My name is Mark Mochel and I was an official on Saturday, Jan. 27, at Riverside Christian High School for the game with Sunnyside Christian. Not only am I a basketball official, but an educator and coach as well.

In today’s society, we see that kids are consumed with immediate feedback and doing what is best for themselves. Often times this results in kids showing emotion in a negative manner when on the stage of athletics.

During Saturday night boy’s basketball game, there was great intensity shown by players, coaches and the communities alike. Often times, when there is that level of intensity, emotions boil over the edge and order needs to be restored. Throughout the game there were numerous opportunities for one team or another to take offense. This was never the case. Each team helping each other up off of the floor after a foul, a pat on the backside and friendly chatting happened frequently.

As the game was wrapping up, Riverside Christian substituted out a young man who gave every ounce of energy he had.

Although his team ended up losing the game, it was clear that he was not the only one in appreciation of his efforts. As the young man left the court for the bench he was congratulated for his efforts by his teammates, his home crowd and Coach Dean Wagenaar and the Sunnyside Christian faithful alike.

As the game came to an end, Riverside Christian Coach Bruce Siebol pulled off his pursuit in a longshot comeback win. Sunnyside Christian brought the ball across mid-court for the final time of the evening with 17 seconds to go in the ball game. At this time, the Sunnyside Christian point guard offered his hand in congratulations to the young man who was guarding him. Each and every player on the court then shook hands and hugged before the final buzzer sounded.

As an educator this is ultimate in kids showing that they “Get it”.

Please offer my applause to each of your coaches, players and community members. Being an Eisenhower alum, I may have had the thought of the Ike-Davis game being played that night in the back of my mind, but after spending the evening with those two teams and communities, I know I was exactly where I should have been.

/s/ Mark Mochel, Toppenish


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