A big reason why I was so drawn to the Victory Scholar program was because of the community involvement aspect. When I came to Ireland, it was very important for me to not just be a visitor, but an actual member of the community. Coaching at Maynooth has provided me with the ability to not only work with hundreds of kids int the area, but it has also allowed me to get to know them at a personal level. I coach several different classes at different schools, as well as help at the Maynooth Basketball Academy, and I have really enjoyed spreading the love of the game of basketball. The kids are such great listeners, and although some have never played basketball before, they are willing to learn and try something new.
This past week we hosted a two day Halloween Basketball Camp, and I was so impressed with the turnout. There were almost 40 kids in both the morning session for primary school kids, and the afternoon session for secondary school kids involved in a club. Many of the kids at the camp came from the Academy and the schools I coach at, so I was able to see first hand how much the kids are enjoying the sports and how they want to get better. Jim Walsh and I were fortunate enough to be joined by Stephanie Schmid and Tim Stewart from the Portlaoise Panthers and Nabil Murad, who is a very experienced coach in Ireland.
Although I am spreading the game of basketball, I feel as if my impact off the court is equally as large on the court. I have gotten to know so many kids in the area, especially from the Academy, and I have seen them grow not only as players, but as people. They are listening and following instructions better; this is one of the many reasons not just just basketball, but sports are so important. Kids use what the learn on the court and can apply it off the court. Sports help with confidence, teamwork, work ethic, and overall attitude. Of course I want to be a great coach while I am in Ireland, but it is equally, if not more important that I am a role model to these great kids. I have had some great coaches during my career, and if I can be half the coach and role models that they are, I will be a success. Basketball is truly larger than a sport, which is why I want to be more than just a coach.