As the reporter approached the Woodinville tennis courts, he was greeted with the site of the Falcons practicing. Two questions occurred. One, where were the Redmond Mustangs? And two, was this the end of the friggin’ world?
The scene was surreal. A reddish sun fought to burn through the apocalyptic haze of a late afternoon. The air quality was abysmal due to multiple forest fires raging elsewhere in the state.
“Geez, isn’t this something?” said Woodinville coach Jay McGinness. “We had to cut practice short yesterday because it was hard to breathe. It’s not good. It’s not healthy.”
But what was supposed to be a non-conference match last Wednesday turned into a practice. Redmond had been slated to travel to Woodinville. But their inability to secure a bus driver caused them to postpone.
So your faithful scribe took the opportunity to talk to coach McGinness and get a pulse for the top players.
“Eric Yang is the captain of the team, and he’s very much a leader,” McGinness said. “A silent leader, leads by example. He’s become more outwardly vocal with the team. A strong player, very determined.
“Our other top player is Tak Kubota,” he said. “Tak is Mr. Energetic. That guy can chase a ball down, he can do acrobatic shots. He’s just a hustler, that’s all there is to it. And a very good guy to have on the team. Tak is very personable and very much out there. Watching him play makes you want to get out there and play too.
“Both of them are very hard workers,” McGinness added. “And both are fine examples of how we want the players to be when they come out here.”
And what was the coach’s outlook for his young team?
“I wouldn’t say we’re a powerhouse,” McGinness said. “But we’re solid and beginning to really work together.”
The reporter then spoke for a few minutes with Yang. They first talked two years ago when Yang was a sophomore. Now a senior, Yang talked about the responsibilities that come from being a captain.
“I’m pretty sure that from seeing how I work and play, people look up to me,” he said. “The stuff I do and say might have a bit more resonance than others on the team might have.”
It was pointed out to Yang that his effort to grow a moustache had not gone unnoticed. Maybe not to the level of a Tom Selleck – but it was coming in nicely.
“I just got lazy,” Yang said with a laugh. “Are you going to call me out on that? Dang.”