Angie Pflugrath (left) with her best friend and fellow court monitor, Gretchen Champaine (right).
Nothing gets in the way of Hoopfest weekend for court monitor Angie Pflugrath.
Back when she played every year, two players on her team went down with knee injuries in the same game. Pflugrath played two-on-three the rest of the tournament. Another year, her foot was run over by a forklift at work, but still wanting to be involved, she switched to being a court monitor. And then one year her cousin scheduled his wedding on Hoopfest weekend.
“We’re a basketball family and I’m like ‘really? You’re going to get married during Hoopfest? I’m not going,’ ” Pflugrath said. “If they want to see me, I tell people what court I’m on if they want to say hi.”
Now in her sixth year as a court monitor and countless more as a participant, Pflugrath — who monitors high school girls, usually freshmen and sophomores — has expanded her web of familiarity and built lifelong friendships.
Last year, it took a special bout of strength to be a part of Hoopfest.
She was battling with Cirrhosis of the Liver, which in most cases is fatal without a transplant. Pflugrath lost a ton of weight and was very sick. As June drew near, she began to feel better. She was able to eat more, and said she really came around. She was well enough, in fact, to participate in Hoopfest.
“I was so sick I needed a liver transplant, my liver was failing,” she said. “By the grace of God, some miracle He decided to bestow upon me, I made it through. Most people do not make it through without a transplant.
“People didn’t even recognize me I was that skinny. I’m very thankful to be alive.”
Pflugrath oversaw her usual court, but spent many games taking score instead of monitoring. Her best friend who she monitors near every year, Gretchen Champaine, assumed some of her duties.
But Pflugrath endured, and was overjoyed to be able to be a part of the weekend again.
“I was actually exhausted, but I love the games so much that I did it,” Pflugrath said. “It was a lot of fun. Being sick, Hoopfest made me forget about it for a while.
“I wasn’t in the greatest of shape to be out there, but I did it and I couldn’t have done it without (Champaine’s) help. She always has my back.”
We are happy to share that Pflugrath is healthy now, and working on resuming her 20-year career at Costco.
Once a standout basketball player who amassed over 2,000 points and won a state title at Columbia High School, she now monitors games for the kids of her old teammates. Says with a lot of them, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Pflugrath understands that other court monitors and players on her court, especially those at the early high school level, benefit from a little bit of coaching to get used to the demands of street ball, such as how to call fouls. With the girls she monitors, she says they listen and always manage to have fun. When it rains, she’ll stand on a manhole to avoid any slips. As long as everyone is safe and having fun, she says she’s doing her job.
We at Hoopfest are grateful for her contributions.
“Angie is an inspiration to us all,” Spokane Hoopfest Operations Manager Chad Smith said. “Angie battled a serious illness, but found a way to participate as a court monitor for Hoopfest. I’m glad to hear that she’s healthy once again. Her involvement with Hoopfest makes our event that much better.”
Pflugrath is thrilled to be back at full speed again for Hoopfest 2017, and recommends anyone interested in being a court monitor to try it out.
“I can’t wait. I almost get nervous excitement when I would play,” she said. “The music is playing, I see all my friends, the days fly by and I enjoy it. … And I’ll do it as long as I possibly can.”