I was flipping between the Nationwide Series race last night and the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Induction. Although David Robinson’s speech may not have been technically perfect, it was from the heart and defined him as a class act.
It seemed like it was about everything but Mr. Robinson, although he said a few things that made me wince. But then again, I retired after 20 years in the Air Force last week, and I’m sure I said a few things that made a few people wince so I can’t throw stones. I just hope I walked off the stage having defined myself as a class act like he had. I know my closing wasn’t as strong as his. Here’s how he said adios to everyone in the majestic auditorium: “My prayer is that He will walk with you as He’s walked with me.”
Here’s a great excerpt from the Washington Post’s Michael Wilbon about how Robinson first came on his radar.
Robinson grew up in Manassas, and attended the Naval Academy. I remember, like it was yesterday, getting a call at my desk in the newsroom from Tom Bates, then the director of sports information at Navy, who said, “You gotta come see our center, David Robinson and write about him.” I said, “You mean the skinny left-handed kid from Northern Virginia who was a freshman last year? What’s so special about Robinson? He’s a 6-foot-6 center.”
There was a brief silence, then Bates said, “He grew five inches over the summer. He’s 6-11 now.” I drove to Annapolis for the very next game, and watched Robinson play in person countless time over his final three years at the Naval Academy.
The Admiral was never seen as sexy or overly cool, but is truly a role model. He so often quietly dominated. Who was the last player to score 50 points in a NCAA Tournament game? Mr. Robinson.
Not sure what to say about this one. Coach takes players to evangelistic effort (Great role model). Players are baptized (Awesome). A parent is in the dark and is frustrated afterwards (Whoops). I can understand everyone’s position to some degree, some more than others. As a former youth director, I have a hard time even thinking about the idea of taking kids off and getting them baptized behind parent’s back. But then again, I k now that messages don’t always get communicated to the homefront well either.Even Ronnie Hill’s website, the evangelist they went to see who did the baptizing, talks about integrity and I’m not sure this meets that standard.
Christian recording artist Jonny Diaz was a rising baseball star at one time, playing for Florida State University Seminoles. He realized that he was supposed to be wielding a guitar instead of a bat. His older brother, a pretty decent player who roams the outfield for the Braves, said this about his brother’s transition from sports to music. “He was very gifted in baseball,” Matt Diaz said. “But was I surprised? Yes and no. If you asked me two years before he went to college, I would have said no way was he giving up baseball. But by the time he decided to quit you could just tell he was getting so much joy out of writing and playing music.”
Texas High School football
You often get what you give. This certainly turned out to be the case with Grapevine Faith Christian football team last week when one of their players was seriously injured. It had been one year earlier when they’d done the same thing for the visitors from Fort Worth. It’s just another chapter in Grapevine’s proud history, who has consistently reached out, even snagging their coach a trip to the Super Bowl for their past efforts with a team of incarcerated youth.
Hooks says being at Latter Day Saint sponsored BYU is a matter of persevering. He’s made his mistakes, and ended up in handcuffs over water balloons, but says his faith helped him get through some difficult times.
Remember Charlie Ward, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida State and guard for the New York Knicks? He’s now a high school coach in Houston and his faith is a cornerstone of the program.