Andre grew up in Detroit and not in the best of circumstances. But he had mentors who helped him along the way. Basketball enabled him to go to university and after obtaining a degree in child psychology he taught elementary school for a few years where he mentored others. Definitely a "Pay it Forward" sort of thing.
I met the CEO and an owner of the Halifax Rainmen, Andre Levingston a few months ago when the American Basketball Association set up a pro team in Halifax. He was in doing interviews with a sister station who are sponsors of the team. Andre is a stiking figure, handsome and always well dressed, and has an air of confidence that immediately makes YOU feel good. And what's more, he is an inspiring human being. He inspires his players to not only play a game, but to be really involved in the community
As a university student I attended every single home game the St. F.X. X-men played. Basketball can be a very exciting sport when everyone is on their game. I especially enjoyed the interaction of the players, the passes, set-ups, and change-overs. I even dressed up like one of the players for Hallowe'en one year (we had the same hair style and I added a moustache).
Like basketball, MS is a team sport. An individual may be a star player but he needs the team to help him score. With MS, you need a team to help you. We've got neuros and docs, nurses and physio and occupational therapists who all contribute to our ability to play the game. We have life partners, children and parents who coach us and lead the cheers to keep us going. We have extended family and friends on the internet who can encourage us from afar, almost like we're on a road game and getting a telegram from home.
We have team mates who pass us info, like the players passing the ball. And we have owners, who, like researchers, are always looking for the best outcome for the team.
Like basketball where players have multiple roles, sometimes going from defense to offense, we as MSers have multiple roles. We are sometimes the star, sometimes a passer, and sometimes the owner. Sometimes we win a game, sometimes we have to suck it up and admit defeat, just like those stupid relapses we have.
My favourite quote from Andre: "Basketball is going to come to an end one day but you can be a good man for the rest of your life."
Like Andre said, basketball's going to come to an end one day. MS will be cured one day. Here's hoping that when it does we can take what lessons we've learned from the sport to lead great lives.