Friday, August 9, 2013

Clyde Turner's Educational Basketball Camp

I had fun in the last thirty hours. Please indulge me and let me tell you what happened. On Thursday after my acupuncture appointment, I ran a few errands. One of them was to stop off at the OfficeMax store and get a new printer cartridge. I found my printer but could not locate the printer cartridges.

So, I wandered around the store looking for someone to help me. I got back by their copy area and waited my turn for the next available employee. She happened to be helping a large, black man who I recognized as Clyde. Remind you; Clyde is hard to miss. He is six feet nine inches tall and casts a large shadow.

Clyde played for the University of Minnesota in the early seventies with Jim Brewer, Ron Behagan, Corky Taylor and Dave Winfield, among others. That team won the 1972 BIG 10 Championship. They were fun to watch!  Bill Musselman was their coach and did a fun, choreographed pregame show to "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Keep The Ball Rollin'" which filled Williams Arena well before game time just to watch the show.

When I coached at Golden Valley Lutheran College, Phil Saunders had us doing that same routine at our home games in a tiny gymnasium that was packed an hour before tip-off. If you had tickets to Golden Gopher games back then, you know what I am talking about.

I am getting off task again! Meanwhile, back to OfficeMax and the copy center. When the woman came out from behind the counter to help me get my printer cartridge, she was standing about five feet from Clyde. I told her I had two things I needed help with. The first one was if she knew Clyde Turner played basketball for the Gophers back in the early seventies? I heard he could still play! Of course, I said it loud enough so he could hear me. You should have seen the look he gave me. It was precious!

He said, "I know Clyde Turner."

I acted surprised and replied,  "Clyde, you're Clyde!"

"No, I'm his twin brother."

I said, "I didn't know Clyde had a twin brother."

Clyde replied, "He doesn't, I am Clyde."

He was playing me just like I was playing with him. It was a great exchange, something I will never forget. He told me I looked familiar. Then I told him I had spoken at his camp several years ago. In reality, I spoke at its camps twice in 1994! He remembered my visits.

We started talking and I gave him my book to show him the picture of the Golden Valley Lutheran College Royals the first season I was one of their assistant coaches in 1977. He was pleased to see all four of the coaches as he knew all four of us. It was another one of those fun exchanges I have all the time.

He told me he was having a camp right now and was ending today at 4 PM with the parents coming for an award ceremony. I asked him if you would like to let me say a few words to close their ceremony. He said that would be great!

So this afternoon about 2:30, I went up to the Phillips Community Center, sat in on the last hour and a half of camp, gave a little motivational speech, talked about Clyde and all he has accomplished outside of basketball, told how valuable a mentor and coach he was, discussed the staff and their commitment to helping these young people improve their basketball skills, and ultimately their attitudes towards life. He has been running his summer camps for twenty-seven years, and has more than ten thousand young people attend those camps!

I found out he had speakers all week long from the business, education and medical fields coming in and talking to the campers about being successful in a chosen field. I really like how he incorporates the educational component into his basketball camp. They learn basketball skills, but more importantly, they learn life skills.

I even got to play with one of the coach/counselors and ended up giving him my ATTITUDE pin! It has been a fun last thirty hours! I truly believe some learning took place.

I look forward to your comments.



1 comment:

Ruona said...

Clyde the Glide. Do II remember him? You bet. I remember his turn around fade away jumpers from the baseline. What a sweet shot. Great memories. Thanks for bringing them back. Ruona