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From a dream to a family legacy

The Goggleye family dominates the basketball court from Orr to North Woods and everywhere in between

Marcus White
Posted 2/14/19

FIELD TWP - When Gerald Goggleye took to the basketball court in Orr four decades ago, he couldn’t have known his family would be a local mainstay in the sport for years to come.

“My dream was …

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From a dream to a family legacy

The Goggleye family dominates the basketball court from Orr to North Woods and everywhere in between

Posted

FIELD TWP - When Gerald Goggleye took to the basketball court in Orr four decades ago, he couldn’t have known his family would be a local mainstay in the sport for years to come.

“My dream was to go to the state tournament,” he said.

In seventh grade, Gerald tried to make the team, but realized he had much more work to do, so he took that summer to keep practicing before donning the Orr uniform the following season.

For Gerald, his time on the high school court would come to an end after his junior season, when family life came first. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it set the stage in ensuring his family would always have a name in the game.

“I would wake up wishing I had played again,” Gerald said. “I passed it on to the boys and I always told my wife I was going to do something for my grandkids.”

The game never left him.

“After high school, I still wanted to prove I could play,” Gerald said. “I played every weekend and these boys followed me.”

A few years later, Gerald’s eldest son, Jerry, was ready to keep his father’s legacy going.

“Dad had a lot of influence on me,” Jerry said. “I started in third grade in Nett Lake, then played for Orr. I played with the sixth graders when I was in fourth grade.”

Not long after that, a third Goggleye, Robbie, who currently coaches the North Woods girls team, followed what was becoming a family tradition.

“I just loved the game,” Robbie said. “I played defense. That was my enjoyment. I started out coaching here when the schools combined.”

Even though both of his sons had taken up the game, Gerald said his work life kept him from fully being there for them. He said that was remedied when his eldest grandchild, Darnell, was born.

“I put a ball in Darnell’s hand before he could walk,” Gerald said. “I told my wife I was going to start it all over again. If they play ball, I want to watch.”

Darnell would become the first of the third generation to make his mark on the court, though this time it would be for the North Woods Grizzlies.

During his time, Darnell set the all-time scoring record for the team, a feat surpassed by his own brother, Cade, earlier this season.

“I had to keep it going,” Darnell said. “I knew they (grandfather and father) wouldn’t quit. I tried to model myself after them.”

And soon his brothers, sisters and cousins followed.

“When we got Darnell playing, it was a chain reaction, that’s what everyone wanted to do,” Gerald said.

Soon Cade, the Grizzlies’ current star player, was bringing in points, eventually eclipsing Darnell’s success.

“When I first started, I watched my brother grow up with it,” Cade said. “I’ve always wanted to do better than him.”

The sibling rivalry extends to the home as well, where Darnell admits he likes to still get under Cade’s skin about his performances on the court.

The success hasn’t been limited, however to Cade and Darnell, cousins Darius Goggleye and Bryce Chosa have also made marks on the team.

“It’s kinda cool,” Bryce said of playing with his cousins

“There is expectation to do well,” Darius said. “These two, (Darnell and Cade) are good, so I feel I have to do well also. You have to work hard. Right now I am working on defense.”

The hard work shows in the family training schedule.

“For us it never stops,” Robbie said. “It starts the weekend after the state tournament. We take three weeks off in August for a vacation.”

With so much basketball in their family life, Robbie added, they try and make rules to keep some time open for other topics of conversation at the dinner table.

“We have a rule. I can’t talk about a game until after the night is over, especially if it is a bad night,” Robbie said.

While the family’s dominance on the court has, so far, been limited to boys basketball, that may soon change with fifth-graders, Maya and Brynn, both of whom are already playing the game.

“I’ve been watching Cade for a long time,” Brynne said. “I also watch how Darius worked on defense, and how Bryce handles the ball. I just want to be better than all of them.”

Robbie said watching his daughers take to the court was a big reason he took the coaching position with the girls team when it came open several years ago.

For now, though, Gerald is watching his grandchildren play, regardless of their grade or skill level. For him it’s a point of pride.

“I never thought it would come down to them all playing basketball,” he said. “I am very proud of them all. As a grandparent, I have a lot of proudness because of what they have accomplished.”

He said all he and his sons can do is try and point them in the right direction and hope it all works out.

For the future, he said, “I’ve got one more grandkid; he’s two and he’s shooting before he can walk.”

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