casi se meti en una pelea con Tuti Gonzlez. Pero los Pumas estaban siempre all y con dos minutos y treinta segundos de juego, Jos (Tony) Valentn, le robo el baln, algo casi imposible de hacer. Tony fue y anoto la gira al mismo tiempo que Machote se quedo en la mitad de cancha sin hacer nada. Creo que l estaba llorando. El pobre tenis tantas cosas en su mente en este momento, quin sabe. El juego era ahora un punto a favor de los Pumas y como siempre el gimnasio estaba lleno de gente, y muchos estaban a su favor. La cancha explot con un rugido para los Pumas y para Tony bien ejecutado robo. Llam a un tiempo fuera y cruce la cancha, y en mis rodillas delante del jugador, que estaba llorando, le agarre su camiseta y grit, "la prxima vez que alguien tome la bola...." mientras seal al nio que vena de hacer el canasto para su equipo, "... usted le sigue y le da la falta, no le permiten hacer la cesta." Si Machote estaba en llamas antes de este incidente, que, entonces, arda en el infierno despus. Machote domin el juego con una facilidad que yo slo e visto en otros dos jugadores: Jimmy Triplet de Academia Monteverde y Chase Tramont de San Pablo. Estos jugadores son los creadores de las jugadas, los armadores de juego. S, ganamos nuestro segundo Campeonato. Yo era doblemente feliz ese da, porque detrs de la banca de los Pumas haba una multitud de entrenadores, dando consejos a Jimmy Bou. Podra nombrarlos aqu, pero tengo ms historias que contar acerca de esos aos. En un negocio como este, uno hace amigos, pero tambin hace enemigos.