I received a great lesson in “paying it forward” from my friend and colleague Lowes Moore, who is the Executive Director of the Mt. Vernon Boys and Girls Club. Lowes is an iconic figure in the Mt. Vernon community. Upon finishing a career in the NBA, he opted to return to his community as a youth advocate. Today he is revered not only for his athletic prowess but for his commitment to the area that nurtured him.
Last spring, we collaborated on an event called Bike Day, which delivered 25 shiny new bicycles to a group of deserving young children. At the event, Lowes was interviewed by News 12, the Westchester County cable news channel. I was deeply moved by his response to the reporter who questioned him as to why he decided to come back to Mt. Vernon having so many options after leaving the NBA. Lowes told the story about approaching his mentor after having received a scholarship to play basketball at the University of West Virginia. He asked his mentor how he could possibly pay him back for all the guidance and kindness which brought him to this successful path. The mentor replied simply: “Go find another kid; just go find another kid.” Implied in this statement is a powerful charge of selflessness which obviously had great impact on Lowes. As a youth director, minister, and community leader, he has spent much of his life changing the lives of countless youth.
I believe all of us are drawn in some way to investing a piece of ourselves in the hopes that we can pay forward our gratitude for the guidance that we have received from a mentor, teacher, or coach. I receive many phone calls and emails from individuals wishing to “give back” and searching for pathways to make a small dent in their universe. Finding the time and discovering the right opportunity always seem to impede the ability to serve the greater good. The challenges of time and our functional bandwith are indeed real. Looking beyond our individual boxes can be overwhelming given the frenetic pace of life which we face on a daily basis. Do not despair. Eventually, hopefully when the time is right, we will find our own source of inspiration.
Lowes Moore was motivated to make a difference through the depth of his gratitude for a beloved coach. I share this story in the hope that we can find a little gratitude in our own stories to “find another kid” and complete this cycle of kindness.
Head Coach, Backyard Sports Cares