Tigers set the mood by giving back to children

Written by Paul Harder, The Observer November 20, 2013 10:20 am

La Grande soccer players show off the bounty of a shopping spree prior to the Class 4A state championshop game. The toys went to the Dorenbecher Children’s Hospital.
La Grande soccer players show off the bounty of a shopping spree prior to the Class 4A state championshop game. The toys went to the Dorenbecher Children’s Hospital.
 

When you think of high school students does the word selfless come to mind? 

For me, it doesn’t. I think of texting, Facebook and video games — all of which are more selfish than selfless. 

That’s why it’s been a breath of fresh air, or a glimpse that humanity will survive, after covering the La Grande girls soccer team this season.

It’s a great group of girls.

But, as with all things built, you need to look at the foundation. The Tigers have a strong foundation built on head coach Sam Brown. 

Talking to him, he won’t take any credit. Brown will only thank God for direction, but not the execution. Still, he’s the kind of coach that every parent would want instructing their children. He won’t teach your child to sweep the leg. But, instead find a subconscious task and before your child knows they’ve successfully delivered a crane kick to win the All Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament. 

He’s the Mr. Migayi of eastern Oregon.

Nothing shows that more than a pregame activity for this weekend. 

It was only the first appearance for the Tigers in the Class 4A state title game in school history. But, Brown still found a way to turn the trip to Liberty High School in Hillsboro into a life lesson.

He was looking for a way to get his team into the right mindset for the game. And, as is tradition, Brown asked in prayer for the answer.

The idea — have each girl donate $5 to the children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. 

However, that fact was not common knowledge. Brown just told the girls to bring $5 of their own, and not to get it from their parents.

Avery Stanton said the whole bus drive to Portland the players were trying to figure out what was going on. All they knew was that the money was for something special. 

The bus stopped in front of Toys R Us — and then it was lesson time.

Picture and video cameras came out, and the show was on. Although, it wasn’t like Punk’d, it was 

Brown told them their $5 was now $25 dollars. He then sent the girls loose. 

Stanton described it as an experience that she will never forget.

Sure, they didn’t come home with the trophy they wanted. But, the La Grande girls soccer team came home with memories that will last a life time.