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A note from: Hans Vander Plaats, "Athlete of the Week"

Released: 02/02/06

Campaign Chronicles Update

Hans Vander Plaats

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My dad and I have played basketball together for as long as I can remember. As soon as I could walk, we were shooting baskets at a plastic hoop in the living room. My dad has coached most of my teams over the years and he still gives me technical and mental advice on my game.

Basketball is something that our family has always done together.

My dad has taught me to love the game and to work hard at it. He has taught me that the mental part of the game is as important as the physical, and he’s taught me the joy of winning.

When I was in elementary school and my dad was coaching our team, he gave the typical huddle speech of, “Boys, we’re here to have fun.” Then quickly followed-up with, “and winning is fun!”

Even though he loves to win, my dad has taught me that the “team” is way more important than any individual; that the best teams successfully use the talents of the individuals while working together within a group plan.

I have had the opportunity to play with a great team at Hinton and I could never have achieved my individual goals without them.

There are two other people in my life that have affected my game and I have their names written on my basketball shoes. One is my little brother, Lucas, who is severely disabled and the other is my friend’s brother, Archie, who is paralyzed. Every time I put on my shoes, their names remind me how privileged I am to have the ability to play the game.

One of the most important lessons my dad has taught me is that family comes first. Before making the decision to run for governor again, he promised me that he would not miss any of my senior-year games. I know that it’s not always an easy promise to keep. He has missed opportunities to campaign because of it, but it means a lot to me to see, and hear him in the stands.

I’m grateful for the opportunities my mom and dad have given me and the lessons they’ve taught me. I’m also grateful for the chance to play basketball with a great team for the past four years. Even though my high school basketball career will be over soon, I am looking forward to new opportunities in the future and to achieving new goals.

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals."

- Larry Bird