Today was the 2nd Annual "Anthony Smith Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament played at Concordia Church in Kirkwood. It had rained for 3 straight weeks, but today it was sunny and warm. . . coincidence? . . . Kudos to Jeremy Jones and Ben Woolf and to all the volunteers that helped make today so special. For me, it was a thrill to see so many former Kirkwood Basketball Players together again. I'm really proud of each and every one of these guys and it felt great seeing them. Crazy how you instantly recall so many things about them. . . how they shoot, their favorite moves, etc . . . It was also great to see the current KHS kids as well as the youngsters. Pictured is Anthony's twin brother, Antoine, and his sister Crystal. I'm so proud of the man that Antoine's become, and know his brother is, too.It's great when you can get a celebrity to show up at your event. It can be tough, though. They want a "fee" or only want to sit at a table and sign a few autographs. Not today. Today, Kirkwood's own Jeremy Maclin shows up AND GLADLY WORKS!!! He did a great job refereeing the games and was encouraging to all the kids. He congratulated each player following each game, then posed for pictures with each team. (Teams aren't supposed to want to get their picture taken with the REF!!!) We're proud of all Jeremy has accomplished, and love watching him play for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, but we're most proud of his willingness to "come home" and just be a part of the community. It was also great to see one of Jeremy's older brothers, and former KHS hoopers, Roshon, refereeing. I watched one of his games, and he made every correct call. He did a great job of making sure the kids had a chance to play a fair game. Roshon, GREAT JOB!!!
It was a great tournament, and there was intense competition, but I was impressed at the positive and encouraging coaching that was going on, especially with the younger kids. Too many times, you hear "coaches" yelling at players, getting upset, and taking the game way too seriously. Today, the coaches were gentlemen, emphasized sportsmanship, and taught the kids great lessons. I overheard Cecil Jones tell his players, at the end of their game, "OK, now the game's over, go back to being friends." Great advice, Cecil!
I realized that there are a couple of things I could watch forever, and never tire of. . . Chris Pirtle's fade away, Chris Pirtle's crossover, (ok, ANYTHING Chris Pirtle does with a basketball) Antoine Smith elevating to grab a rebound, Cody Green's up-and-under move, Natalie Fryrear when she's on fire behind the 3, little kids with a basketball, Jeremy laughing with friends. . .
What a great day. . .