In Daytona Beach we have a historical piece of basketball history. Vince Carter, the now famous NBA player grew up and played at the local high school called Mainland. I was able to be a small part of his history. I was assigned to officiate the very last game on the Mainland High School wooden gym floor. The same floor that Vince Carter had sweat on before he played for the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic. The night was not only special for this reason, it was special for my partner who had also officiated the first basketball game on that floor over forty years prior! His emotions were high as he shared with me that this would be his last game.
He remembered it proudly as he did our pregame as the Crew chief. "BJ, it was Ribault High School vs Mainland High School. It was a Saturday morning as the games back then had to be played in the morning. At that time the gym didn't have any lights or air conditioning." How cool was that? I was told we were both to receive a piece of this Mainland gym's hardwood floor afterward to commemorate our part in this big historical event. They were going to cut the floor up into pieces and give one to Vince Carter and others who had donated to the new gym that was being built. Vince had donated over $1,000,000 of his own money. The rest of the pieces would be auctioned off to help raise more money for the state-of-the-art gym.
Vince and Duke William have two things in common. They both picked schools built on tradition. North Carolina and Cambridge. And they both had great mothers. Vince's mother was there that night as Vince couldn't be there due to his NBA schedule. She accepted the award with Vince's Uncle on his behalf. She had been there every night watching her son play basketball. She has helped him remember where he came from and given back to the community of Daytona Beach by building a restaurant, a rehabilitation center for drug and alcohol addicts and continued to support other philanthropic ventures to help local children. I pray that William and Kate will continue to do the same.
To live in hearts we leave behind is to not die. ~Thomas Campbell