Tis The Season

The holiday season can bring about some of our fondest memories. Maybe it was building a snowman or having a snowball fight with your friends. Perhaps it was just getting to see your family that you hadn't seen in a long time. Or maybe it was that amazing food that you were able to gobble down to go along with some incredible hot chocolate or eggnog. Whatever those memories are, they are ones that you'll never forget. Those memories and traditions that you take part in over the holiday season are what make Christmas and New Years so special.
The Washington State Men's Basketball team is looking forward to the turn of the calendar year, and with Pac-12 play underway, CougZone was able to catch up with Mychal Ladd, Charlie Enquist, and Brock Motum to talk a little about the holiday season and their family traditions. Since there is just a small break for the players to go home and see their families, some of the Cougs spend Christmas together. For Motum, going home to Brisbane, Australia would have been a bit far to travel for the three day break, so he decided to spend Christmas with Enquist and his family. Marcus Capers, from Winter Haven, Florida, also decided it would be best to stick around the northwest as he joined Enquist and Motum for Christmas. Motum talked about his break saying,
"I couldn't go home so I went with Charlie and we had some great meals. Charlie, Marcus and I went out to a farm at his uncle's place outside Seattle and got to just hang out."
Ladd, a Cougar guard from Seattle, was able to go home and see his family over break. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy his time off and was able to spend some quality time with his mom, dad and two younger sisters. For Ladd, its less about receiving during the Christmas season, rather, it is more about giving. Ladd commented on Christmas saying,
"I tell my parents to not get me anything anymore because I enjoy seeing my little sisters receive their gifts, so I tell my parents to focus more on them. It's a lot of fun seeing the surprised faces on each of the members in my family."
Some of the best Christmas memories for these Cougar players made them reflect back to their childhoods. Everyone remembers one gift that they received that was so important to them at the time, and for Ladd it was receiving his first basketball hoop at age eight. For both Enquist and Motum, it was their Nintendo64's that they received when they were young. Enquist laughed and remembered back to that amazing Christmas Day so many years ago commenting,
"I definitely remember getting my Nintendo64. Everyone else had one except for me, and I had wanted it for about 6 months, so when I finally got it, it was glorious!"
As Ladd had mentioned earlier, now days he's more interested in seeing his friends and family members happy when receiving their gifts, but when he was younger, it was a bit different.
"I was so excited for Christmas and the presents that I snuck downstairs late on Christmas Eve and saw my mom putting presents under the trees. Until that point, I had always believed in Santa Claus, but being too sneaky got me in trouble. That's when I figured out the whole Santa thing, at about seven years old."
For Enquist, is was a little later on to find out about the whole Santa Claus deal. He remembered quite clearly commenting,
"Well, I was 12 or so and I was searching for gifts in the closet and found one that was labeled 'From Santa' before it was Christmas yet, so I opened it up. Then I started to put things together and realized what was up."
Motum chuckled when asked about the Santa thing saying,
"It was probably until I was about 10 years old. I was a pretty gullible as a kid, so I ended up finding out at school."
Finding out about Santa never wrecked the spirit of Christmas for Motum however. Every year he and his family go to his different sets of grandparents houses and get to open presents, eat a big lunch, and then sleep for the rest of the day. For Enquist, his family traditions consist of eating cinnabons and Eggs Benedict for breakfast on Christmas morning every year. He said that they also always do the 'Santa picture' with Santa at the mall. Enquist talked about this year's Santa picture stating,
"This year since I was with Brock and Marcus, we all were in a picture with Santa together. It was awesome!"
For Ladd, it's all about spending time with the family and relatives.
"Usually, Christmas morning we open gifts at my mom's house. Then we go to church because my grandpa is a pastor. After that we'll go to my grandparents place, eat some amazing food and have a white-elephant gift exchange."
Speaking of food, the holiday season can bring about the best of various types of foods for different families. For Ladd and his family, it's his mom's baked macaroni and his grandparents gumbo. Enquist and his family enjoy the delicious Cinnabons for breakfast and a nice prime-rib steak for dinner. For Motum, it's his families special Crum-chicken with Crum-banana and Crum-pineapple.
The three Cougs then talked about whether they preferred Christmas Eve and the anticipation of Christmas, or Christmas Day itself more. Ladd seemed to fancy Christmas Day more because Christmas Eve is to hectic with all of the last minute shoppers while Christmas Day is very relaxing. Both Enquist and Motum favor Christmas Day however because they enjoy the anticipation and build-up of the holiday season to go along with being able to go out and see the amazing decorations and Christmas lights on all of the houses around town.
With Christmas now done, everyone is looking forward to New Year's and everything that comes with that. Since the Cougars have a game on New Year's Eve and practice on New Year's Day however, it will be a fairly quiet New Year's Eve. Motum said of the upcoming New Year's Eve,
"Hopefully we'll be driving back to Pullman after a big win. Then I'll just hang out with my teammates, have a quiet night, stay up until 12am to bring in the new year and then go to bed."
Enquist laughed when asked about whether he liked Christmas or New Year's more and said.
"That's easy - Christmas, because New Years is another year that I'm getting older."
With the turn of the year and the start of 2012 of course means that the Cougs will be in full swing of Pac-12 play. Ladd said he's most looking forward to this because he's never played in the Pac-12 before and was hopeful the team will be able to make a run to the NCAA tournament. For Enquist, 2012 brings promise of going fishing with his family and skiing up at Whistler. Finally, Motum spoke of 2012 and what he was looking forward to.
"I'm looking forward to Pac-12 games and having high quality opponents every night. I think we have a chance to do big things, so I'm pretty excited about that."
It's the most wonderful time of the year, many would say. Snow falling down, presents being opened, families spending time together, New Year's resolutions being made and the promise always being there of the chance that there are better things to come. The Cougars Men's Basketball team treads on, and three months from now, they'll just about know whether or not they'll be dancing in the tournament. Sometimes however, it's nice to just sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays.
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
NCAA Championship season is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a Wazzu to go to the NCAA tournament again! If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.