I just returned from a three-day trip to Anguilla to run a basketball clinic for local youth with my good friend Walter Bond. Dr. Ellis Webster, who is a successful Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and a native of Anguilla, made the trip possible. He is an avid sports fan and understands the correlation between personal development and basketball.

Dr. Webster is running for the position of governor in District 1 or Island Harbour as the local area is called. In addition to the basketball clinic, Walter and I were able to witness the start of his political party’s campaign kickoff! It was a wonderful experience to see how another country views their politics and the differences of how they approach their campaigns compared to ours.

For those that are not familiar with Anguilla, like me before this trip, you should think about visiting there. It’s located next to St. Maarten in the British West Indies. You have to take a ferry from Phillipsburg into Anguilla. No direct commercial flights go into Anguilla. The ferry is maybe 15 minutes so the ride’s not bad at all.

Once you’re there you may mistake Anguilla for paradise! The weather was beautiful, the people were as friendly and genuine as I’ve ever seen, and the food was spectacular. I think what impressed me the most was this feeling of tranquility that washed over me unlike any other traveling experience I’ve ever had. None of the major food companies are present in Anguilla, mostly natives running their own successful restaurants. As I write this I can’t help but smile when I think about the plethora of memories Walter and I now enjoy in the short three days we were there.

The clinic took Walter and I back to our childhood days. The court was outside, cement with bent rims, typical kind of playground court we grew up on. It was nice and hot, just like I like it. There were metal bleachers on one side, an open lot on the other side that stretched back quite a ways. No frills, just good ol’ fashioned basketball on the playground.

I was impressed with the kids and their eagerness to learn. They listened well for the most part and were very appreciative of us coming there to instruct them on the fundamentals of the game. Most of the players had parts of their games that needed some serious work. There were 8-10 that had potential to get an opportunity to play here in the United States if they keep working. The look on their faces when they learned a new concept and the “light went on” was the highlight of the trip for me!

Yet another experience of how basketball has enriched my life! I wonder if Big Ten Network will pay for my travel during the year from Anguilla!!!

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