By Darren Lum
Published May 17 2016
She just wanted to say thank you.
The Head Lake Grill owner and operator Diana Gomes provided a luncheon to the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School senior boys’ basketball team for being a second family to her and her son Travis Carroll who played for the team since Grade 10.
“Thank you for being good kids and doing your thing and being kids” she said.
With only eight players the team was representative of the little engine that could.
She explains they’re her “boys.”
“I’m like their surrogate mother and the crazy aunt they never had” she said.
Gomes said her business just marked four years closely mirroring the time her son has been with the team.
“When you do well you should be rewarded” she said referring to the Hawks and its Kawartha High School League title.
Travis is her only son and said his teammates are like the brothers he never had giving him an opportunity to grow as a person and be part of a team.
“This really brought him out … with dealing with people and knowing how to act and speak” she said. “They’re life skills. Things you need on a day-to-day basis as you get older and you grow up right?”
The biggest change happened she said last year. He became more committed to the team and the effort feeling a responsibility to all of its members. He also worked out in the summer leading up to this season.
Although head coach Dave Waito was not able to attend the team’s other coaches Gord Cochrane and Mike Rieger shared the meal with the team and handed out gifts specific to each player.
Carroll was handed a block of wood with a brief description of his last game.
It referred to his last game which relates to his solid post move in the key and for his perfect shooting from the free throw line – four shots made from four shot attempts.
Like the shot he took to join the team more than four years ago it was a solid one for his foundation to becoming the man he has become.
This was a stellar year that may not be duplicated any time soon by another Hawks basketball team.
They were simply dominant in the Kawartha High School Basketball League finishing 7-1. Cochrane even bought a cake for the luncheon to recognize the achievement.
It was the team’s bond that was the foundation for success built not from just one great season but several years of work that culminated in an unforgettable year.