Danny's Impact On His Players
The lesson I learned in my life that I will want to share with others is that if you open a pack of Starburst and the first one is red, good luck has come upon you. This lesson was taught to me by a coach and mentor Danny Craige. He told all the kids of St. Bede’s CYO basketball that if we would open up a pack of Starburst and the top was red, we would win our game. This lesson has stuck with me for the last six years since I first heard his message.
Mr. Craige used to run an intramural basketball program for kindergarten to third grade students at St. Bede’s on Saturday mornings. Players on the JV (5th and 6th grade) and varsity (7th and 8th grade) travel teams would have to participate to help the little kids with the fundamentals of basketball. I took on this responsibility from 6th to 8th grade. Early Saturday morning, I would roll out of bed and trudge into the car half asleep because I normally had a game late Friday night. I used to think it was a punishment to have to go to these clinics. At the end of every clinic, Mr. Craige would bring all of the kids in to the middle of the gym and that is where I first heard the lesson about the red Starburst. While I will always remember what he had to say about Starburst, what I really took to heart were Mr. Craige’s lessons on life. He would first say to get better at basketball the kids had to practice at home and not only at these Saturday clinics. More importantly, Mr. Craige talked about respecting the game, your family, and God. Giving back to others and the community were the key things that he stressed. These words probably did not get through to the younger kids, but they spoke to me and I will never forget them.
Sadly, Mr. Craige passed away from cancer but that did not stop his words from continuing to impact my life. I knew one way to keep his legacy and words going. I would to continue going back to the Saturday morning clinics, even though I was not required to. What I once thought was punishment became one of my favorite things to do. Every Saturday morning, I would jump out of bed and make my way over to the gym to help the younger kids. Seeing the look on a little kids face after making their jump shot and the excitement they showed toward basketball made it that much more fun. Due to my volunteer work in the St. Bede’s community, I was awarded the Danny Craige Spirit Award in 2008 by the Danny Craige Foundation. This award is given to individuals who embody Mr. Craige’s spirit of community service. It was a great honor to receive this award.
I know a pack of Starburst should not represent the core values of Villanova but it is amazing that as a senior in high school you can open up a pack of Starburst before a game see red, smile and remember. It is funny listening to younger kids tell the same stories of Mr. Craige. They will tell not only the story about the Starburst but also the importance of loving God, family and yourself. Just to help with your decision, I just opened a pack of Starburst - reds on top.