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April 9, 2013

HUNTER: AIA, FCA events inspirational

IU coach Crean receives award

SELLERSBURG — I headed down to Atlanta last Friday to work the weekend for Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They have coaches forums, the Legends Breakfast and a luncheon that I volunteer with each year when possible.

I arrived and Indiana University men’s basketball coach Tom Crean is name dropping me to my friends now, I guess.

Still surreal that you can say you actually “know” someone that is pretty famous.

It’s not like he is the President of the United States. But in Indiana, that is pretty cool to me.

I don’t have any players that he recruited, I am not someone who can get him anything that he doesn’t already have, and he takes the time to know me.

Now in “knowing” him, it isn’t like I have access to get autographs, pictures, or any other type of contact. So in knowing him, it’s not like we are grilling out or anything, but we are ... um ... acquaintances.

Crean saw my head coach from this past summer when I went on a mission trip with Athletes in Action, and he told Kelly Combs that he knew who he was because he went to Indonesia with me.

He mentioned me by name. Many of my friends get tired of my talking about Crean.

But I don’t care. No, really, I don’t.

At the coaches forum that night hosted by AIA, I was able to meet Lecrae. Lecrae is a Christian rapper.

I know what you are saying ... Christian rap?

It can’t be any good. Well, I would tell you to go to YouTube and type in Lecrae and “Take me as I am” or “Tell the World” and listen to those songs. You can listen to any of his music, but those are two of my favorites and his message is something that younger people can relate to through his music.

The next morning was The Legends Breakfast that is used by AIA and FCA to recognize one coach per year who has lived a Christ-like life.

The winner this year was Dick Bennett, the former men’s basketball coach at Wisconsin and Washington State as well as other schools in Wisconsin.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy attended and I was able to catch him in the hallway and speak with him and tell him how much I love his chicken sandwiches.

Also, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari was given an award for his efforts with Samaritan’s Feet. It is an organization that attempts to get shoes for every child in the world. I would recommend that you google it to get more information and maybe help out sometime because it is a humbling, wonderful organization.

Coach Calipari tweeted that he cannot wait to help them out more in the future and with someone like him behind it, it can’t help but be more successful in the future.

At the FCA luncheon, I was able to meet and speak with Jon Gordon. Gordon has written many books such as “The Energy Bus,” “Training Camp,” “The Seed” and others.

The books are faith-based books to get you to understand why you do what you do and how you can gain happiness in this world. “Training Camp” was the first book that I read and I would recommend it to anyone who is into those types of books.

It is like the book “Lead...for God’s Sake,” but it is from a football point of view.

Then Crean received the Jon Lotz “Barnabas” award for his giving in the name of Jesus Christ.

Anytime you hear Crean speak, he is inspiring. He acknowledges his shortcomings, admits it is easier for him to apologize now that he has grown in his faith, and realizes that he isn’t perfect and tries to be better.

Shouldn’t we all strive to do that?

Much of what I attended was free. The coaches forum and the FCA luncheon can be attended by anyone and I would tell anyone that in two years when the Final Four is back home again in Indiana to head to Indianapolis and attend these events. There is much to do and you will be reinvigorated, transformed or just have a good time by being around such good people and the atmosphere of the Final Four.

Oh yea, there were games played, too, but I watched them in my hotel room because by Saturday night, nothing was going to live up to what I had experienced, so I rested.

But, I will say this ... Go Cards! Both the men’s and women’s teams.

Perry Hunter is a Henryville High School teacher and a former coach of the school’s boys’ basketball team. You can visit his blog at coachperryhunter.blogspot.com.

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