Chocolate motivated Gators on title run
It may have been an odd sight to some, but for the Walnut Grove Gators, it makes perfect sense.
A look at some of the photos of the Gators players celebrating and posing with the championship trophy and banner on Saturday night shows a heart-shaped box
Walnut Grove was celebrating its 59-53 victory over the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors at the Langley Events Centre in the title game for the B.C. AAA boys basketball championships.
“We had a sports psychologist (Jon Lee Kootnekoff) come and talk to us,” said assistant coach Jared Bergen. “He said the trophy we have to work for every single night is this box of chocolates.
“We carried it with us for every game after he gave it to us because it was our incentive; every game we play has to be championship-style basketball.”
This happened in February in Kelowna at the Western Canadian Tournament.
Up until that point, the Gators had lost in the championship final of two prestigious tournaments, both times to White Rock Christian.
But in Kelowna, the Gators came through, defeating the Kitsilano Blue Demons, another one of the province’s top teams.
“I think that is where our first big win came from, at a crucial tournament,” Bergen said.
For the rest of the season, Bergen — who serves as one of the assistants on his dad George’s staff — carried the chocolates in his bag.
“I would show it to the boys, and say this is our championship trophy,” he said.
“If this is where we play, from the heart, then we can’t be stopped.”
Bergen said the players had been looking forward to ripping the box open to finally taste the chocolates.