Valley High’s American dream

This is a story about diversity, about tolerance, about the make-up of California and, more, the United States of America as it really is now. There were seven girls on this year’s Santa Ana Valley High School water polo team. Six are Latino. One is Vietnamese-American. “We had to find some way to communicate to become a family,” said one of the team’s seniors, 17-year-old Bianka Baeza.

It’s about one really great coach, Fred Lammers, a 59-year-old biology teacher who has been at the same school since 1976, who gets up at 4:30 every morning and then rides his bicycle to and from work, who is on the pool deck before dawn, who believes in the elemental mission of helping young people become the best they can be.


Doug Beal’s FIVB presidential bid

In the late 1970s, when Doug Beal was named head coach of the first U.S. men’s national volleyball team, he was the driving force for establishing a full-time, year-round training center. The first facilities were in — of all places — Dayton, Ohio. The idea was to gear up for the 1980 Moscow Summer Games.

One of the first training sites was Roosevelt High School. A bunch of the players had day jobs unloading produce for local supermarkets. This was hard, physical work, and then the guys were expected to show up for practice at 7 at night.


Mario Vazquez Raña resigns

Mario Vazquez Raña, arguably the most influential figure in the Western Hemisphere in the Olympic movement, abruptly announced his resignation Thursday as a member of the International Olympic Committee.

In a four-page press release, Vazquez Raña, who will turn 80 in June, said he is stepping down from the IOC; from his spot on the IOC’s policy-making executive board; as president of Olympic Solidarity; and as president of the Assn. of National Olympic Committees.