Our son Matt just learned that the very special Frank Lostracco passed away just over a year ago. He touched our hearts a super realtor, friend and basketball coach to our son Matthew. Given our move across the country we lost contact and sigh we were distracted with or new life. Sadness is all I can say….
After helping us find our Skyline home, it was Frank who inspired me to write this piece as a role model reflected strong values and coached the kids with excellent social skills. He was one formidable and compassionate coach. Thank you Frank! I wrote it with his son Elijah in mind. Ironic isn’t it he had the same name as my dad, grandfather and brother. Ya think this name means a lot to our family lol.
For you all to enjoy here is the story….
Walking with Humble Stride
Have you ever wondered why some teams lose and others win?
Why some flounder while others flow forward freely and glow within?
Well let me tell you a tale about a father, a son and a game with a ball.
It all started when the son began to crawl.
Frank, the dad, like his name, was honest to his core.
He was always positive and nothing was ever a chore.
He watched his son, Elijah move like flashes of lightening along the floor.
Always patient while his son fetched balls and did explore.
Forever famished and fast, he sprouted while his dad filled his food and drink.
To top it off he was agile and could skip, hope and jump five feet in a wink.
Frank, could see the potential for Elijah’s fortune and fame.
Elijah could be a star if he started learning basketball; skills and the game.
Now you see, this dad also knew a thing or two about this sport.
He played and was a leading coach on the college and university courts.
So when Elijah did turn fabulous fun loving fourteen,
he said, “Let’s make a basketball team with ten of your buds who are keen.”
Frank entered the team with the local association,
determined to teach his crew basketball fundamentals and foundations.
Gossiping, the other families chuckled, “This team is destined to flop and fail.”
They believed it was their skilled teams had what it took to prevail.
On the first day of practice some buds shuffled their feet and did mope.
Even though their abilities were feeble Frank didn’t lose hope.
Funneling their attention to fine-tuned dribbling, shooting and passing drills.
Followed by hours of plays, in no time they fashioned fabulous finesse and skills.
So their first game was on a freezing Feburary fourteenth, Valentines’s Day,
optimistic Frank said, “Let’s fracture any fallacies with our great plays!”
Jaws dropped when they saw the other team swagger in a foot taller in height.
Elijah whispered, “Oh no dad we are sunk!” while the rest was ready to take
Frank undaunted said, ”All we need to do is have faith and not fret.
We need to believe in ourselves and not see the other team as a threat.
If we stay calm and focused, feasibly we can out play this team.
So let’s walk out on the floor, smile and let your confidence beam.”
In the first quarter the defense of both teams fluctuated with intensity.
Neither team scored a point, leaving the air thick with tense density.
The whistles blew and both teams went to their benches for a chat.
The opponents’ coach screamed that his players were lazy fat cats.
Meanwhile Frank encouraged his players with a smile and said, “Way to go!
Don’t worry your defense is strong, you’ll get the score to eventually grow.
You’re rebounding, and staying on the other players like glue!
Now let’s start passing and shooting, into the key we need to break through.”
The next quarter Frank’s team played with the passion of fire-filled foals.
They were positively pumped to stay dominant and in total control.
The opposition met them with negative festering and fuming.The game picked up speed, baskets scored, friction and excitement was
At halftime, the players filed off the floor with the score twenty-five to twenty-four.
In opposite corners of the gym one coach spoke softly while the other did roar.
Now the challenger was winning by only one single solitary point.
The coach yelled, “You guys can play better you are stinking out the joint!”
Off in a corner Coach Frank spoke to the players in a quiet way.
“Remember not to get flustered, forget any fear, calm we must stay.”
Out of the blue Elijah spoke up, “Let me stay on the court I am on a scoring
I’m the one who has the winning techniques!”
Everyone looked at Elijah in shock, you could have heard a pin drop.
Frank paused then spoke in a thoughtful voice, “It is nice to win and be on the
Elijah, my son, I admit your scoring is impressive, your playing is mighty fine
but my son, winning at all costs is not the point, everyone needs to shine.”
“Oh sure I’d love to win this game playing the best non stop.
But then we will not develop as a team eventually we will weaken and flop.
Equal play is essential for all the players as they test their skills under pressure.
Ultimately through the season this is what will keep our team strong and fresher.”
The whistle blew and the challenger’s coach was yelling like a mad man
The same line was sent onto the floor making no change of player or plan.
Contrary, Frank, ensured fair play much to Elijah’s chagrin.
Frank repeated, “It is the process, doing what is fair and right not just the win.”
In the third quarter both teams alternated points like a rally at a tennis match.
But in the last three minutes there was a disastrous failed catch.
Elijah botched a rebound plus elbowed another player getting a fifth foul.
The referee told him he had no choice he had to throw in the towel.
With a score now at fifty five to fifty seven for the other team,
the loud coach kept the same tired players, gloating with a smirk and a scream.
Frank remained still and relaxed as his son humbly and quietly took a seat.
It was easy to choose another as all were rested, ready and determined not to be
Those three minutes felt like slow moving hour.
The challenging team tired and began to wilt like a drooping flower.
Frank’s team shared the load, sinking three two point shots,
leaving the other team exhausted and the coach in a twisted emotional knot.
The final score was sixty-one to fifty-seven for Frank’s squad.
The crowd stood up, cheering as they did applaud.
Turning to his father, Elijah gave him a big hug and apology
“You know what dad, you have the right game psychology.”
With his arm around Elijah’s shoulders, Frank smiled and nodded his head.
“My son I think today you learned how integrity creates wins and spreads.
By focusing on sharing and fairness we all shone like a strong hard jewel.
We we’re not stuck on ourselves like stubborn mules.”
“Integrity is founded on patient determination and being inclusive.
Confidence, positive energy and flow made the win conclusive.
Now let’s go and shake the hands of the other side.
Let’s leave the gym with our heads held high, walking with humble stride.”
Copyright Mary Catherine Rolston 2008