LODGE GRASS — Sometimes a setback becomes a blessing.
That seems to be the case for Lodge Grass legend Damon Gros Ventre, who injured his shoulder while dunking this summer. Gros Ventre opted out of surgery but won’t be playing this season at Dawson Community College.
“Just the main thing was I didn't want to have to create a whole new shot. I just wanted to go back to what I once was," Gros Ventre said. "That was just my decision, that I didn't want to have a different-looking shot or remake it. I just wanted to go back to what it was."
Gros Ventre is back home, and his former coach Josh Stewart jumped on the chance to have Gros Ventre alongside him. While Gros Ventre played with several of the guys on this year’s edition of the Indians, he carries a certain weight with his words and actions.
“Sharing my experiences and giving them feedback to what they can do better on and off the court. It's just my experience and sharing what it takes to win a championship," Gros Ventre said.
“For him to be here and say, 'I've been there. I've been to the top. I've been over that mountain, and you guys can, too.' I think it gives them hope and sparks enthusiasm and encouragement, and I think it does something to their will," Stewart said.
Lodge Grass is now a couple years removed from Gros Ventre and his teammates bringing home a pair of state titles and a third-place finish. So often Stewart will talk about the standard within the program, something that Gros Ventre helped set and is now holding athletes accountable to.
“They set it to a place where we're going to need prayer and a lot of hard work. We're going to dream and cast a vision that excludes selfishness, entitlement and all those things that come with that toxic mindset," Stewart said.
“Home, class, gym — we don't take that for granted. We truly mean it. Not only in (the gym), but in the community, as well. It's more than basketball. It's the little things that help build for winning in March," Gros Ventre said.
Gros Ventre will make his assistant coaching debut on Tuesday at First Interstate Arena when the Indians get together with Hardin.