Acknowledge your path

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In parenting and coaching, it is important to say “please,” “thank you” and “I’m sorry.” If your family or program is willing to use these three phrases, then success is attainable.

Too often people want something without saying “please.”  People do not say “thank you” enough because they choose or forget to realize their achievements are a direct result of someone fighting for them along the way. Then, if they realize that they did not say “please” or “thank you,” they often are unwilling or too stubborn to say, “I am sorry” for any mistakes that were made.

In order to get better, we need to take time to reflect and simply think how we have gotten to our current positions in life.

Aug. 18, 2017, would have been my friend Kamron Satterwhite’s 40th birthday. Unfortunately, Kamron is no longer with us. He died in a motorcycle accident 10 years ago. Kamron left behind two young children (Charles and Cole) and a wife (Keyonna). He was son to Sandy and Larry. He was a brother to Kim and Kristy. He was a friend and brother to so many more.

There have been many events in my life that have helped motivate, guide and mold me in a positive way. I would like to revisit one of those moments while remembering and honoring my friend.

At our high school we had an athletics period. Freshmen had first period athletics while older students had it sixth period. The first day of my freshman year I went to first period athletics with all my classmates. Suddenly I was called into the hallway and handed a new schedule. I was switched to sixth period athletics.

Basically this meant a few things. First, I was not going to have to worry about playing on the freshman team while wearing shorts that would help me sing soprano in the school choir. It also meant that I was at least moved up to the junior varsity basketball team.

When sixth period came later that day I nervously walked into the basketball locker room and was greeted with lasers shooting out of the eyes of each upperclassman. It may not have been exactly like that, but in my mind, at that moment, it was.

Coach Terral was the head coach. He came in the locker room to go over all the rules and the typical “first day” things. After our team meeting, Coach Terral asked us to write down five goals. I don’t remember all of my goals but I remember being pretty bland as if I was going to confession telling a priest that I said a bad word.

The one goal I do remember writing down was, “to be a starter on the junior varsity team.” We handed in our goal sheets to our coaches and waited to be called into the basketball office to meet about what we had written down.

My name was called and I could feel their disappointment as I walked into the office. They clearly expected more. They wanted to see if I was willing to be better. They wanted to see if I would fight for a position on varsity.

I walked out of the meeting timidly. Honestly, I felt I could start on varsity and not just play on varsity. Maybe it sounds cocky but I felt like I was good enough. However, I was not confident enough to say it. If I could not even say it, how was I going to show it?

Here is where my friend comes back into the story. Kamron and I left school together that day and headed to his house to play video games.

I told Kamron about my sixth period adventure. He looked directly at me and said, “You can make varsity and start every game the entire time we are in high school.” He went on to say how cool it would be to have me do just that. There was not an ounce of jealousy or typical high school animosity. He was being real and being a friend.

It clicked. My friend had my back. It was at that moment I remember thinking and speaking differently about my basketball future. That is a lot to take from a conversation between two 14-year-old boys. I went on to start every game I played on varsity until I tore my ACL my senior year.

This story is not about me and what jump started an attitude that helped me play college basketball. It is about the importance of being a friend. It is about the importance of wanting what is best for someone you care about. It is about listening to those who want what is best for you.

Take advantage of life’s moments. I never shared the importance of that conversation with Kamron. I may have mentioned it in some subtle way, but unfortunately he is not here for me to thank him as a man for something he did for me as a boy.

Please remember how you got to where you are. Truly thank the people who helped you get to where you are. Be willing to say you are sorry if you forgot to say please or thank you to those people who helped you get there anyway.

Brian Barone played basketball at Texas A&M University and Marquette University and holds a master’s degree in communications. He now coaches men’s basketball at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

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