Who are you packing a suitcase for today?

By BY MARK H. STOWERS FOR THE E-T,

Good Mornin’! Good Mornin’!

Who would you pack a suitcase for?

March Madness has waned with the Cavaliers of Virginia taking the Trophy home but not before plenty of twists and turns with Auburn and Texas Tech giving a great chase for the title.

One of my favorite teams to win it all was the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack. Led by the late Jim Valvano the team’s mantra of “Survive and Advance” was captured in an ESPN 30 for 30 presentation.

Years ago, I caught up with Jimmy’s little brother, Robert or Bob who had a front row seat to the whole event. I asked him how this fire was lit amongst them?

Where did the passion come from that amped up their players?

He told me it was hereditary. Their dad, Rocco, taught them to believe in themselves because he most certainly did.

Bob told me his brother kept a running pack of 3x5 cards in his pocket of his life’s goals and dreams.

“They were all sorts of things,” Bob Valvano said. “He wanted to have a Cadillac. He wanted to be on the Tonight Show. He wanted to do a whole bunch of things and one of them was win a national championship.”

Rocco got wind of the list and noted the national championship goal of his middle son. He invited him to his home and took him upstairs to his bedroom and asked his son what he saw. There was suitcase. But Jimmy didn’t know why his dad was making a big deal out of it.

“He (Rocco) said, ‘I want you to know that you told me your dream is to win a national championship. And I’m here to tell you that if that’s really what you want, son, I believe you’re going to do it. And I’m going to come with you. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go because it will happen.’ And Jimmy said that is the most powerful thing that people who are important in our lives do. Simply tell us ‘I believe in you. I believe you have goodness in you, I believe you might have greatness in you. And I’m here for you.’ And that’s a powerful thing and he did that for all of us,” Bob said. “Jim took that message and tried to impart that on his family and on his teams. And I think he did a pretty good job of it.”

Our youngest daughter, Anna, takes to the junior varsity tennis courts this week. It’s her first real athletic competition outside of cheerleading where she’s won medals and awards. I keep telling her I believe in her and I do. Now I’m not expecting much more than an I Love Lucy episode with her doubles partner in the first outing but I want to keep the passion and competitive spirit and will to get better alive. So, I’m packing a suitcase so to speak – snacks and water and whatever else she’ll need on this athletic journey.

Who are you packing a suitcase for today? Let them know and encourage the heck out of them!

 

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