As you probably know, Dean Smith recently passed away. He was part of my childhood. Being raised in and around North Carolina in the 60’s & 70’s, I was an avid fan of the UNC Tarheels. I started following them when Charlie Scott was a player and continued to follow them for many years with many stars. The stars were fun to watch, but it was the team concept that was most intriguing. Sometimes, it didn’t seem to matter who was playing, they still won. Some of my favorite years were those when most of the “good players” left and they were picked to finish way down in the conference. More often that not, they still won.
I fully realize many of you may be “ABC” fans…Anyone But Carolina…, but it is not my intention to talk Coach Dean Smith. However, I do want to say just a few words about Dean Smith, the man.
Dean Smith’s qualities has been well documented over recent days. He was a caring man, who had an extraordinary memory for names and faces, who kept up with all his players, not just the stars even after they had graduated. He was a humble man who left the basketball court quickly on the night he became the all-time leader in wins because he didn’t want the attention. He was a kind and considerate man who stopped fans behind the goals from screaming and shouting when and opposing player was shooting a foul shot because he considered it unsportsmanlike. He was a man of equality and justice when he was the first in the entire state to integrate not only his team, but other establishments in the area as well. In short, he was a man of integrity. He was not perfect and I don’t agree with all he believed, but I respected him. You may not like his teams, but in truth, we all had to respect him.
I read a book this winter that has caused me to reevaluate what should be important in our lives. In an age of narcissism, chest pumping, selfies, “see what I have done” mentality, this book drew me to a simple verse in Galatians 5:22-23. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…..” It reminded me that our lives should not be about us and how great we are. In very simple terms it calls us to be a good person. In our hearts, we all know what that means.
I believe Dean Smith was a good man and that is my goal as well. Instead of judging others, I need to be loving; instead of looking for power, I should be seeking gentleness; instead of worry, I need to show joy; instead of impatience, I need to be more longsuffering; Instead of thinking of myself, I just need to be a good man and recognize that means thinking of others first.
I hope this translates into Hemlock Inn as well in the way we welcome and serve our guests. We want to provide peace and comfort to all who visit here. It starts with me but it is about how we treat you.
We hope to see you this season.