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I would like to tip my hat to the Juneau Lions Club for another great Gold Medal Tournament. The club's hard work and dedication were greatly appreciated by all who attended.
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I also would like to thank the many basketball players who took the time to practice, show up and play their hearts out for their respective communities.
I have been attending Gold Medal for as long as I can remember. I have always looked forward to great basketball games, seeing old friends and making new ones, and watching each team member display pride in the name that runs across the front of their jerseys. The tournament has become a part of our culture.
As someone who has played basketball since I was a little girl, there is always one rule that rises above all others - something that has been taught to us since we first decided to pick up a basketball - sportsmanship. When all is said and done, and the last buzzer sounds, you leave it all on the court.
I was very hurt and disappointed at the display during the B Bracket Championship game. There was no need for all that booing. We all know that if it was our team that ran into this predicament on the eve of a championship game, we would have all stuck to our guns, too. We would be lying if we said we wouldn't. The Hydaburg team stood for what they believed was fair. Who wouldn't have with such a big game to play? When did we allow ourselves to become these people?
We all need to remember that games are just that - games. We can't let it come between us as Native people, whether we are Tlingit, Tsimshian or Haida.
The Lions Club did what it thought was best for the situation. I thank club officials for their hard work. I hope they will put together another great tournament for us next year.
Congratulations also goes to the Haines team for its championship, as well as to all other champions in their respective brackets. A special congratulations also goes to the two new inductees in the Gold Medal Hall of Fame.
To all players, coaches, managers, fans, Lions Club officials, Lions Club members, friends and family - I'll see you at the next Gold Medal. I hope you have a wonderful year.