Watching the Thunder coaching staff at today’s Thunder Fit Clinic, presented by Homeland, it’s easy to forget that these are the guys who put on the suits, sit on the sidelines and tell some of the best basketball players in the world how to play the game.
What you are reminded of, though, is that these guys were kids once, too.
The coaches, including Head Coach Scott Brooks, and other basketball staffers guided a gymful of fourth- and fifth-graders at West Nichols Hills Elementary through shooting and defense drills, dribbling skills, cardio exercises and nutrition lessons earlier this morning.
For anyone in that kind of environment who enjoys engaging with kids, it’s not too long before you turn into a kid yourself – and that’s true even of this fairly elite group of basketball professionals.
Most of the world see these coaches as the guys who shout instructions to players, who talk with brows furrowed to the refs, who sketch out the critical plays before the buzzer and talk to the press in serious tones about what went right – or wrong.
The students today got a very different view of this group of men.
They saw the guys who passed them the ball and gave them a high-five when they made a good play, who cracked up when a student delivered a good one-liner, who asked them what they ate for breakfast that day, who clapped and cheered them on as they took turns jogging around a circle of students and coaches.
They saw the guys who, for a couple of hours, could have been kids again. And watching them, you remember suddenly that when these guys were kids, someone had to teach them how to dribble, and for a while they probably weren’t very good at it. Someone had to teach them how to eat right, how to put their hands up on defense, how to do a jumping jack and how to shoot.
Like the students today, all those coaches started somewhere – probably in a gym very much like this one. And it would have taken them a while to imagine they’d someday be showing other people how to play the game.
The fun and the joy the coaches get out of a day like today has to be seen to be believed. Fortunately, we’ve got some video:
- Karina Henderson