Calling the Shots: So many stories to tell

May 27, 2010|Steve Virgen

With 30 high school athletes being honored, there were plenty of stories to tell Wednesday morning at the Radisson Hotel in Newport Beach.

The athletic directors from Corona del Mar and Newport Harbor high schools read the achievements that each accomplished. But the audience can become antsy with it being in the middle of the week and all the errands to run before Memorial Day weekend. So Don Grable of CdM and Mike Zimmerman of Newport Harbor did their best to read quickly.

They announced high grade-point averages, All-CIF awards and championship accolades about these special athletes, as part of the event hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and the Commodores Club. There just wasn't enough time for each story.


Not enough time to tell everyone about the great character Cecil Whiteside has shown. The Newport Harbor senior, one of the top football players in Orange County, dealt with the tragedy of living without a father. When he was 5, his father, Martin Hammonds, was murdered. He was later taken in by Craig Brown, and even later the Newport Beach community embraced Whiteside.

The story doesn't end when he throws his graduation cap in the air next month. It continues at UC Berkeley, where he'll play football.

There were more stories to tell, most not as dramatic as Whiteside's, but intriguing nonetheless. There's one that's simple and cute, yet impressive.

When Elizabeth Eddy was 11, she played tackle football with the boys. She wasn't a backup or some sort of novelty act. She was the star running back. The majority of people who saw her play sensed something very special in her future.

Now the Newport Harbor senior is headed to USC on a full-ride scholarship to play soccer. She's one of the top players in the nation and a member of the U.S. women's under-20 team.

Yes, everyone has a story to tell. And, maybe you've heard those before. But ever heard of John Vallely and what he's been through?

He wasn't the student, but the teacher before the athletes who were honored.

Vallely, a former CdM and OCC basketball star who went on to win two national titles at UCLA, spoke to the athletes and the rest of the audience. He's good at speaking, as he's been used as a motivational voice for company workers. His wife, Karen, says he really enjoys speaking to youth.

The 61-year-old, who lives in Newport Beach, talked about John Wooden's Pyramid of Success and how it was applied and needed in his life.

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