This weekend our family will travel with me back to my Alma mater and celebrate my induction into the college's hall of fame for basketball. I am glad to receive the award, but I am even more grateful that my wife and children will be part of the festivities.
A couple weeks ago, my college basketball coach, Coach Morley called me to congratulate me. He was one of the most disciplined, focused, and exacting men I have ever known. He intimidated me and I can honestly say I did not enjoy his practices. They were long, rigorous, mentally challenging, and intense.
What I didn't realize then, as I do now, was that Coach Morley was not just preparing us to play and win basketball games. He was more interested in grooming us physically, spiritually, and mentally to be men of stature. By pushing us to run those three miles before or after practice, he was teaching us how to extend the limits of what we thought our bodies could endure. He wanted us to be athletes, scholars, and men fully devoted to God.
As much as I refuse to accept the thought that my basketball days are pretty much over, the lessons learned will stay with me forever. Don't quit. Work hard. Be prepared. Push yourself. Set high goals and go after them. Basketball is a microcosm of life (one of his favorite sayings). If you fail don't stay down; get up and try again. Be on time. Learn to laugh at yourself, and so much more.
I am still an athlete in my approach to everything I do. I am intense about the things that matter; I never feel sorry for myself; I am not intimidated by others; the greatest room in the world is the room for improvement; stay humble; allow others to give input into your life. Love God as the center of your life.
When I accept the award on Saturday, I do so with gratitude for my coach and the influence he had on all us.