We are thankful for a safe trip home to balmy 20 degree weather. This trip was an opportunity for growth and I was most pleased with the spiritual growth taking place among our players. Our “Men of Integrity” devotionals included great interaction from the guys. I am glad their priorities exceed the game of basketball.
The highlight of the trip for me was all the positive comments I received from complete strangers about our team. One of the coaches from Grand Canyon University pulled me aside and said, “Your guys play with a lot of class.” A lady who was an Alaska-Fairbanks fan stopped me after our game with Alaska-Anchorage and said, “Your boys play with a lot of heart and great sportsmanship.” But I was most affected by an encounter I had on the plane ride up on the flight from Anchorage to Fairbanks. I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was flying home for a mini-break after four straight weeks of work in a zinc mine. He was short in stature, graying hair, but with a ready smile and pleasant deameanor. We chatted about his job, his son, and sports. Then he said, “They’re good boys, aren’t they?” I replied that yes, they were, and that we were blessed to coach them. He said, “I can tell. There is something different about them. I see a lot of basketball teams come in and out on these flights and most of them don’t act like your boys.” I thanked him for his kind words and we didn’t have much more time to talk before we landed in Fairbanks. As we departed the plane he slipped a piece of paper in my hand and said, “Read that later.” As we were waiting for our bags I pulled out the note and read the following:
I was lucky enough to be influenced by a good coach when I was young and so was one of my sons. You are one of this kind of coach. Your young men will be better because of your influence. Consequently so will our world be better. Good luck in the upcoming games!
I quickly looked around for Charlie, hoping to convey my thanks and appreciation, but he was gone. So if you ever read this, Charlie, please get in touch with us. I’d love to tell you thank you.
To my boys: I’m proud there is “something different about you.” I also pray Charlie’s prophecy will come to pass…the world will be better because of you.