Jackie Robinson Family YMCA MonarchsDuring the summer of 2001, a group of girls and family members from the
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA advanced to the Amateur Athletic Union 12
& Under National Basketball Championship in New Haven, Connecticut.
Most of the team had never been on an airplane or outside the state of
California.

My then eleven year old daughter Michelle was on the
squad that I coached along with Mark Palmer, the father of Brittany.
Since 1990, I had been taking teams from San Diego to these age division
championships where over one-hundred teams converge from all over the
United States. In the beginning, it was so easy to get consumed with
nothing but basketball. On some days the team could play up to three
games in one day.

Then it became pretty obvious that eleven and
twelve year old girls wanted to do more than play basketball and eat at a
nice restaurant. Trips to Orlando, Cincinnati, Kenner (near New
Orleans), Ogden, Grapevine (near Dallas), Clovis (NM), and Huntington
(WV) would always include an honest effort to find something unique for a
San Diego girl to write home about. So, what do you do in New Haven,
Connecticut? Many of the games were played on the campus of Yale
University so we probably walked every inch of the campus.

World Trade Center - July, 2001Judge
Frank Devaney's (Kaitlin's father) accent left no confusion where he was
raised. Once we learned our playing schedule, our travel party
scheduled trips to the closest train station to catch a ride to New York
City's Grand Central Station. Trip Number One was a ride/walk (long) to
Madison Square Garden to watch the WNBA New York Liberty in action
against the Detroit Shock. Trip Number Two saw a return to GCS, but this
time we all purchased unlimited subway passes and went anywhere you
could go from Central Park to Greenwich Village and down to the harbor
area where we climbed on board to catch a breathtaking view of Manhattan
and the Statue of Liberty. Trip Number Three was to Broadway for the
the award winning production of Blast with tickets compliments of the La
Jolla Playhouse.

I am sure if you asked the girls today, nobody
could remember anything about the games we played even though we won
more than we lost. But for everyone involved those trips to NYC will be
hard to forget.

Two months later as we all watched the attack on
the World Trade Center in disbelief, fourteen girls from San Diego and
another twenty in our travel party knew exactly where this was because
one day in July of 2001 we walked in the shadows of the Twin Towers on
our way to the harbor tour. Somewhere I have a videotape zooming in on
the window washers and the incredulous comments from the girls talking
about how cool the huge WTC sky scrapers looked.

The North Tower
(1) was completed in December 1970 and the South Tower
(2) was finished in July 1971. It's beyond imagination how many saw the
same view we witnessed that day over those thirty years making it so
easy to understand the affect of 9/11/2001 worldwide to those that lost a
glimpse.

But it's a drop in the ocean compared to those that
lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 and beyond when our whole world
changed. We are all survivors of this violent loss which makes losing a game so trivial compared to the lives lost on this day in 2001.

Here's a brief update on the
Jackie Robinson Family
YMCA Monarchs
1991 AAU 12 & Under National Championship Tournament
Team:


  • Emily Allen: Graduated from Carlsbad HS (2006).
  • Michelle Brunker - University of LouisianaKelsey
    Ash
    : Graduated from Santana HS (2006) and New York's Lehman College
    (2010) where she played basketball and softball. She earned a Masters in Social Work from UNLV (2012)
  • Ashley Baker:
    Graduated from Santana HS (2006) and Cuyamaca College (2010).
  • Shae
    Bass
    : Graduated from Santana HS (2006) and was at Montana State -
    Billings (basketball & softball) after
    transferring from Michigan State.
  • Michelle
    Brunker
    : Graduated from The Bishop's School (2008) and graduated from the
    University of Louisiana in December (2012) where she played basketball.
  • Brittany DanielBrittany
    Daniel
    : Graduated from Eastlake HS (2006) and graduated from San Diego Christian College (2013) where she is played basketball after transferring from Southwestern
    College.
  • Kaitlin
    Devaney
    : Graduated from Scripps Ranch HS (2006) and the University
    of Chicago (2010) where she played basketball. She is currently at John Marshall Law School in Chicago.
  • Kayla
    Huddleston
    : Relocated to Seattle after attending Mount Miguel HS
    and graduated from Lindbergh HS (2007). Graduated from the University of
    Washington (2011).
  • LaShawn
    Johnson
    : Graduated from Mount Miguel HS (2007) and CSU Monterey Bay (2011) where she played basketball.
  • LaShawn Johnson - CSU Monterey BayMichelle
    Krall
    : Graduated from Poway High School (2006) and Whitman College
    (2010) where she played basketball.
  • Brittany
    Palmer
    : Graduated from Eastlake HS (2007) and UC Riverside
    (2012) after
    transferring from New Mexico State where she played basketball.
  • Tavasha
    Yarbrough
    : Graduated from Mount Miguel HS (2006) and Arizona State
    University (2010).
  • Myleshia
    Smith
    : Relocated to Los Angeles and graduated from King High School
    (2007) and Arizona State (2010).
  • Jerica
    Williams
    : Graduated from Mount Miguel HS (2006) and attended UCLA
    prior to transferring to San Diego State (2012) where she played
    basketball and graduated.

NOTE: From December 23, 2011 to January 1, 2012 our family spent the Christmas holiday in New York City. Check out A New York City Holiday for photos, including many from our World Trade Center Design Team tour where the intent to never forget is everywhere.