My 2020 began with a strange dream.
I was at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association volleyball state tournament, watching St. Joseph’s Academy, the team once coached by my dear friend, Brenda LeBlanc. Brenda was coaching the Redstickers in a tournament match against Northshore, a familiar foe for SJA in the state tournament through the years.
Michele Ashmore (now LeBoeuf) was playing for the Redstickers, along with her younger sister, Kimberly. I saw their parents, Mickey and Donna, in the stands, but I don’t remember conversing with any other parents. I was busy trying to take pictures with three devices (iPad, iPhone and my Digital SLR).
I laid down my iPad and took pictures with my camera for awhile. Then I moved to another location inside the Pontchartrain Center, where the LHSAA has held the volleyball state tournament since 1995, except 2005, when the damage to the New Orleans area from Hurricane Katrina forced a relocation to Lafayette.
When I moved to the new location, I laid the camera down in a seat in the back row and used my Apple devices to take pictures. When I returned to the seat, my camera and bag were gone.
I immediately accused someone of stealing it, but security did not believe me. I kept arguing, but the security guards said shut up or we’ll have to eject you. I gave up and watched the rest of the match, which the Redstickers won.
After the match, I caught up with the Ashmore girls. Michele was telling me about receiving offers to play in college. I then told Michele about Ottawa University and that one of the most important people in my life was playing there.
This is officially weird.
Of course, Caitlyn was the dear friend playing at Ottawa. I told Michele I cared deeply about Caitlyn and it would do my heart good for them to be teammates.
Here’s the deal: Michele graduated from SJA in May 2005. Caitlyn was just winding up kindergarten in Norton. Your intrepid blogger was still in the Big Easy at that time.
I didn’t own a camera, a tablet or a smartphone in 2005. Talk about time warps.
I wanted to show Michele and Kimberly pictures of Caitlyn on my devices, but I couldn’t pull them up. Then they said they had to go to meet their parents and teammates, because they had to play again that night.
After leaving the Ashmores, I noticed someone had my camera, because I immediately recognized the bright green wrap on the handle. The person who had it wanted to make me pay to get it back. I said BS.
Then I woke up, thinking it was close to 1000. It was 0715.
When Michele played at SJA, the Redstickers won the state championship of Louisiana’s highest division every year. SJA compiled a 165-9 record over those four seasons, including a 43-0 campaign in 2002 when it lost one set in the last season of side-out only scoring. Michele was the Louisiana Player of the Year in 2004 and signed with Auburn. She played only one year at Auburn before giving up volleyball because she wanted to come home to be with her high school sweetheart, whom she later married.
Michele now coaches volleyball at Central High in Baton Rouge. I’m guessing she still plays quite a bit, because Mickey and Donna were still playing regularly in recreation games while Michele and Kimberly were at SJA.
The first day of 2020 while awake didn’t provide me much drama. There won’t be 365 more days like this, but I can DREAM.