First off, shout out to my Alma mater Pikeville College, with a motto that I embrace and live by today (which I used as the title for this particular blog)! I hope Florence and I are making you all proud as we represent you the very best and most professional way we can!
I purchased a brand new portable outdoor basketball goal for the Crisis Nursery of the Children’s Home Society of Florida today. I can’t wait to deliver it. Members of the Flight will be dropping it off and hanging out with the kids this Saturday morning, February 26th. For those who might be unaware, we did a mini-clinic and hung out with the kids at the Crisis Nursery a few months ago. We arrived only to see what I would consider a horrible excuse for a basketball goal, which was held up by rope, bungee cords and, towards the end, Rabon Smith (our General Manager), so that we could actually play a game (thanks Rabon)!
As a kid of humble resources growing up on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan, basketball was a tool that helped me escape from the borderline poverty I endured. It also kept me off the streets and out of trouble while many of my peers were robbing stores, selling drugs, and committing senseless acts of violence simply because they were bored and thought it was cool. If you are unfamiliar with the Children’s Home Society, it’s a placement home for children pulled from their current living conditions, oftentimes against their will and away from their parent(s) due to tragic and unfortunate circumstances.
Hopefully, this new basketball goal will give the kids at the Crisis Nursery a means to forget about their current situation for a little bit and have fun as kids – like it’s supposed to be! Events like this define who we are and what we are about – “Utilizing the platform of professional basketball to invest in the lives of others.” This is the heart and soul of the Flight!
I also got the opportunity to attend the Rotary Club of Avalon Park meeting last night at Davis Bakery in downtown Avalon. I finally got to meet Tim McKinney of United Global Outreach, whose organization is heavily involved in the Bithlo area of east Orlando (just outside of the Avalon Park Community). Bithlo is an impoverished community in desperate need of some attention and involvement. With the help of Tim McKinney, United Global Outreach, River Run Christian Church, and many others, I hope to make Bithlo an adopted community of the Flight. I believe there is much that we can do in Bithlo to invest in that community.
I sit at my desk every day working earnestly on the Florida Flight. We are a professional basketball team, but I am so much more driven by the outreach opportunities this sports business provides than by the basketball aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I love creating opportunities for players and people with an undying love and passion for basketball…players whom I believe are “intricately designed and equipped by God” to play basketball for a living. I love the fact that God has rewarded my efforts and determination to overcome what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles to arrive at the place where I am in my life right now – particularly within the realm of professional basketball. I love everything about what I am able to do, but it’s the investing part that makes this so sweet. All of my life, I just wanted someone to believe enough to invest in me. Knowing full well how difficult it is to wait for that investment to come from someone else, I enjoy, more than anything, being in a position where I can find IMMEDIATE opportunities to invest in people waiting patiently with faint hearts just like I was. I love seeing needs and brainstorming ways to make an immediate difference.
The truth is, I’d do this for free. Well…actually…if we take the financial numbers from last season into account, I pretty much “paid” to do this. My hope and my faith tells me that this season will be a different story. People are finally getting off the fence that they were on, waiting to see if we held true to our mission and vision, and buying tickets (even charitable tickets donatable to others like CHS kids), purchasing Flight Boosters and sponsorships, and telling others about our team (which is oftentimes just as valuable). I pitched this to people, business and community leaders as a venture led by someone WITHOUT a million dollars, but with a MILLION DOLLAR VISION. Today, we enter year two with much promise and opportunity, and it is because of the many people (from within the Central Florida communities AND from long distances) who have shown their undying love and support. We have by no means crossed the finish line, but we are heading swiftly in the right direction. Please continue to pray, bless, encourage and support us in whatever way you feel led, compelled, or are able!
Thanks everyone! I hope you are having a great week!
Until next time…