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!
“I want the world to be accepting of me, but not adapt for me. I want to be able to figure out ways to adapt and get around. I want to believe that people are helpful and that I can trust them.” shared the Arizona State University student-athlete and a Rollettes Lil Sis Christina Chambers over a phone interview with us earlier this month. In a way she redefined what ‘ABC’ stands for: Adapt.Believe.Compete. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to two amazing dancers, Christina Chambers and Maria Rabiano through our support of the Rollettes dance team and their Be Boundless Summit which, by the way is coming up this Saturday, on August 18th and we cannot wait for it!
A family holiday trip to Alabama for Santiago (Santi) Rueda over Memorial Day weekend, simple and sweet. You drive for hours and you visualize along the way the fun you are about to have once you arrive! The vision does not include any negative thoughts, just anticipation of all the activity and food one can have on such a trip....which Santi’s family has done countless times before.
The weekend had begun and Santi and his Mom, Serena, mount an ATV to punch their fun meter together. Something about ATV’s, Jet Ski’s or even sit down mowers that we take for granted. Operation of an ATV seems to be an easy do, as we are unsuspecting participants that unintentionally underestimate the danger that lurks behind the above mentioned equipment.
As the plane slowly descended through the clouds towards LAX, I closed my eyes to think of the successful athletes this city has bred for decades. A film strip of many names and faces popped up in my head: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a UCLA track and basketball star and a 4-time Olympian, she was ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlonas as well as long jump, a big role model to young women athletes;"Magic" Johnson, picked in the 1979 draft, he spent all 13 years of his NBA career in Los Angeles leading the Lakers to 5 national titles; Elgin Baylor, an 11-time All-Star and Hall of Famer ranks among the top 25 in points and rebounds in NBA history; Candace Cable, a 9-time Paralympian and the first woman athlete to compete both in winter and summer Paralympic games; and Dave Kiley, a 6-time Paralympian, legendary wheelchair basketball player who has won 13 Paralympic medals, 11 of them gold in 3 different sports, head coach of the 2012 London U.S. Women's Paralympic Wheelchair Basketball team. This dreamy film strip was interrupted when our plane touched the ground. I was brought to reality. I was in Los Angeles and was looking forward to finding out what it had to offer!
The 15th Annual Dallas DK 3-on-3 is right around the corner. On June 2-3rd, 2018 over 50 athletes are traveling to Dallas, Texas for 2 days of high-level basketball. I thought it might be time to explain the event and how it came to be as DK 3-on-3 and the brand 'DK3.'
15 years ago, my great friend Michael 'Shorty' Powers and his organization Turning Point, asked me to run a basketball event "to be held within the structure of their flagship event, Turning Points, Texas ‘Extravaganza’ (a multi-activity sport participation event)." Some big names we know today were part of the first event: Paul Schulte, Pat Anderson, and Willie Hernandez to name a few. This was the birth place of this annual 3-on-3 event. Thanks Shorty for your vision!
"Shorty" Michael Lewis Powers passed away on June 19th, 2016. You can read Dave Kiley's tribute to "Shorty" here.
ABC Medical, a national provider of medical supplies, redefined their mission and purpose since CEO Keith Jones and a group of seasoned healthcare professionals acquired the company in 2012. “Companies like us typically focus on volume and margins as well as manage through the difficult world of reimbursement. While all of those things are critical for a successful business, to us, it is quite frankly boring, uninspiring, and certainly not a mission to be proud of. After attending a few adaptive sports events with my son, and meeting some of our customers fiercely competing on the basketball court, our mission became obvious – To Do Well by Doing Good“ says ABC Medical’s Keith Jones.
It's zero dark thirty. My wife and I are awake, getting ready for a 6 AM flight into Orange County, CA. It hurts at first, but we know a vacation to my roots, where I grew up and where we both lived for many years was going to be worth it. Our plane leaves in the dark and then we see an unbelievable sunrise
from our seats which sets the tone for what was to come.
There are a few benchmarks that occur in our lives that are significant or monumental. They can sometimes break our hearts or bring us to our knees. There are always those times though that one will remember for a lifetime for the good it has done, not just for the individual, but more importantly for the masses it effects. In this blog, I will attempt to capture such an occurrence.
ABC Medical is working on a new book that features chapters submitted by ABC Medical Customers. The purpose of "The Stories of Adapt.Believe.Compete." is to give an avenue for our amazing customers to share their stories, inspire others and build awareness to live with paralysis. To submit a chapter, please click here.