Posts Tagged ‘Julia Felici’

(John Fisken photo)

   Freshmen, embrace the chance to have moments like this in your future. (John Fisken photo)

There is no good reason not to play basketball.


Well, maybe two broken legs. But, other than that, nope, none.

As rumors sweep the land of a mass pre-season exodus from the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball program, primarily by a talented, confident and cohesive freshman class, I wish, for a moment, that those players who are deciding to prematurely end their careers could hop in a time machine.

Go forward ten, twenty years and you will discover what every former high school athlete knows in their later years.

What will haunt you in your later days is the opportunities you passed on, the chances you didn’t take, the memories you didn’t build.

When you speak to those who spent their school days at CHS — whether they won multiple Athlete of the Year awards and went on to play college ball or appeared in a handful of games — they almost always echo the thoughts of Wolf legend Marlene Grasser.

“I don’t remember awards, but do remember the fantastic experiences with my teammates,” Grasser said. “My best memories are all involving team sports. I looked forward to practices every day and the games were a blast.

“I loved my teammates and our mutual competitiveness and cohesiveness,” she added. “It is probably what I miss the most and was the hardest to let go of when I graduated.”

You have a unique opportunity in this town, at this time.

Coupeville sports teams aren’t cutting anyone, and we have a group of coaches (in all sports) who have shown a remarkable touch in making sure every athlete, from top to bottom talent-wise, has a chance to shine.

Makana Stone has shattered school records and is justly applauded, but the biggest roar I have heard at any Wolf sporting event in the past two-plus years was when Julia Felici scored the only basket of her high school basketball career.

A pass-first, second and pretty much always player who was usually looking to set up her teammates, Felici was the last girl on the Coupeville JV girls’ hoops squad to have not collected a basket.

Gently prodded by Wolf coach Amy King, Felici finally put up a shot late in the season.

Actually, she suddenly morphed into Kobe Bryant for one remarkable play, driving, stopping and popping, surprising herself more than anyone.

As the ball swished through the net, the student section went nuts. The parents lost it. King came unglued and the smile on Felici’s face is still there, two years later.

It is a scene played out across the board in numerous sports at CHS.

And, with the rise of Coupeville Sports, you have something else you won’t find at Archbishop Thomas Murphy or King’s, much less at Chimacum.

Regardless of where you land on the talent scale, your exploits will be covered, your memories captured on film and in print.

When I played tennis at Tumwater, a 3A school in the day, I once played first varsity singles in a match against North Mason. Not a single letter of my name appeared in the newspaper.

Now, here, even if you’re camping on the bench, you’re getting a feature story, several mentions in game stories and, very likely, frequent appearances in behind-the-scenes photos.

All you have to do is play.

When I watched the Central Whidbey Little League softball sluggers pound on opposing teams this summer, ten-running all comers, it was like stepping back to the glory days of the late ’90s and early 2000’s.

As they took the field, the Venom players, most of whom are now CHS freshmen, did so with a team-wide confidence that no group of Wolf players had displayed since the days when players like Ashley Bagby-Ellsworth, Tina Lyness and the Black ‘n Blue sisters put those state tournament banners up on the gym wall.

These are exciting times for Wolf fans, and it would be a shame if many of the young women who have such a bright future as athletes, students and Cow Town residents, sit out the winter.

But, as fans and writers, we will survive.

We’ll cheer for the girls who play and write about their exploits, both on the court and in the side moments where camaraderie and memories are forged.

The practices where a skill suddenly blossoms. The pregame shenanigans. The time spent with each other in locker rooms, on buses, grabbing food after a game and terrorizing the Washington State ferry employees.

If you choose not to play, no one can force you to.

And, while a poor turnout would hurt the entire program, especially if it reaches the point where there aren’t enough players to field a JV, the ultimate decision sits in the hands of each young woman.

Young women who I hope look into the future and see what they will be missing if they pass on this opportunity.

Regret often lingers for a long time.

The memories you would make playing ball? Those would stay with you for a lifetime.

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Julia Felici

Julia Felici

Athlete. Role model. Loving aunt. In-freakin-credible cookie baker.

Julia Felici is all this and so much more.

The Coupeville High School grad, who celebrates her birthday today, did a lot of things during her time as a Wolf and did them all well.

Cheer, track, basketball, softball, Homecoming royalty and then it’s on to her work with The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

She doted on nephew Drake, had the good sense to be close friends with the impeccable Mekare (Greatest Living Person?) Bowen and was one of the biggest fans of her fellow classmates, showing up at practically every athletic event she wasn’t already playing or cheering at.

Two moments will stand out for me when it comes to Miss Felici.

On the basketball court as a junior, she was a scrappy ballhawk. Only one thing was missing — she rarely shot the ball, always looking to set up her teammates.

Late in the season, Wolf JV coach Amy King was trying to make sure every girl on her roster had reached the scoring column, and she tried to feed the ball to Felici.

The first couple of times failed, as Felici dished the ball to an open teammate, playing smart, unselfish basketball.

And then, out of nowhere, came the moment.

Felici caught the ball, started to pass and instead spun, and, channeling Kobe Bryant for a moment, pump-faked her defender out of her shoes and drained a sweet fall-away jumper from the top of the key.

King’s jaw hit the ground, the people in the stands went bonkers and Felici, shy smile flickering across her face, merely turned and charged back down court to pick up her man on defense.

The second moment, however, might have been the sweetest.

That came when Julia baked me a batch of mind-melting chocolate chip cookies to “bribe” me into running a story about a middle school dance she was putting on as part of her regular community service.

I still dream about those cookies. Epic, technicolor dreams of cookies running and jumping in the clouds and then splashing down into my mouth.

Well, yes… Moving on.

Now, as she heads off to college and further adventures in being awesome, let’s take a moment to wish Julia the best.

And, if she ever finds herself with too many cookies just sittin’ around the house, possibly going to waste, um, you know where I live and may I remind you, I have a VERY big mailbox.

Just sayin’.

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Julia Felici, event organizer (and cookie briber).

These guys, led by mop-topped ladies' man Luke Merriman, could all go tot he dance. Just sayin'. (John Fisken photo)

These guys, led by mop-topped ladies’ man Luke Merriman (bottom row, third from left), could all go to the dance. Just sayin’. (John Fisken photo)

The next time I say no to an offer of free cookies will be the first time.

Nothing makes me quite as excited to write about an upcoming dance for Coupeville Middle School students as an offer to be paid off in cookies by the event’s organizer.

I am easy, and Ms. Julia Felici knows it, apparently.

So, to fulfill my contract, here’s the info you need and want to know if you are a seventh or eighth grader at CMS or the parent of one who wants them out of the house for a few hours, doing something productive.

When: Saturday, March 29.

Where: Coupeville Nordic Lodge (63 Jacobs Road)

Time: 7-9 PM

Cost: $3.00 (very reasonable)

Open to: CMS students

Put on by: Julia Felici, CHS senior and all-around upstanding citizen (I vouch for her), as part of her community service work with The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

Fun facts about Ms. Felici — she got the biggest ovation of the 2012-2013 basketball season when, late in the year, she suddenly broke out moves no one knew she had and hit a dazzling jumper, and her dad, Rick, is a highly-respected Island County cop.

Plus, her mom, Monica, is one of my go-to ladies when it comes to getting free hamburgers from the concession stand ladies at CHS sports events.

So, this is no fly-by-night event organizer. This is a young woman with roots in the community, CMS parents.

Song requests: Can be made by leaving comments at the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/435022503298515/

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