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Rob Ames takes reins of Delta boys hoops

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Photo by Wayne Crick Hotchkiss senior Sam Rodriguez gets inside the defense of Delta's Joe Bules during a scrimmage session held at Hotchkiss High School recently. The two teams will square off for real on Dec. 5 in Delta with girls varsity action beginn

For Rob Ames, the start to the 2017-18 basketball season may seem a bit strange. Ames, the freshman boys basketball coach for 24 years at Delta High School, finds himself with more leisure time in the mornings than he's used to. His 5:45 practice time each morning for 24 years became just another routine for him over the years. A normal start-time for the beginning of each day may still be a dark-30 start time, but he isn't in the gym mentoring young basketball players to fill the voids left each year on junior varsity and varsity squads. Instead, Ames begins practices either right after school (early practice, 3:45 p.m.) or at 5:45 p.m. and late practice.

One of the things Ames will have to adjust to is finding the time to, as Ames called it, "to mow the planet" (referring to the mowing business his family has had for years).

The upbeat side of Ames' style of coaching is no matter what time he begins a practice, you can bet he will bring an enthusiasm with him that is often contagious among the 20-plus athletes who make up the junior varsity and varsity teams. Practice plans are made to provide fun while learning and essential conditioning takes place.

As for why he applied for the head coaching job when longtime coach Von Mitchell stepped down, "The time seemed right," said Ames. This year's junior varsity and varsity teams hold a special place in his heart, as have many of his freshman teams. "I have coached every one of these guys at one level or another (some on eight-foot hoops), others as freshmen and some in between," quoted Ames. Ames continued with, "And I am lucky to get to hang out with them all."

As a teacher, Ames will see many of his players in sophomore English and AP Literature throughout the school year.

With several weeks under his belt, and a summer full of open gyms and camps, Ames commented on how transitioning from freshman to varsity level competition has affected him. "The part of transition that has struck me the most has been the time to have practice. I loved practing at 5:45 a.m. and it is weird to sleep in!!!"

"A negative part of being a head coach is cutting players ... I hate that part," noted Ames.

"One of the most positive aspects of being the head coach is the people I get to be with," says Ames. "I have a fantastic coaching staff and great players, and we get to run around and play a game. This is a job??"

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