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Blake Smith
[1983]

School: Jackson

Sports Played: Football, Basketball, Baseball

High School Honors: 3-year Football letterman. 1st Team All-PIL as a Junior and Senior. 1st Team All-State as a Senior. PIL Championship teams as Sophomore and Junior. 3-year Basketball letterman. 3-year Baseball letterman. 1st Team All-PIL as a Junior and Senior; 2nd Team as a Sophomore. PIL Championship team as a Junior. Thespian of the Year as a Sophomore, Musician of the Year as a Junior.

Post High School Career: Launched restaurants in 3 metro area locations. Involved in several non-profit organizations including the Children's Cancer Association, Trillium Family Services, Taste of the Nation, and Basic Rights Oregon. On the founding Board for the Old Town/China Town Blocks Organization that helped raise funds for local non-profits. Volunteer Pitching Coach for the Tualatin Senior Division Little League All-Star team. Presently a specialist for a division of the Ecolab Corporation.

Commentary:

I love golf, and other individual sports, but truth be told, what I enjoy most is the feeling that comes from being part of a team. I was part of some great teams growing up, from Little League, Intramurals and Pop Warner, to Raider and Trojan Football, Basketball and Baseball, and Beaver Baseball. For me the team experience is most rewarding. In my adult life, teams have taken on new meaning—sometimes it's a foursome on the links or sitting with com-padres on a ski lift heading for fresh powder. Sometimes its "Team Smith" hanging with my family, or time spent with my Tribe of good friends experiencing life.

A big part of any great team is a great coach. I had many. I truly enjoyed being coached; though as a teenager, I'm sure my coaches had no idea I felt that way. Being coached is a gift you get as an athlete, and it's one that I truly miss. It's guidance, teaching, and lessons you learn over time that stick with you—on and off the court or field. They shape who you are. Participation and inclusion-being part of a team means you're part of something bigger. Besides teammates, even my opponents became my friends.

This past year I had the pleasure coaching a Little League Team with my friend and former Teammate of 40 years ago, Gordon Russell (also a Jackson Alum). It was an incredible experience to be on the field with those little guys. Some had never held a bat or thrown a ball, but all of them learned a lot, had fun and left the field as teammates. For me, that's what being an athlete has always been about.

I am fortunate to have many friendships that endure to this day, and many more stories of camaraderie and friendship that I've reflected on often in the environment of conflict that our nation and our world is experiencing today. Inclusion, Respect, Camaraderie: It feels lacking in our society today.

Back then, my friends, and teammates were my "society". When we fought, it was for our school colors, and when we were on the court or on the field we were all expected to treat each other with respect, without bias, and without making excuses or justification for the skills of another, or ourselves. We were a team first. Those years taught me valuable life lessons I wish more young people (and old ones too!) modeled these life lessons today.

Thank you for this honor. And thank you to my Mom and Dad, Dell and Helen Smith, my sister Theresa and the rest of my Tribe for supporting me then, and now.

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