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Name: Montee B. Tarpeh
Job Title: Martial arts instructor and basketball coach
Asphalt Green Department: Sports
Asphalt Green Campus: Upper East Side
Q: How long have you been working at Asphalt Green?
A: I have been working at Asphalt Green for a year and a half.
Q: What do you do at Asphalt Green?
A: I’m a martial arts instructor. I also coach the youth basketball league sometimes.
Q: What are some of your responsibilities?
A: As a coach, my responsibilities are to teach, but what I’m really doing is sharing my experience of a sport that I played as a kid. Whether it be basketball or martial arts, I am a part of a child’s first encounter with sports. I’m watching children witness their first jump shot or slam dunk. I’m responsible for that light bulb of inspiration that goes off in a child when he or she decides to join a traveling team or try out for the school basketball team.
Q: What is your favorite part of working at Asphalt Green?
A: My favorite part of working at Asphalt Green is being able to play the sports that I played as a child.
Q: What is one of your fondest memories of working at Asphalt Green so far?
A: My fondest memory was during my first season coaching basketball at Asphalt Green. I had this 6-year-old on my team, Ben, who was very good and for his age and playing with 9-year-olds. During the last game of the season, he was out there looking like an all-star, taking jump shots and completing incredible passes. But, there was this one play we had been working on all season called the pick-and-roll. He executes the play but was fouled, causing him to miss the shot. Ben got up and ran to me on the sideline. I was preparing to give a little pep talk, but I didn’t need to because all Ben wanted to do was show me that his loose tooth was knocked out. He celebrated and ran over to his father, showing off his new smile to the kids on the court. At that moment I realized I was a part of an overall growing experience.
Q: Did you play sports growing up? Do you still play sports?
A: Yes, I was a part of my high school’s basketball team all four years, and I played basketball at two different colleges. In college, I received MVP honors, player of the month, and first team All-American honors.
Q: What is your favorite sport to watch?
A: I have a few: basketball, soccer, tennis, and football.
Q: Who is your favorite sports team?
A: I love the Chicago Bulls. Why? Michael Jordan…need I say more?
Q: What is the best sports tip you’ve received or favorite tip to share with players?
A: “When they’re walking, someone is working on their speed, when they’re not lifting, someone is lifting and getting stronger, when they’re sleeping, someone is working on their game. The question is which one of these people are you?” – Damion Eams
Q: What is a fun fact about yourself?
A: I play pingpong in Williamsburg sometimes.