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Jawin' W/Jagada A Glimpse At Greatness
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It took a little under two years, but after a host of cross-country courses and an infinite amount of tracks, Riverbank superstar German Fernandez finally was able to surprise me.

For some strange reason all of the insanely over-the-top accomplishments that this youngster has brought home to Riverbank, the majority of them I began to, with all due respect, expect.

Maybe it was the priceless 20-minute phone calls that I was privy to hold with year-round coach Bruce Edwards, or the front row spot I held during one of his record setting cross-country meets, but German was seemingly always just being German.

And then at a moment's notice it all really began to set in.

Pulling up to the Antigua Event Center in Riverbank, the KCRA-Channel 3 news trucks were proof enough that this had the make-up of a special event. After the 'oohhs' and 'aahhs' were just about complete and the journalistic portion of me kicked into gear, a member of Gatorade Royalty gave me a glimpse of how great this kid is going to be.

"By the names of Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning, Lebron James, A-Rod," Gatorade rep Liz Prassas said. "All of those names, yes I'd say this award is life changing. For these individuals it usually is the first opportunity to really understand that they are really going somewhere."

Each one of the names and likenesses that grace magazines and are constantly on Sportscenter used a soft push from the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award to thrust them into a new stratosphere.

Fernandez - latest recipient of that national honor - is clearly on his way.

As the event came to a close and a super-small cluster of local media hung around to talk sports, Fernandez made his way to the stop sign on Santa Fe and Second Street.

Driving south on Second, a quick glance to his left and like he has done so many times, he cracked that million dollar smile and graciously waved that special wave he saves for the fans who have supported him since day one.

The Gatorade hardware and the reality of the company Fernandez now keeps in sports folklore was surely enough proof for me to realize who that was that drove by.

It only got tough when his taillights glared and I instantly pondered if that was my final up-close glimpse at greatness.

Jagada Chambers is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.