Posts Tagged ‘Jae LeVine’

Jae LeVine, owner of the biggest heart of any athlete I have ever written about. (First three photos by JohnsPhotos.net, final one courtesy Sean LeVine)

Jae LeVine is my hero.

Athletes come, and athletes go, and they tell you not to play favorites, and yet, without a doubt, I do.

We can construct our Mount Rushmore for Wolf athletes, and argue endlessly about who will get the other three spots, but the first face we’re going to see is that of JaeLynn.

Miss LeVine is everything wonderful and amazing in this world, and when I get tired of people, I think of “Flash” and things seem a little better.

Joltin’ Jae has fought for her life since the day she was born, just a hair over 21 years ago, and has remained one of the happiest, kindest people I know, despite, or maybe because of, the challenges thrown at her by her own body.

“How you doin’?”

Born with a congenital heart defect, JaeBird has her second (and hopefully final) open-heart surgery today.

My hope for her is that she recovers quickly and with as little physical and emotional pain as possible.

That Jae can return to her family – parents Sean and Joline, sisters Micky and Izzy, and girlfriend Heidi – and be covered in love.

That everything she wants in life comes her way, and that she is rewarded every day.

As she went through middle school, then high school, here in Coupeville, doctors took sport after sport away from her.

Concerns over her heart removed Jae from the basketball hardwood and volleyball court, but she got to stay on the softball diamond and she sparkled until her final mic drop.

On the wall in front of my computer, the place where I write this blog, there are various letters, pictures, and memorabilia from eight years of Coupeville Sports.

Jae is represented by a softball team photo, by her graduation announcement, by her Senior Night writeup, and by her autograph on a box score from the first time CHS softball beat Klahowya.

“With this bat, I will rock you.”

That’s the game where The Mighty Mite opened a can of whup-ass, smashing a single, double, and triple off the best pitcher in the region, with the two-bagger providing the game-winning RBI in a 7-6 victory.

I will always remember Jae’s Senior Night speech, probably the most emotional moment for me personally while doing this job, but that Klahowya game also looms large.

The image of “Flash” bouncing on the bag at second after her big hit, using her fingers to fire imaginary lasers at her teammates going bonkers in the dugout, is nothing but pure joy.

Just like Jae herself.

So, as she goes into surgery today, I need everyone to do two things for her.

One, if you pray, please pray for Jae.

If you don’t pray, think good thoughts.

Whatever you’re comfortable with.

And two, when “Flash” gets out of surgery, she will be by herself in the hospital at first, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Her mom expects Jae will be in the hospital for a week, then home with the family for 2-3 weeks.

“I am asking for family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to cheer her on and give her encouragement and love through the mail,” Joline said. “Jae is a people person and I know that being alone during the recovery time while in the hospital is what scares her most.

“If we can reduce her anxiety by flooding her with love during this time, I know she will be forever grateful.

“I plan to make a care basket for her while in the hospital and I know she would love to have letters to read to pass the time. She also LOVES scratch tickets!”


Mail letters to Jae at 1555 SW Downfield Way, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277.

“Let’s get this party started!”

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Wolf mom Fawn Gustafson unleashes the bubbly as CHS baseball celebrates a league title. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Celebrations galore.

As we use the pandemic shutdown to continue our look back through the 23 million photos to run on Coupeville Sports, we arrive in the year 2016.

A mix of action, reaction, and, yes, celebrations galore, these are the 20 pics which I think best capture the year that was.

Sage Renninger eyeballs McKenzie Bailey.

Joey Lippo holds on to the ball with a death-grip during a collision at the plate.

Coupeville’s William Nelson (on right) gets his head into the game.

Stack ’em to the sky.

Booster Club shenanigans.

Yoinks! Emma Smith gets diabolical with her tip.

Brenden Gilbert is ready to settle down.

Megan DePorter (right) gives Kalia Littlejohn a victory hug.

Allison Wenzel, coiled like a panther ready to strike.

Abby Parker has taught her young protégé well. (Kathy O’Brien photo)

Clay Reilly stretches for the first down. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sarah Wright is 5’9, or 6’4 with the hair.

Hope Lodell (left) and Payton Aparicio wait for the bass to drop.

Jae LeVine, scamp.

McKenzie Bailey responds to coach Ken Stange’s suggestion the team run wind sprints.

Hunter Downes (left) and Ariah Bepler frolic through the spring flowers.

Makana Stone gets tangled up.

Celebrate good times, come on!

Hunter Smith believes he can fly.

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Coupeville cheerleaders Emily Clay (left) and Katie Kiel share some love after a 2012 cheer camp. (Pam Headridge photo)

In the beginning, Coupeville Sports had no photos.

I’m a writer, not a photographer, and when I started the blog in mid-August of 2012, several of the early stories ran without a single pic.

I also didn’t put people’s names in bold type yet, and there were a LOT of exclamation points … so, total freakin’ anarchy.

Things changed for the better after I latched on to Shelli Trumbull, the first photographer willing to toss me glossy pics with no money coming back.

In other words, she was a saint.

As we wander through a pandemic-ravaged land in 2020, let’s hop in the time machine and go back to 2012, where it all began.

Jerry Helm is the king of the (hoops) world. (Sherry Roberts photo)

Madison Tisa McPhee shares soccer Senior Night with dad Jack. (Robert Pelant photo)

An orange a day fueled the stars of the future. (Wendy McCormick photo)

Sebastian Davis, man of mystery and intrigue. (Photo courtesy Davis)

Homecoming fever sweeps the town. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Landon Roberts supports his team. (Sherry Roberts photo)

Cheerleaders Julia Felici (left) and Mekare Bowen hang out with their biggest lil’ fan. (Rosa Felici photo)

Nick Streubel and much-cleaner sister Amanda marinate in the Port Townsend mud. (Nanette Streubel photo)

Wiley Hesselgrave brings the gun show to town, while Dalton Martin plays it cool and calm. (Melissa Losey photo)

Kole Kellison knows a good breakfast is the key to a great day. (Robert Pelant photo)

The LeVine family grab a group pic after a mud race. From left to right, Sean, a suspiciously clean Izzy, Joline, Jae, and Micky. (Photo courtesy Joline LeVine)

“What’s that? A bear going after pic-a-nic baskets in my park?!? No sir!!!” (Photo courtesy Jodi Crimmins)

Volleyball legends, the early days. (Amy King photo)

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You take 7.5 years and 7,641 articles and you distill it into one moment and it is this — the day Joltin’ Jae LeVine shocked the softball world and dethroned Klahowya. The biggest heart of any athlete I have written about. Flash4Ever.

When I was younger, we used to go visit my grandmother in Tillamook, a town on the Oregon coast where the cows outnumber the humans.

Or at least that was the PR spin offered by the local cheese factory.

It’s a cheese factory which makes a lot of cheddar, both of the edible variety and of the financial kind, so it’s working.

Tillamook has multiple beaches, and me, my sister, and our cousins, who lived there, frequented them all.

From the sand dunes which stretched out into eternity, to the far more wind-swept ones where you could imagine Poseidon rising up in front of you and sending the crews of wayward ships screaming to their death.

It was on one of those beaches, where, after I “accidentally fell” into the water after being told not to, for the 10,000th time, I first saw a row of small, nondescript rental huts.

They captivated me then, and continued to do so through countless visits.

I imagined leaving the world behind and going to live in one of those shacks, my only companions the howling winds and the flotsam and jetsam washed up on the beach, my unkempt, Poseidon-like beard scaring off the tourists.

Seeing how I was not quite a teen at the time, and all the hair on my head was still perched up top, with none having migrated down to my chin area, that last part was a bit of a stretch.

But, the idea of leaving the world behind burned then, and never really faded through the years.

Which is a long way to get around to this — even as you read this, I’m gone.

Not to Tillamook, but out to the woods on my sister’s 5.5 acre farm in Freeland.

I’ll still live in Coupeville, in my own version of a waterfront shack (though if Poseidon rears his head in the fairly tranquil waters of Penn Cove, it’s gonna freak out the mussels), but my days will largely be lived with the squirrels and the blackberry canes.

Those damn, dirty canes…

Yes, for the third time in a run which has encompassed 7.5 years, 7,641 stories, and 810,433 deleted spam comments (and that last number is real…), I’m stepping away from writing Coupeville Sports.

The first time I stepped back, I went for a couple days. The second time, a couple weeks.

This time, it’s going to be for a lot longer.

If I come back, and that’s an if, it will be six months or so from now, in the early fall, as a new school year starts and Coupeville High School moves into the Northwest 2B/1B League.

But that’s an if.

We’ll see how I feel, health-wise and head-wise, at that point.

Right now, I want to fix my health and turn the noise off.

I don’t have any Chinese viruses (that I know about), but I have been tearing down a path to full-blown adult onset diabetes, and I need to reverse that, now.

My mom didn’t, and the disease ate her alive, cost her the use of her legs, and ended her life prematurely.

So, armed with a pair of loppers and a Katana (chain saws are for cheaters), I will continue my previous work of opening up severely-overgrown woods, carving trails, and using an “outdoor gym” to work on losing weight.

There are a lot of factors involved in trying to arrest diabetes before it takes full control of my life, but this move hits at many of them – weight loss, better eating habits, less stress, better sleep, etc.

Plus, I need the quiet right now.

All social media does is make me mad, all the time, and if I’m not wrapped up in the 24/7/365 world of Coupeville Sports which I created for myself, I don’t need social media.

Which is why I vanished off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Messenger moments before I hit publish on this article.

It’s time to rewire my brain and rework my health.

All while staying faithful to the tradition of Thoreau, and going into the woods, but not far enough away I can’t still get laundry service and a sandwich.

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   Fanny Deprelle: “Come with me, if you want to live (through the rest of our grad party)!!” (John Fisken photos)

Mckenzie Meyer puts the CHS band through its paces at graduation.

Jae LeVine, up to shenanigans as usual.

   Kailey Kellner (in bow tie) keeps a watchful eye on the paparazzi while her classmates enjoy a joke from the podium.

Gabe Wynn gets a ride from (l to r) Taylor Heidt, Cole Payne and Josh Bayne.

  Jimmy Myers hangs out with big sisters Julia Myers (left) and Taylor Herreman.

Grads (l to r) Kiara Burdge, Kaela Hollrigel and Kellner, still going strong.

   Aiden Crimmins tempts Charlotte Langille with a “tasty” treat during a round of “Fear Factor.”

Garrett Machen dreams of his bed.

Together, one last time.

One final run as a pack.

The Coupeville High School Class of 2017, all 71 of them, went out in style Friday night.

After graduating (capping a K-12 run in Cow Town for 19 of them), half the class stayed together for a grad night party in Seattle.

Ever-industrious paparazzi John Fisken was there for it all, and the photos above are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot at graduation and the grad night party (photos can be downloaded for free), pop over to:


To see graduation podium shots (purchases support scholarships for CHS student/athletes), pop over to:


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