August 20, 2005
Hood River Valley High School’s new football coach, Tracy Jackson, is settling happily into his new surroundings. His move from Madison High School in northeast Portland to the laid-back country setting of HRVHS was a dramatic change of scenery and civics. As he settles into his new home and community, Jackson is hard at work with his new coaches, players and resources, getting ready for another rich season of Eagle football.
Every morning last week Jackson focused his attention on 48 seventh and eighth graders during the Double-Wing Youth Football Camp at the high school. In the evenings he coached a squad of 62 high school players in their pre-season training. The Eagle’s officially begin team practice— the often dreaded daily-doubles— bright and early Monday morning.
In between the mayhem of almost 50 middle-school players in the morning and the intensity of over 60 high schoolers in the evening, Jackson took the time to reflect on his new surroundings:
HR News: Do you like your new home so far?
Jackson: “In Portland we had very little. Around here, whether it’s looking at the mountains or looking how well taken care of our fields are… I talk to kids about never taking this stuff for granted. You look at how nice things are here and how nice we have it and it’s pretty awesome. I drive around here and I’m thinking ‘I can’t believe this is where I get to live’. I love it out here … I’m almost giddy coming out here most days. Life is pretty dang good right now.”
HR News: How do you feel about moving from a city environment to the country?
Jackson: “It’s a different world from where I come from and this is a place you can really make home... Northeast Portland is some of the rougher part of the city. Sometimes you really felt like you were doing good things for the guys. Just trying to teach them things that maybe they weren’t getting from anybody else. And I think we accomplished a lot of things, but the way that this job came about for me, I knew it was the right thing.”