Never have I ever been the least bit athletic. I have a shameful lack of balance, hardly any strength, about five minutes of endurance (tops), and what muscles I have are robed in fat.
(This is not why I detest the words, “athleticism” and “physicality,” but I digress. I’ll leave that to another post.)
Despite this truth, when I was in high school I played basketball. Yes, it was half-court, yes, I never scored a point since I played guard, and yes, my main value to the team was being able to “clog up the middle.” Still, I was on the team for several years.
It was church-league basketball, one of the most cut-throat games in town. I devoted one night a week to practice, and each Saturday we played our games.
Truthfully, it was a very meaningful part of my life. It was a chance to participate even without much talent. It was a bonding experience for my teammates and me. And I learned as many life lessons as I did rules and techniques of basketball.
My coach was Bob Lamons, a patient man if ever there was one. He taught us so much, and seemed to enjoy the laborious hours he spent trying to form us into a team. In fact, we won most of our games and even a championship or two.
The week I noticed in the paper that Mr. Lamons had passed away. He had moved away to live near his daughter years ago, and I unfortunately had not kept up with him or his family. But the picture in the paper was from years ago – the Mr. Lamons I remembered – and it made me smile with remembrance.
He was a successful banker and a much loved family man. He was an athlete himself, and a golfer for countless years. Yet, in his obituary, where meaningful parts of people’s lives that are important to them are included, it said, “Bob spent years coaching both boys’ and girls’ basketball teams at Dalewood Baptist Church.” So those days from long ago must have still mattered to him.
It still means a lot to me, too, Mr. Lamons, and I thank you so much. Thanks for loving a bunch of rag-tail basketball players and teaching us about what is important and what will remain, long after our “glory days” are over.