The crowd of 300 hardly noticed that Lisa and Kenny Troutts’ indoor basketball court was transformed into a banquet hall last Wednesday for Just Say YES luncheon with former Dallas Mavericks’ coach Avery Johnson.
Toward the front of the room were the likes of the Troutts, Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, Lillie Romano, Alicia Landry, Sue Gragg and Dee Wyly.
Lisa was still a little amazed at all the hubbub over the recent rumor about her being involved in a reality show. One would suspect that a drive-thru beer barn would open in HP Village before Lisa would be on a unreal drama show.
Before Avery addressed the group, the audience learned that girls who are sexually active are seven times more likely to drink alcohol and 46 times more likely to use marijuana.
Lessons to be learned in raising healthy kids from the information:
- Parent-child connection like having five family meals a week is a powerful weapon;
- Positive role models are essential;
- Connection to dreams and goal are key.
As Just Say Yes Founder/President Dan Bailey introduced Avery, he described him as a “Master at Connecting With Teens” and went on to tell the group that Avery “has been to 23 schools talking with teens. . . Off-season in basketball is the on-season for him at Just Say Yes.”
Avery’s commitment to the program was emphasized by his arriving at 1:30 a.m. immediately following a game in New Jersey, where his New Jersey Nets played the night before.
To show their appreciation, Avery was presented with two gifts:
- A sleeping mask to wear on the flight home.
- A donation in Avery’s name to Hunger Busters.
Following a brief video, Avery took over the microphone telling the room full of adults that they were to “transform yourself into being a student at KL Troutt High School.”
The “kids” gave him a standing ovation. Don’t know if it was him just being Avery or letting them return to their youth.
Avery started off by telling the kids how he met his wife, Cassandra, 24 years ago. “She’s the sugar in my tea. She’s not Sweet and Low. She’s the real thing. This is the first time for her to hear me speak to high schoolers.”
Throughout his talk, he referred to himself at “Coach.” Avery told the “youngsters” that 30 years ago, people used mailing addresses and phone numbers. But now there are different ways to communicate.
Using Facebook as the backdrop, he proceeded to walk them through, “What are the chapters of your Facebook?”
According to Avery, the chapters should be:
- Chapter 1 — “I’m Special. I’m not an Accident.”
- Chapter 2 — “Compete and Don’t Complain.” He then shared a touching story about his youth. It seems from the ages of 14 to 20, he got a job as the “warehouse boy” at Crescent Plywood. Despite offers, Avery refused to succumb to “offers” to provide a little more than the customers paid for. As he prepared to head to college and a long daily commute, the mill’s owner told Avery to go to a neighborhood car dealership and pick out the kind of car he would get for himself. The next day the car — an $8,500 Escort — was waiting for him. When Avery asked, “Why?”, the owner said that he had watched Avery over the years and appreciated his honesty.
- Chapter 3 — “Expect Conflict. (You Can’t Get to the Top Without Conflict)” Conflict will help train you. You sometimes need failure to get success. Frustration is the cocktail for depression.
- Chapter 4 — “Exploring the Other Side”
- Chapter 5 — “Say ‘No’ to Drugs”
- Chapter 6 — “Under Construction”
In closing, he also told the “children” that the photo that they post on their Facebook is important. It’s got to reflect their character.
Needless to say, the students at KL Troutt H.S. gave him another standing ovation and this time there was no doubt that it was for Avery being Avery.