I recently had the opportunity to be the Coaching for Literacy (CFL) honorary guest with the University of Kansas men’s basketball team. My great friend, Dave Enenbach, joined me for the game day experience, as our Kansas Jayhawk basketball team took on Baylor in a very meaningful Big 12 conference matchup. It was fantastic!
Upon our arrival, a team manager greeted us and after we changed into our Kansas Jayhawk CFL knit-polos he gave us a tour of the facilities. We were able to see the team’s practice gym, the coaches’ office area, the players’ locker room, equipment area, film room, and lounges. All of this was impressive enough, but I want to highlight the fact that each player’s locker does not just have his name over the locker, but instead there is a digital display above each locker with a picture of the player and some individual statistics to make it look even more impressive. The hallway that the players use to get from the locker room to the court was also incredible. One wall displays the current NBA jerseys of former players. Interestingly, if a player gets traded the old jersey comes down and the new one goes up. The opposite wall showcases all of the Sports Illustrated editions with Kansas basketball covers, a lot of those grace the walls! Included among the collections were the placards of All-Americans, Academic All-Americans, championships, and a huge tribute to Wilt Chamberlain. The hallway then funnels into a circular room, where the players gather just before taking the floor. In that room are the national championship trophies, with room for additional ones!
Our seats were immediately behind the bench and two rows up from the team. I mention that we were two rows up because it was the returning NBA player game, and the players who were able to make it were right in front of us. The basketball game itself was great! We could hear Coach Self discussing strategies during timeouts and making adjustments during live action. After the game we had our picture taken with Head Coach Bill Self and headed home, content with a win and thrilled with our unique experience.
My contribution to Coaching for Literacy is directed to the United Way of Douglas County, where Lawrence and the University of Kansas are located. Dave (class of ‘81) and I (class of ‘79) are both privileged to be alumni of the University of Kansas and are blessed to work each day in occupations that support our families. We understand the importance of having the tools it takes to turn reading into learning and learning into understanding. We both rely on our ability to read and understand almost every minute of the day. During our car ride from Kansas City to Lawrence we conversed about how incomprehensible the concept of not being able to read is for us and how much we take for granted the skill to read. I have friends who volunteer their time to fight illiteracy. They tell me about how the illiteracy issue is ageless, genderless, and race-neutral. I hope my contribution helps fight this problem of illiteracy in Douglas County, Kansas.
I want to mention what a pleasure it has been getting to know Ryan Viner of CFL. People like him make organizations like CFL happen. Great work! I would like to close by adding one thing that I know about illiteracy: there is a direct correlation between the ability to read and a critical element in each person’s life: self-esteem. CFL is working to provide people with a proper sense of self-esteem by giving them the tools necessary to read and succeed. I would like to thank the University of Kansas, Coach Bill Self, his Administrative Assistant Joanie Stephens, and Coaching for Literacy for this wonderful opportunity.
Andrew Sigler is resident of Kansas City, Missouri and an alumnus of the University of Kansas. Andrew currently serves as a wealth management advisor with UBS Financial.
CONTACT: Ryan Viner | 901.410.3633 | firstname.lastname@example.org