Clarke also proves commitment as coach
Published 11:02 am Friday, July 20, 2018
To the Editor:
We have been impressed by Sheriff/Coach James Clarke’s commitment to our community through the Isle of Wight County Recreation youth basketball program. Our boys have been coached and/or officiated by Coach Clarke the previous four years. Every basketball season he dedicates countless hours to youth in Isle of Wight (and Surry) County as a referee and volunteer basketball coach of multiple teams. During basketball season, Coach Clarke gives up every Saturday and multiple evenings during the week to teach Isle of Wight (and Surry) kids not only basketball, but also enduring skills such as teamwork, problem solving and perseverance.
Coach Clarke does an excellent job of balancing the goal of winning with the more important goal of being successful in life. He helps the young people focus on improving their own game, encourage their teammates to improve their game, and to improve the game as a whole through hard work, respect, and teamwork. We appreciated this, as parents, because in “real life” this translates to improving yourself, being a leader who cares about the growth of others, and working to make things better in your community.
Coach Clarke helps the children understand they can control three key things: their own level of effort, whether they learn from experiences, and how to respond to mistakes. When one of our children made a mistake during a game, he offered a hug and laughter first, and then advice. We have seen this numerous times from Coach Clarke and the advice is typically in the form of a question: “What are you going to do with what just happened?” or “What have you just learned?”
Coach Clarke’s patience with and commitment to Isle of Wight youth is nothing short of amazing. The power of his positive coaching has reinforced the personal traits we teach our kids at home. We appreciate Coach Clarke giving his time and talent to Isle of Wight youth. Improving the life skills of our youth is an investment in our community that will pay dividends for the long term!
Larry and Marianne McKee