Over the next two weeks, I’ll be adding some posts leading up to the release of my new men’s devotional at the end of the month. Let the countdown begin!
This week, the world of college basketball lost Dean Smith, legendary coach at the University of North Carolina whose tenure included guiding Michael Jordan, the greatest to play the game. I’m not a huge basketball guy, but I found myself reading the stories and response to Smith’s passing. In doing so, I found a valuable lesson in the untapped potential of men.
A phrase that kept coming up in the memories of Smith was, “a second father.” Many players stated he was the father they never had and they admired his influence. He was a man who taught his players beyond the hardwood. He valued skills that would apply into the world after college.
He graduated 96.6 percent of his players over a career of almost four decades, an impressive number that reflected how much he valued academics.
In 1967, he provided the first scholarship to an African-American basketball player in the University of North Carolina’s history. Imagine this move in the midst of a state, place, and time still dealing with segregation.
As men, what can we learn from Smith’s life?
Our reach expands wider than we know. Even if you aren’t a coach, you will influence the life of a young person out there. It can be your children, family members, or the children of friends. You have a daily chance to make a difference. Reach out, Talk. Take action. Share your passion with a young person in need. Being a father is one of the greatest blessings in life. Being known as a “second father,” is just as high of a calling and one you shouldn’t miss.
Push your boundaries. Legends take root in breaking ground. They do things faster, stronger, and better than anyone before. Smith, in shattering the racial lines at his basketball program, was working to pave the way towards a new future. How could this look for us? Find an outreach, charity, or volunteer opportunity. It can be down the highway, the block, or at the corner. Push yourself and you’ll be amazed at what happens.
Two final thoughts to remember from Coach Smith himself as you progress through your week:
“The most important thing in good leadership is truly caring.”
“There’s a point in every contest when sitting on the sidelines is not an option.”