Shaka Smart and fatherhood...

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Sports is always about fatherhood, especially when African Americans are the players. It's one of the reasons I started watching and reading about sports a decade ago after having no interest for the first fifty years. Here's a piece that's, can I use the word 'sweet'? What keeps Shaka Smart at VCU?

A teaser...

"My coach left for a new job after my freshman year, and I remember just crying for like three days," Smart said. "I was 19 and lost because this guy, my father figure, just left. And, honestly, that's one of the reasons I've stayed at VCU. It factors into my mind. It really does. What happened to me is a factor."

Upon telling me this, Smart glanced at VCU's practice court.

Some players were getting up extra shots.

"Like that kid right there … that was me," Smart said while pointing at one of his nine players who was raised without a father. "That kid is here because of me just like I was at Kenyon because of my coach. So I know what it's like for a coach who is your father figure to leave, and I understand, maybe better than most, how me leaving will affect more than just me and my family. So when I get asked that question -- 'Why do you stay at VCU? -- and I get asked that question all the time, the school-pride answer is that this is the place to be, that we really, really like it here, that we've been to a Final Four, that we're building this great practice facility, that the program is on the rise. And that's all true. But, in addition to that, there is also what happened to me in my experience as a player. I cried for three days and felt lost. I still remember what it was like when my coach left."

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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