Muhamad brings energy to bench as assistant
January 26, 2019
From football to soccer, there is always a familiar face standing at the front of the bleachers shouting during every play. If you go to a varsity boys basketball game, you won’t find this person in the bleachers, but rather on the bench helping the coaches. Starting off as a team manager and this year becoming a student assistant coach, senior Pana Muhamad has become the hype man for Blue Streak sports.
“School is very academic based. Sometimes stress is hard. I am a student too, so I can relate. Going to a sporting event, you don’t remember any of that,” Muhamad said. “You hang out with your friends; you are chilling with your friends, and you are watching your other friends play. It is a time where you forget about everything else and you’re just there to have fun. Athletics are very important to school and that is why I push to support it so much.”
In his junior year, he decided to try out new sports which led him to basketball. Although Muhamad didn’t make the team, coach Don Burgess thought he could be a valuable asset to the squad.
“Pana tried out for the team and he didn’t make it, but he still wanted to be a part of it. He has made strides each year in regards to working on his weaknesses, and that says a lot about him as a person. He could have easily said ‘I didn’t make the team’ and walked away, but his dedication and his loyalty to HHS is why I wanted him to be apart of our program,” Burgess said.
During practices, Muhamad helps run players through drills and gives advice to the team that he has learned from the coaches. He also helps prepare for games.
“During practice I help out with drills and stuff. If coach wants me to go fix up the jerseys and get them ready for the game or go get the clipboards ready, I’ll do that. I do a lot of behind the scenes stuff,” Muhamad said.
As soon as games roll around, Muhamad becomes one of the most vocal members on the floor.
“For the basketball team I just encourage all the players. I never want them to feel bad if they miss a shot or something. I like being supportive. I take pride that we are a team and the team is representing my school, our school. We are all one Blue Streak,” Muhamad said. “I have to hype them up so they can perform better. The more support you give them, the better they can perform, which is why I always push being supportive.”
Burgess enjoys having this positive energy coming from the bench. Muhamad’s spirit doesn’t end when he leaves the gym; he carries it with him everywhere he goes.
“[I admire] his passion, dedication and loyalty to Harrisonburg High School as well as the boys basketball team. Not just the basketball program, but he is a Blue Streak through and through. Just his positive vibes and his positive energy is contagious… His loyalty and his work ethic does not go unnoticed,” Burgess said.
While a large amount of Muhamad’s contribution is offered through his support, he also makes an impact by relaying messages to the team that he has picked up on from the scouting report.
“He is so quick to compliment his teammates when they come out [of] the game. Pana has been around me two years now. He helps out. He will end up telling the guys, ‘Don’t forget to box out number two’ or, ‘Number two is a shooter.’ The stuff he listens to in the scouting report he passes on,” Burgess said.
Though Muhamad never steps foot on the court during the game, Burgess believes that he has an impact on the outcome of the game.
“Pana is so invested into the wins and loses. When we win he’s excited, and when we lose you can see he wears his emotions on his sleeve,” Burgess said. “He may not have scored a point in a game or grabbed a rebound in a game, but his effort and what he brings to the table helps us be victorious.”
Muhamad believes the most important thing is that the teams know that there is someone who supports them through every moment of the season.
“That is just me as a person. I know I am an outgoing person. I’m not going to hide my feelings. I am going to get excited when something happens. I never hide it that is just how I’ve been my entire life,” Muhamad said. “I like supporting the players because at least they know there is someone out there who has their back and supporting them until the end. [I want them to] never feel down, to feel like they put up at fight. [I want them to know] there is one person in the crowd who cares.”
Muhamad holds job at Walmart outside of basketball commitments
From the moment he clocks in to the moment he clocks out, there’s never a dull moment during Pana Muhamad’s shift at Walmart. With the help of his family and friends, Muhamad landed his first job at the large, multinational retail store, where everyday brings a new adventure.
“It’s not like fast food when you go in there and you know what you’re doing, like [you know] you’re going to go cook. When you go into [Walmart], your job is always different. You’re going to go into toys [one day, and] the next day you’re going to go into groceries or truck, you never know,” Muhamad said.
It’s been seven months and counting since Muhamad first stepped foot into Walmart as a worker. During the summer, he worked full time: eight hours a day, seven days a week. With school now part of his schedule, Muhamad only works during the weekend. On a given day at work, some of the tasks assigned to Muhamad include unloading trucks, helping customers, working in particular aisles, stocking groceries and helping out in other departments of the store, all of which depend on the day.
Aside from work and academics, Muhamad works with the boys varsity basketball team as a student assistant coach, a new role created just for him this year. With that title, Muhamad is with the boys at each practice and game, either recording stats or helping with drills and other team needs. Like any other student, Muhamad balances out his school work with his extra curricular activities.
“Just staying up on a Sunday to do all of my work sucks… On Saturdays I usually get [all of my homework] done, but if that’s not the case, Monday always has advisory and then I have ELT. If it’s an A day, I have a [teacher assistant] block, so I try not to procrastinate,” Muhamad said.
As soon as his paycheck comes in, Muhamad puts it straight toward his new car or college fund. After high school, he hopes to attend James Madison University and major in Computer Science, the subject he finds the most interesting.
“I’m trying to become a computer programmer. It doesn’t really matter where, but that’s just my passion. I like computer science,” Muhamad said.