I interrupt this regularly scheduled program for a short sports reflection.
The transition from high school basketball to collegiate play wasn’t easy. Unlike in high school, I was often the shortest player on the court in college. Sure, I was quick and strong for my size, but I had to make a lot of adjustments and improvements to my game if I stood any chance of playing.
Thankfully my coach Floyd (pictured here), took time with me and shaped me into a decent college basketball point guard. Mostly I credit him for teaching me the magic of the bounce pass. And thanks to Floyd (and the bounce pass), I came to love the game in a whole new way. Assists became just as golden as points.
Fast forward 23 years later.
Last night I was once again by Floyd’s side. But this time, I was in a chair and he was lying in his hospital bed at home. I was there to say goodbye, to wish him sweet peace, to tell him I’d look for him on the other side—in that heavenly “court.”
The stroke he suffered two years ago didn’t allow him to say anything in return, but the squeeze of his hand and the kind eyes looking back at me communicated a lot.
During visits with him over these past two years, I reminded him that just as he helped me adjust to college play, I wanted to offer any support I could as he learned to adjust to life post-stroke. Floyd’s family, an A TEAM if there ever was one, welcomed me to visit whenever I could.
Nothing has been easy about the past two years and everyone who has been on Team Floyd knows he is ready to rest. “You can go, Dad,” daughter Katie said (also a coach). “We are going to be ok.”
I added that I thought Floyd was going to be ok too. He squeezed my hand one final time.