Back in the Day

Local sports pros share their favorite elementary school memories.

Hi, I’m Nicholas, your Epic Kids columnist. I’m a third-grade CEO, and since many of us are going back to school this month, I thought it would be cool to ask some Arizona athletes their favorite memories of elementary school. I reached out to my friends at the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Arizona Coyotes and they were kind enough to share some thoughts from when they were young.

Ish Wainright with the Phoenix Suns recalls a memorable moment of dunking. He says, “In fifth grade, I was at recess and people asked if I could touch the rim (of the basketball hoop). I was like, ‘I think I can touch the rim; I think I can dunk.’ I grabbed a ball, missed the first dunk, missed the second dunk, and then I tried one more time. The third time was a charm. And that’s how I started dunking…in fifth grade.”

According to #35 All-Star left-handed Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Mantiply, making buddies was the best of all. “My favorite thing about elementary school was creating lifelong friends; in fact, I’m still friends with them,” says Mantiply.

I also talked to Arizona native #10 Infielder of the Diamondbacks, Josh Rojas, who loved free time. Rojas tells me, “My favorite memory from elementary school was ‘Free Fridays.’ If we were on our best behavior and turned in all our homework, we got free time, and played kickball, four corners, and games like that.”

And finally, I connected with Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan. He raves about recess. “My favorite memory of elementary school was playing lots of sports with my best friends at recess. I also enjoyed learning new things from some great teachers,” says Doan.

Join me on my epic journey via Instagram and