2020 had a crazy start and my 20 years plus as Charlotte Jr. Head Coach's job comes to a crazy ending as well. Let me explain.
When your time comes to let go or say goodbye as a coach, I think you just know that time. This season I decided, after talking with my wife, that I would roll away from a program that I loved and served for over 20 years. It was bittersweet no matter how I carved it up. I could reallocate time toward my family and other pursuits that made sense to me. As the season wound down the reality of my decision became more real and emotional. I was going to hang up my whistle!
Lakeshore was my last conference tournament of coaching the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets Varsity team and my longtime friend Lisa Hilborn, Director of Athletics gave me a moment of recognition at center court. As I said goodbye to this critical chapter of my life in the game of giving back to our youth in the NWBA it became surreal. An era was nearing the end but Nationals was just around the corner in Wichita!!
I had an early morning flight into Wichita on the day the Corona Virus put a stranglehold on our country and all sporting events. I woke up at approximately 4am, checked my phone to see that indeed our Jr. National Tournament was canceled. I went back to bed and woke to what felt like a bad dream! What about the seniors not getting to play their final games? What about me not being able to coach the kids who I could call my very own? Just one more time? Not to be...! Our best laid human plans changed by a world-changing virus.
After a week had passed, I get a huge surprise that lifted my spirits. I was told I was awarded by the NWBA Jr. Division the ‘Ed Owen’ Coach of the Year’. Wow! Most people don’t know it, but Ed Owen was my first coach. He changed my life by introducing to and teaching me the ‘Game’! The comments on Facebook were sobering coming from junior players, former junior players and parents. Through such an outpouring of love and testimonial, I was given a new reality that what I did for kids mattered. DK tears are going on now! If you know me, you know it doesn’t take much for me to cry.
I do none of this without the help of others i.e. all my assistant coaches along the way, parents who trusted me, the NWBA, and sponsors. My wife, Sandy, and my family let me say thank you as my greatest-of-all-time teammates!
As we move forward in such uncertain times, we must do our part and take this virus very seriously. Self-quarantine and adhere to social distancing. We will not hear specifics how wheelchair users like you and me, may need to pay attention to our wheels. If you don’t push on your hand rims and use your tire in your push, you may want to switch to a rim pusher during this time. Our wheels could pick up anything that is on the floor… if your experience is anything like mine. Just a thought to consider!
This blog is on behalf of ABC Medical, a teammate that helped my game, my passion, my family and my world. For over ten years, ABC has been a game-changer in our sport and for me personally. I appreciate this company more than blog words can convey!