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A Letter to LSHAA

To Whom it may concern, My name is Charles Tracey and I have trained Elise Reilly in basketball and many aspects of life since 4 grade. From day one she had one goal, to be the best. Everybody that comes to me pretty much says that but Elise wanted to be the best anywhere. I am pretty straight forward so I told her that was not going to happen. She asked why and I gave her several reasons and I told her lets’ just do our best every day and let God and maturity work its magic. She did and we started our journey in hot steam bath type gyms, cement floors, no windows, freezing in winter, wearing sweats and hats during training. Breathing smoke out our mouths and warming our hands every chance we got. Never uttering a word of discomfort, never wondering about others, just worrying about ourselves and her teammates. We played in league plays and tourneys where we got cheated, we played in games and tourney where we lost over and over, seldom winning. Many questioned my methods and many left our program, Elise stayed the course believing the end justified this crazy process. She and her teammates got better year in and year out but always the same results- losing but the gap is closing. Believe in the process, put in the work and help your teammates at all levels. She did and soon everyone wanted her in 7 grade and 8 grade. She ventured off to test those waters but soon came back after seeing her goals and theirs were not the same. Winning their way sacrificed her development and she saw this and knew their way was short term goals, hers was long, so she came back. Now we just trained and learned about life and basketball. She became that leader, she became a mentor to younger girls who recognized she was different. She earned her way and for the next four years she was the face of a program and directed it as her own. Never, not helping or assisting her teammates because as she was trained with great talent comes even greater responsibility. What I have done for Elise, she will in time do the same and more for others. That is how this world works and that is what she bought into, so long ago. She is a woman now who is a complete basketball player not one who is an athlete first and player second but a leader of many, carrying a banner for those who can and those who can’t. Basketball is what she is very good at, not who she is. Nothing in this life will define her, as she will live her life on her terms, a strong independent woman with option in life as well as on the court. I present to you a female basketball player of tremendous talent that is supported by numbers and wins over years in high school, but what she is can’t be put into words. What she will create, achieve and do will be more than I can explain or you understand. Her value and gift to basketball, school and friends is invaluable and I know Mandeville High Basketball is a much better school because she attended there. A tremendous light is what she is, basketball is what she does better now than anyone. Our journey ends in high schools as the playoff games come to her and her team and she will face them as she has faced everything in life- head on, focused on the process that she believes will get her to a goal she set long before the journey started. That people is what we should all be so lucky to attempt without fear of failure, Elise Reilly does this and brings everyone along for the ride.   Sincerely, Charles Tracey