You may be all wondering what this is all about? Allow me to introduce myself and what this project is all about.
My name is Brent Hanson. I’m an assistant basketball coach for the Perham (MN) Yellowjacket basketball team. Other hats I wear include husband, father, and assistant cross country coach. I’ve had the honor of helping to coach most of the boys that made up the 2010-11 Perham basketball team since they were 5th or 6th graders.
Long before my coaching days, though, I was once a basketball junkie who attended school in Perham. My early memories of Perham basketball include a LOT of losses. When I was in either 6th or 7th grade, they won the first game of the season. And then lost the rest. This kind of season of season wasn’t the aberration but more the standard.
The summer before my 8th grade year, Dave Cresap moved to town and brought with him a whole new attitude towards winning. It only took him two seasons to have a winning season. By the time I was a senior, we were pretty dang good (17-6 with four losses to teams that were ranked in the state at one time or another during the season). Unfortunately, we got upset by a good West Central team first round of the playoffs and the streak of never winning a playoff game (since 1954) continued.
Over the next few years, the success continued to grow. They eventually won their first playoff game in 2002. In 2003 and 2004, they made the sub-section championship game, but were knocked out both times.
Coming into the 2010-11 season, hopes were high for the Jackets. Returning 7 of the top 8 players from a 20-win season, the Jackets came into the season ranked for the first time in school history. Players, coaches, and fans had a hunch for many years that this group of talented players might be able to do something special. We also knew it wouldn’t be easy, though, as section 8AA was traditionally one of the toughest in the state.
The season started off as good as anyone could have expected starting the season 11-0.
For anyone that was in attendance, January 20th, 2011 is a night that that most forget. Perham was playing D-G-F in just a typical Thursday night basketball game. About four minutes into the game, two-year starter Zach Gabbard collapsed right in front of the Perham bench suffering a cardiac arrest. He nearly died on the court right in front of my eyes. I truly believe the fact that he is here today is truly a miracle.
Part of the reason that I wanted to make this story is Zach’s story is eerily similar to my own story. When I was 19 years old, I was playing pickup basketball with my friends on an otherwise normal Saturday when I had my own cardiac arrest. Due to some quick thinking and sheer luck, I was revived by a defibrillator on the first shock. I had an ICD implanted and, other than one incident in 2005 – ironically coaching many of the kids now on our varsity team, I’ve been doing great.
Zach, his friends, his teammates, the whole Perham community, and especially his family certainly went through some down moments. The fact that he’s home today after going through the lowest of lows is not only the feel good story of the year, but for many, it’s the feel good story of a lifetime.
But the story didn’t end with Zach’s incredible progress in the hospital on his road home. His teammates, left to face the task of dealing with the emotions of nearly losing a friend, also had to deal with the tremendous void left on the basketball court after losing their top scorer. The boys showed an incredible amount of courage (seriously… you can use just about ever adjective imaginable in place of incredible) not only winning a conference championship but also going down to state for the first time and remarkably winning it all.
“For Three” is a chance for the players to tell the incredible story in their own words. So what’s the final product going to look like? You can take a look at the trailer and see a preview of what it will look like. While I don’t know how long it’s going to be, I’ve got a tentative goal of having a finished product by early Summer of 2011. I am aiming to interview all of the players and coaches and combine them with highlights from every game of the 2010-11 season.
I actually created a highlight-only video from 2009-10 that I gave to the players, many of which told me they still watch it all the time. I’m hoping this will be one that not only Perham players, but anyone interested in basketball would at least somewhat enjoy.
I’m already about 70 hours into work on this project interviewing players, chopping up video, and much, much more. I want to make this look and feel as professional as possible. I’m excited to share more with you this project progresses.
BrentThis entry was posted in Blog by brent and comments are closed.