OPINION: Basketball about more than winningThis team is filled with some very quality young men who are going to win in life.
By: Tom Young , Guest columnist
Even though the Mitchell High School boys’ basketball team finished with only five wins this year and did not make it to the state tournament for the first time in several years and did not live up to win totals of past Kernel teams, I believe this team has many quality young men who are winners.
However, there are many positive aspects of a season that sometimes people never find out about. When I took this coaching position last year, I knew there would be challenges, and there were. Despite the low number of wins, there were many positive things that came from these young men this season.
First, one of the most rewarding days I’ve had as a coach is when our team met with several basketball fans from Lifequest and not only brought them T-shirts, but also spent time visiting and cheering with them. Both the Lifequest staff and I were proud of how they interacted with some very special Kernel fans.
Secondly, early in the season our boys presented Conrad Adam, a competitor from Pierre who is fighting cancer, not only with a gift but wore green T-shirts to honor him and show their support for him. This was very much player-driven, and their actions that night inspired me, Conrad and many others along the way. I have received two very nice thank-yous from the Adam family and the Pierre community expressing their appreciation of the boys’ actions and the class they showed.
Thirdly, the boys (and girls) were involved in a basketball camp for three early Saturday mornings in January at the Rec Center put on for K-6th grade boys and girls. It was awesome for me to see our boys using their time on early Saturday mornings to give to the community and really put their heart into playing and interacting with the kids. They were exceptional.
Fourthly, I really became aware of the great job that Coach Mock, Coach Weir and Coach Kiewel are doing with the younger kids. All of them are teaching them much more than just basketball. They are a very positive influence in these young mens’ lives.
For those of you that are unaware, these boys through the course of the year spent hundreds of hours lifting weights, at open gyms, at organized practices and meetings.
This year we have talked about many life lessons and issues far more important than basketball games, and I can tell you that this team is filled with some very quality young men who are going to win in life. Even though our number of wins was disappointing, I really believe our team has many winners and represented Mitchell well with their behavior on and off the court and in the classroom.
Finally, if there is any blame for the record, it needs to be put on me. These are high school kids who have no control who their coach is or that they don’t have a teammate like a Mike Miller or Bart Friederich or some other great impact player.
I know there was definitely an adjustment that the team had to make to me, and I appreciated how the boys accepted that and that they were respectful to me as the new coach.
I do want to thank the many members of the Mitchell community that have gone out of their way to show myself and the team their support with encouraging comments and cards.
I also want to thank the media, KMIT, Q107 and The Daily Republic for all the coverage, and also all those loyal Kernel fans who support all the young people in their activities. It really means a lot to them.
As I have told my boys many times this year, your self worth is not based on wins, and it is not as important in what they do, but who they are. They are quality young men, and I was privileged to get to know them.