I graduated from McLane High School in Fresno, California over 20 years ago. I was lucky enough to play varsity basketball there for three years. This Thanksgiving I want to send thanks to my high school basketball coach Conrad Sanborn, for all he did for me those many years ago.
Coach Sanborn had a huge impact on my life. He took a chance on me by making me the only sophomore on the varsity team. Coach told me that I had earned the spot and that he believed in me. This terrific man showed me unfailing kindness on and off the court.
Coach Sanborn was never the kind of coach that screamed, yelled and cussed at his team. He displayed a quiet confidence with his players and he had a remarkable ability to calm my nerves when the game was on the line. I was unbelievably shy, but the coach helped me overcome that shyness. Coach Sanborn gave me the chance to lead the team as a point guard and a team captain. He helped me to develop those leadership skills that would come in handy later in life when I became a police officer.
Some of the words of advice I received from Coach Sanborn still stay with me today. He encouraged me to always try to make an effort at whatever I wanted to do, even if I didn’t think I could do it. He pointed out to me that I was my own worst critic and I needed to give myself a break. He made it clear that he cared when I really needed to know that someone cared.
I tried my hand at writing a little poem about a basketball game we won, and Coach Sanborn put it up on his classroom wall. That poem remained on the wall until he retired many years later. It is with complete sincerity that I send Coach Sanborn my thanks for all he did for me and his many players over the years.