One of the great things about the 2012-2013 Missouri Mavericks team is that the players not only go to work together, they are all good friends.
Being a close knit group doesn’t guarantee a team will be a winner (World Series Champion Oakland A’s in the early 1970s) but it makes everyone’s job a little easier and more enjoyable.
Being a close group allows the Mavericks to joke with one another and give each other a hard time and be there for one another.
Several players and their families recently visited the Kansas City Zoo as a group.
They also show respect for everyone involved with the organization. Following each bus trip they say “good job, Matty” and give a pat on the back to bus driver Matt Lewellen. On Tuesday night, after the announcement game six of their opening round playoff series with Rapid City had been postponed, Matt drove the guys through snow covered streets to a restaurant in Rapid City. There were several oooohhhhs and ahhhhs as the motorcoach was maneuvered like a snake past stranded cars. Maverick players then had the opportunity to show their running and hurdling skills on the trek from the bus to the eating establishment.
Following the meal Andrew Courtney, Kenton Miller, Equipment Manager Andrew Dvorak and others took to the street to push a car out of a stuck position. The driver was grateful. On the drive to the hotel some of the players asked Matt to make the bus do donuts in the snow. There was even discussion as to which players would be in the donut hole if the bus made a left turn while making donuts.
Those who travel with the Mavericks must be at their photogenic best at all times. Noticing I had a hot chocolate with whip cream during an I Hop breakfast someone ordered an extra bowl of whip cream for me. It wasn’t until that afternoon when I received a phone call from my son Michael that I became aware Mavericks forward Riley Emmerson had posted a photo of the whip cream and me on Twitter. Social media should make us alert at all times.
I should know not to record interviews within earshot of the players. During a practice in Rapid City this week I spoke with Andrew Dvorak while seated next to the glass. Andrew Courtney fired missiles at that spot on the glass, some players made faces at the Mavericks equipment manager and Colt King yelled through cracks in the plexiglass.
Earlier in the week, while interviewing King, Justin Sawyer of the Rapid City Rush had a few friendly comments as he walked past.
The players and personnel with the Mavericks and other CHL teams are a pleasure to work with and certainly make life entertaining.