BRAD ROBICHAUX — Legacies extend across time, place, family

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, December 10, 2019


It can be uncanny sometimes the amount of influence you can have on the people and environment around you. Who knows where the people you’ve influenced are going to go, what they’re going to do, and whom they themselves are going to influence, too?

I imagine Brian Hefner might not have known that his best friend in high school was one day going to coach his nephew in the sport that Hefner and his friend shared, or that his friend would coach his nephew into earning a chance to play in college.

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That outcome got rolling because Hefner and Nederland head basketball coach Brian English played basketball throughout their childhoods.

“He and I just really had a good chemistry together.” Hefner said. “He was always trying to get everyone together to play and to practice and to get better. At Nederland basketball was not a big sport, so it was predominantly football and baseball. We actually held our own, and we did really well together.”

They played together throughout middle school, high school and even in their freshman year at Lee College in Baytown. Their paths diverged toward different colleges afterward but continued to intersect on the effort by both of them to keep up their friendship. Hefner ended up in Montgomery, English back in Nederland coaching the next generation of basketball players. Those players include Hayden Hefner, who recently signed to play for Texas A&M.

“He’s just on a level that’s— I can’t even begin to describe the kid’s ability,” Brian Hefner said of Hayden. “He’s just a special player. He’s nothing like I’ve ever seen or been around. The cool thing is he’s my nephew, so I get to watch him, enjoy him play his senior year.”

I can relate, but in a different way. My father introduced me to Star Wars when I was young enough that the dated (but still amazing) special effects didn’t take away from my enjoyment since I didn’t have many movies to compare it with. Like it did with so may others who saw it, the film awakened amazement and inspiration in my young mind. I loved it.

I had a notion that if I were to introduce the original films to my nephew, who’s 5 years old, he won’t see them through a lens of inferiority compared to today’s CGI and effects while he’s still young.

He fell asleep in the middle of it.

I didn’t think much more on the subject until both he and my niece asked if I wanted to go with them to see the latest film in the series that comes out on Dec. 20.

I think something might have gotten through to him — and to his sister, who’s 7 — and while there’s no way of knowing yet if Star Wars might inspire him toward something like a scholarship at a film school, it will be fascinating to see what he’ll do regarding the franchise going forward. I won’t push it any further than either he or my niece is willing to go, but I might look for some Star Wars LEGOs as a gift for Christmas this year. I loved LEGOs too.

For good or bad — hopefully good — the things we do and the people we influence leave legacies, however small. Brian Hefner’s high school basketball experience with Brian English may have been an important component in getting his nephew Hayden his start towards becoming an Aggie.

Just keep that in mind when the younger family members visit for Christmas.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for the Port Arthur News. He can be reached at