MY BASKETBALL LIFE
More than Just a Game
I grew up privileged. Not in a sense that my family was wealthy from a monetary perspective, but we were wealthy from love (at many times it was tough love), consistency, encouragement and compassion perspective. My parents sacrificed a lot to provide me and my siblings with a safe environment to grow up in, opportunities to acquire a great education and everything else a child would need to grow up and have a chance to be successful (a roof over our heads, food, clothing, advice, accountability, guidance). But the truth is, I never would have experienced any of this had it not been for the game of basketball.
Most believe that basketball is just a game. To me, it is much more than that. As cliché as it may sound, basketball is life. My father grew up on the north side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father died when he was 9 months old and he is the youngest of 9 kids. His mother, my grandmother, did a tremendous job raising her kids. As a child of a single mom raising 9 of 11 kids to adulthood, there was plenty of opportunity in the streets of Milwaukee to find trouble and it would have been easy to get lost on the block. Instead, when he wasn’t in school, he kept himself busy by playing sports. He was a quarterback in football, first basemen in baseball and played tennis. However, it was basketball that he fell in love with and where he thrived. His love for the game of basketball at a young age would later impact and change more lives than he ever could imagine.
Because of his physical talent and abilities, my father earned a scholarship to play basketball at a small Lutheran college in Seward, Nebraska in the early 70’s. It was there he met a woman that would later become his wife and together they would have my siblings and me. Had it not been for basketball, a kid from the north side of Milwaukee never would have ventured to the small rural town of Seward, Nebraska and be introduced to one of the smartest women one could ever meet and my life as I know it would never exist. The story doesn’t end here.
Growing up, my earliest memories of basketball were when I was 5 and my father was an assistant coach of a powerhouse high school team back in Milwaukee. I remember going to practices and my brother and I shooting with the guys and really getting excited when we saw our dad on TV coaching a team to a state championship in 1984. Little did I know that his passion to give back to the game and mentor young people would be planted in my soul. He used basketball as a tool to give himself and our family a better life. Because of the opportunities that my parents afforded me, I have been able to use basketball as a tool to further my education, travel all over the United States and other countries, learning life lessons and experiencing things that I may not have had it not been for the game. I feel that it is my duty as a coach to give back and mentor with the belief that I will be a positive influence to future generations that will be able to get more from the game than just the satisfaction of putting the ball through the hoop. Basketball is life and is the reason for my life!
BS-University of Wisconsin-Platteville 2004
M.Ed-Carroll University 2012
Indicators of stress in Midwestern NAIA Division II men's basketball coaches: a collective case study. 2012