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A lot of gratitude, a little attitude

My Sunday was something special. It was a party doubleheader, and the memories will linger for quite awhile. It was a day of old friends and old stories, times two.

To open the day, there was a retirement party for a veteran Portland Interscholastic League coach, one who had coached varsity, junior varsity and freshman sports. One who had coached boys and girls and been selected a league coach of the year.

More than that, though, he'd given an entire career to the PIL, and my hat is off to anyone who can get through more than two decades in that league.

There are special problems in the city in regard to facilities, funding and staffing. There are no dynamic middle-school athletic programs to feed you ready-made stars. On top of that, you often have to spend time recruiting the few promising incoming freshmen in your district to keep them from going to another PIL school.

I think it's the toughest school district in the state in which to coach. To compete at the state level is nearly impossible in most sports, and you have to chase donations like crazy just to field a team. It's a thankless job that burns out a lot of good coaches in just a few years.

That's why I have so much admiration for my brother, Bruce Jaynes, who is retiring this month from Franklin High School, where he has coached girls and boys basketball. Prior to that, he was at Washington-Monroe, where he coached baseball.

He's helped a lot of kids. For years, he's spent his own time and money taking them to play summer league games. He did it all with boundless energy and a wardrobe that looked a lot like that well-worn sofa in your basement.

Good job, Bruce. And speaking of basements, now that you're retired, I think it's time to clean yours out.

My other Sunday party was a little more upscale. A group of former Portland Mavericks gathered at a swank downtown restaurant to honor the memory of the man Ñ Bing Russell Ñ who created their amazing team. The outlaw Class A ballclub has more great stories than could fit inside the dining room, and the four hours allotted to the affair weren't nearly enough.

Rob Nelson, this town's bubble gum mogul (you remember Big League Chew), invited as many former players and people associated with the Mavs as he could find, including Russell's former attorney, Jack Faust. Portland was once so nuts over the team that someone named a rose after them, and that flower still blooms in the Washington Park Rose Garden. Well, at least it did until the day of the party, when, in true Mav spirit, one of the former players snipped off a few for table decoration.

You see, being a Maverick wasn't just a job, it was an attitude.

There's no way to mention every former Maverick player on hand, but the biggest celebrity in the room had to be one of the team's former batboys, Todd Field. He's the guy who last year directed that critically acclaimed movie 'In the Bedroom.'

I'm sure he learned all he needed to know about surviving in Hollywood from hanging around this storied group of roustabouts and ne'er-do-wells. Nelson plans to make this a yearly event, and I hope it happens. Bing's memory deserves to be cherished.