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PERSON OF THE WEEK

My basketball career began in the first grade with a purple jersey, white shorts, white knee-high socks with two purple stripes each, and I hope white and not purple Converse All-Stars (can’t remember that part of my statement-making, intimidation-producing ensemble). Despite my embarrassing uniform, my grandfather, Kenneth Hope, was always–without fail–at every single game with a paper bag over his head.

Okay, maybe he didn’t have anything on his head, but he did have something in his shirt pocket and something else in his pants pocket. In his shirt pocket he carried a mini spiral notebook–you know, those 2 1/2 by 4 inch note pads with spiral bindings on top. That’s because my grampa was my personal statistician. Throughout the game he wrote down on that pad all my points, free throw attempts and makes, assists, rebounds, and steals. In his pants pocket he had a few one dollar bills and some loose change. After the game he’d calculate my earnings, adding 10 cents per point and subtracting 25 cents per missed free throw. Then he’d reach into his pocket, pull out some cash and coins, and make my day.

He had a similar system for when I was pitching in Little League baseball–always in the stands even on the hottest of Texas afternoons (one heat stroke to prove it!). He travelled with my AAU basketball teams on all of our trips, whether we played in San Antonio, TX, Kingsport, TN, Salt Lake City, UT, Tulsa, OK, or Orlando, FL. He was always in the stands for all my high school basketball games, and he even made several trips to Henderson, TN, when I was playing ball at Freed-Hardeman University.

In short, Grampa Hope has always been interested in my success and involved in my life. That’s why he’s the Person of the Week. And more importantly, that’s why he’s the best grandfather a kid (or grown up) could ever have.

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  1. December 15, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I love this, Daniel! Is he still alive? I hope so…and I know he is so very proud of you!

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