Dos Pueblos High School Basketball Memories

Random DP basketball memories by Mark Looker, manager, Dos Pueblos High School Chargers CIF AAA champions 1971:

  • Scott Roberts leading the team in scoring against Katella on the High School game of the week televised on KNBC. Ross Porter and Tommie Hawkins were the announcers. We were all in awe of the size of those guys in person. They looked like linebackers!
  • Scott Roberts being mobbed at school during lunch break by all of his new-found “friends” after his TV performance. We all got a good laugh at how everyone “discovered” Scott and his basketball talent.
  • The vastness of the LA Sports Arena. The rims just seemed to hang out there in outer space and it was hard to get any type of perspective. DP’s first half shooting was less than sensational. I need to check the old stories but my memory is that Coldren led the way in scoring.
  • The game at a tourney in Southern California when I thought coach Volpi asked me to find a “jock.” I scurried all over the locker room trying to find a jockstrap. I was so proud when I finally tracked down the other team’s equipment manager and triumphantly handed the jock to coach Volpi. He looked at me with his face all scrunched up like I was from outer space and said, “What’s this?”  I answered, “Why it’s the jock you wanted.” He stared at me: “Looker, I wanted chalk for the chalk board!!”   And I’m not making that one up!
  • Carrying the damn ball bag all over the Sports Arena after the championship game was over and we got to go sit up in the stands and watch the 4A game. That thing was a pain to carry. As my Dad commented, “We drove 90 miles and paid $25 to watch my son carry a ball bag!” Yeah but it was fun!
  • In the locker room, Barclay Hope leaning over to pull off his shoes and Volpi pressing a cold Coke can against his back. Barclay jumped a mile in the air and turned around to take care of whoever did that and then saw it was coach. Volpi just had that silly grin on his face.
  • The game at a tourney in LA where I had to keep the book for some reason (which I didn’t normally do but Yarbrough was in the hospital after getting his appendix out) and I mistakenly had Dan Melendez with 4 fouls instead of 3 and the opposing coach yanked a player off the bench and practically threw the kid into the game shouting, “Foul him out!”  Volpi was pissed at me- at halftime he came up to me in the hallway and grabbed me by my tie, pulled me to within an inch of his face and screamed, “Don’t you ever do that again!!” I recall that I could hardly breath. I said I was sorry. My mistake was corrected by the official scorer who correctly had just 3 fouls marked down—I was just the visiting book—but it didn’t matter to Volpi.
  • Coldren getting pissed at some little player for Cabrillo who was just giving him a rash trying to unnerve him—we call it “trash talking” these days. I remember he called him “Bruccceeee.” Well, Bruce just snapped going down court, swung his arm way back and hurled the ball at the kid’s back. Nailed him pretty good! He got a T and he might have got kicked out, which obviously was the kid’s goal.
  • Volpi sitting down next to Stein at practice one day and putting his fingers on Stein’s sideburns (such as they were) and saying, “What do you think you’re trying to get away with?” as if he were Charles Manson himself. What would he say today (If he were alive) about all those hideous tattoos!?! That incident so incensed me that I wrote an essay about it for my English class saying something to the effect that Volpi was a fascist and how repressive team sports was. Boy, little did I know how things would change in 30 years!
  • Marc Melendez with his penchant for saying: “Jokey-jokey.”  As I recall, putting “e” on the end of words was all the rage! Making up words was a favorite pastime. I recall Mikey Elliott being the master of spinning new words and twisting familiar words—“imitation” for intimidation was one of his best!
  • Referee Keith Pilger making some just brutal calls in a home game and I couldn’t control myself and yelled at him: “You are brutal!”  As we walked back to the locker room at halftime, Pilger walked over to Volpi, pointed his finger at me and said, “You better keep your manager quiet.” I was terrified for my life and sat in the stands the second half!
  • Being forced to referee with Yarbrough an inner-squad game in which Coldren and Roberts were fly swatting balls left and right (and goal tending) and being terrified to make a call as all the players screamed at us. That was truly “imitation” of the highest degree.
  • Greg Hanson telling me following the final game of our senior year: “I really want to thank you for all you’ve done for the team.” I was very embarrassed and said I really hadn’t done anything and he persisted. “No, you were always there and I appreciate it.”  It was a tough year to follow after the championship year because expectations were so high but guys like Greg bore the pressure with a lot of style and grace.
  • The competition between Stein and Steve Weist of San Marcos. We media guys really hyped up that angle. When they were seniors it was supposed to be the Big Shootout at City College, if I recall correctly. We put out a special joint DP-San Marcos edition of the “Charger Account” for the game featuring profiles on both players. I need to go to the papers to research the outcome but I think Stein might have won that scoring battle. But Weist was a gunner, big time! Not afraid to put it up. Steve Weist … there was a classic game the next season, which Coldren  won near the buzzer and then San Marcos couldn’t get a shot off … Royals led late in the game but then an offensive foul, a turnover and several other maladies hit them and Chargers rallied to win. Yarbrough  still has it on audio tape somewhere with John Nadel calling the play-by-play.
  • The sadness I felt when I learned of the deaths of Danny Melendez and Coach Volpi. Much too young for either one.
  • Finally, my most lasting memory over the years of DP basketball was how much fun it all was. It was a unique team and was the essence of what basketball should be: Every player had a role and everyone fit in collectively to produce the end result. It’s always been my model of what team sports can be but I have never come by such a model since in all those 30 years.  Of course, as I now coach my 9 year old son and 8 year old daughter in soccer and baseball, I realize even more how rare the DP experience was. I don’t want to sound like Phil Jackson and start talking about the “Zen” approach to basketball but I think there was a certain harmonic convergence that came over DP in 1971.

Leave a comment

Copyright 2019 Looker Comm