Monday, September 08, 2008

"Rus, Me & Don Haskins (1991)"
-Click on image to Enlarge-
In 91', my Mom & Dad signed me up for the Desert Storm Camp that was being provided at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, TX. It was a free, week long camp. I'd get dropped off in the morning for hoops and basketball drills, was fed lunch at the military mess hall (with a selection of hamburgers, fries, pizza and drinks) and then we'd go back for some more hoops... later in the week they also took us swimming and ended the camp with prizes and an opportunity for us to play against each other in front of our parents. It was a great experience. And for families with parents that were in Desert Storm or that had a hard time forkin' up the hundred or so (+) dollars that most other camps would cost, the free camp gave us kids at that age something fun to look forward to as the summer approached. Up above is a picture taken back in July 1991 for the El Paso Times with Rus Bradburd, myself (big headed kid with the black hair in the back) and Don "The Bear" Haskins. A decade later I began taking poetry classes with a poet/professor named Connie Voisine who would become my advisor/mentor through my time as an undergrad/grad student at New Mexico State University and later the wife of Rus, who after 15 years of assistant coaching at UTEP with Don Haskins and NMSU with Lou Henson, took up writing and teaching at NMSU. He's recently had some great b-ball articles published in the Slam Magazine and is also author of Paddy on the Hardwood, a memoir about his time coaching in Ireland. I wanted to share this in memory of Don Haskins and the camp. Also to Rus & Connie & the camera man at EP Times who without knowing introduced people over a decade before they actually got to know each other.

DON HASKINS 1930-2008