“What’s your name, immature man? Gimme five,” a soaring figure asked, fluctuating a enormous palm and nod me during a front doorway of a gymnasium, lucent a megawatt smile.
“Mike?” he replied. “I’m Meadowlark. Welcome to Camp Meadowlark!”
That was my introduction to a legend, Meadowlark Lemon, some 25 years ago, when a many famous member of a Harlem Globetrotters brought his stay to my home city of Warrenton, Va. I’d seen a gorgeous basketball antics of a Harlem Globetrotters on TV, though this was my initial in-the-flesh assembly with a “Clown Prince of Basketball.”
Meadowlark Lemon usually slapped me five! we remember thinking. I’m certain any one of a other campers had a same thoughts, given Lemon – who on Sunday died during a age of 83 – waited there during a opening of Fauquier High gymnasium and greeted any one of us a same way.
A brief time later, we watched in awe as Lemon opened a morning with a dizzying ball-handling display, defeat it around his head, rolling it off his shoulders, down one arm, adult a other, spinning it off his fingers before capping it all off by swishing a half-court offshoot shot.
That week-long stay still stands out as one of my fondest childhood memories.
It didn’t coax me on to a NBA, or even a noted high propagandize or college career. But we substantially gained something some-more profitable from Lemon in a grand intrigue of things.
While we schooled profitable basketball skills and a significance of tough work, it became clear that we can’t do all those imagination things with a basketball though hours of practice.
Yes, we schooled how to spin a basketball and how to make a offshoot shot.
But many importantly, Meadowlark Lemon taught me how critical it is to provide people with affability and respect.
He’d ramble from one skills hire to another and it always seemed like he’d concentration on a child that maybe wasn’t a many fluid, or many dynamic. If that child done a shot, or finally mastered a doctrine of that station, he’d extol them as if they were a biggest star of a whole camp.
He’d lay with us during lunchtime, revelation basketball stories, seeking a stories and listen intently. we don’t consider there was ever a day in which we didn’t have during slightest a brief conversation. That’s no easy charge for any male when there are a integrate of hundred kids to speak to. But Lemon did it.
As associate camper Derek Goode – a crony we met during a stay and still sojourn in hit with currently – pronounced progressing Monday when we reminisced about that week with Meadowlark, “The one thing that sticks out in my mind about Meadowlark Lemon was a approach he done we feel like we were a many critical chairman in a room. As a immature man, he helped teach confidence, not usually in my game, though in myself. The approach he treated people stranded with me given that initial stay we attended. I’ve attempted to counterpart his actions in my life ever given those basketball camps in Warrenton so prolonged ago.”
I second that.
So, whenever we hear “Globetrotters,” we consider Meadowlark, a grin and high-fives he’d give me, a hearten we got from him when we sank a burst shot during a skills station, and how critical he done me feel. And his example, joined with a many others from a certain influences in my life, creates me wish to be a improved person — to provide people as a special beings that any of them are.
Lemon – who by that time in his life during that time in his career was an consecrated apportion and in further to his camps ran a nonprofit evangelistic classification – also had another critical summary that he attempted to pass on to anyone who would listen.
God has all given us gifts, so use them to a best of a ability, Meadowlark would preach. Work tough to rise those skills, whatever they might be, he said. Lemon’s gifts were apparently basketball and a ability to make people laugh. He directed to use those gifts to a fullest to impact lives. And he nailed it, usually like his half-court offshoot shots.