Basketball Things to Be Thankful for at Thanksgiving

Seeing that High School Basketball started yesterday and Thanksgiving Day is this Thursday, I am going to list somethings we should be thankful for at Thanksgiving.

The first thing we all should be thankful for is that basketball really helps us get thru the long Maine Winter Season. It gives us something to look forward to and to be able to not get Cabin Fever and it certainly makes the winter go faster.

We should be thankful for the Bangor Auditorium which has served the Eastern Maine Area so well for 57 Tournament years with all thoos exciting tournament games.

High school basketball coaches ought to thank all those volunteer basketball coaches that coach during the MPA Sports Season Policy Rule who coached this fall as they provide hours of their own time volunteerring to give the middle school and high school players a chance to play during the fall in MBR, Maine Hoops, YBOA, MB Nation and the MAC.

Thanks to all those travel team coaches that provide basketball for the more advanced skille. There are nearly 100 teams in the Eastern Maine Travel league that is run by Chris Caldwell of Hampden.

This league have travel teams into 3 divisions. Boys and Girls 3-4, 5-6 and 7-8. They play their games on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 weeks ago into February.

Thanks all those officials who work these games for a reduced rate then they work for during the regular season.

The next thing I would like personally to thank the 28 board 111 officials who volunteered this past June to work the lst Annual Clark Noonan Tournament that was held at the Recreation Center at UMaine.

These 28 officials voluntarilly covered all 47 games of this very successful event that raised the money to develop a scholarship for a Bangor High school Athlete in the name of Clark Noonan, who was tragically died in such a tragic automible accident this past spring.

I’m thankful that I got to know Clark personally during the spring of his Junior year at Bangor High School.

He was an outstanding basketball player at Bangor High and was in his sophomore year at St. Joseph’s College at Standish.

As good an athlete and basketball player as Clark was, he was an even better human being of high character. He was humble, polite and always was thinking about others. A real great role model and teammate and friend.

I’m personally thankful for my lifelong friend of over 60 plus years, Bob Kelley of Veazie, the former outstanding and extremely successful baseball coach at Bangor High School.

He gave so much to the youth of Bangor during his 40 years as a physical education teacher/coach in the Bangor School System.

He volunteered to help me run the Bangor Y Tryouts for their inhouse basketball program for this coming season.

I am thankful that I had the chance to play for my Husson College coach, the late Del Merrill, who took a chance on a no name high school basketball player and gave me the chance to develop into a successful college player.

I am thankful for my junior high physical education and basketball coach, Frank Charbonneau who was the person that got me trult interested to go into teaching and coaching by the example he set, in teaching those life lessons and life skills that cannot be taught in the academic classrooms.

I would be remised if I did not thank the late John Coombs who was the physical education director at the Bangor YMCA who hired Bob Kelley and I to ref Church League Basketball Games at the Y on Saturdays when we were in high school and hiring us to work Summers at Camp Webber (Camp Prentiss). We also worked during the school year at the Y teaching PE Classes and in the cage room handing out gym baskets to Y Members.

Bob and I were able to put ourselves thru College by working at the Bangor YMCA.

I am very thankful for all the basketball players that played for me over the years. They made my job easy, fun and worthwhile.

I am thankful for all the middle school, freshmen, JV and Assistant Coaches that worked for my programs at Fort Fairfield, Orono, Bangor and John Bapst.

I am thankful for the game of basketball, which allowed me to get involved as a coach, in order to teach the life skills and life lessons that cannot be taught or learned in the academic classrooms.

I am thankful for the over 50 plus players that put up with me who went into coaching. They were the ones that made me know I was a succesful coach because they wanted to go into coaching, not the wins and championships.

I have been involved with the game since I started playing as a second grader at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, 68 years ago.

I am thankful of still being physically able to be involved actively with the game by still officiate basketball at my age.

I am thankful to the Bangor Daily News and their sports editor, Joe McGlaughlin for allowing me to write my basketball column and the Basketball Blog.

Saving the best to thank for last, I am extremely thankful for my wife, Judy, of 53 years, who has put up with all the things a basketball coaches, basketball official snd athletic director wife has to put up with…..the late meals….the late hours….the late and early phone calls….being alone so much….being so supportive….suffering the loses with me….Thank you dear.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to all the basketball people out there, be it coaches, players, fans, parents, officials, etc.