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Respectful Holiday Thoughts

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Respectful Holiday Thoughts

Post  Tuesday and Friday on Thu Dec 25, 2014 11:28 am

As you get along in life and when the holidays come you start thinking more and more about people who aren’t with us. You give respectful thoughts to those who fought good fights both on and off the courts and playing fields. There are those who served their community and the youth in a very commendable way with their passion and heart. They made a difference in the lives of many and you continue to see their strokes of their humanness on the canvas of the life we are a part of.

Tony Carnovale passed away last April. He coached HS basketball for many years in NH. He could be crusty and cantankerous on the sidelines. One thing he did have was a passion for his players getting better and doing the right things in life. He also wanted officials to get better. I think this is important. A lot of coaches just complain about officials during and after games. Coach Carnovale had a keen interest in finding how coaches could work with officials to make HS basketball a better game. It was truly a gift he could attend the state final last season between Central and Merrimack. What a scene it was when Doc and Goody brought the state plaque over to Coach Carnovale after the game and had a picture taken with him on the Lundholm floor. Coach Carnovale attended the Pinkerton alumni basketball shortly after the state title game. It was as if God said he had put the exclamation point on his life and it was now time to come up to Hoop Heaven.

Cary Buxton passed away this past October. He was a rock in the Bedford youth sports scene for the last 2 decades. He did not coach any HS teams in Bedford, but many of the Bedford HS basketball and baseball players in the last few years were coached by Cary during the player’s formative years in the younger levels. I had the good fortune of coaching basketball against him for a few years in travel divisions. Coach Buxton was always a gentleman on the sidelines with the referees and his players. A lot of travel and Little League coaches would do themselves a big favor if they could take direction from Coach Buxton on how to act like a coach. Recently, he received the Bedford HS AD’s “Unsung Hero” award recognizing his accomplishments with the youth sports’ leagues of Bedford. A true gentleman and enduring mentor for many youth of Bedford…… Coach Buxton was taken far too early from our world.

Jack Ford was and always will be one of my favorites. He gave his heart and soul to Winnacunnet boys’ basketball for 3 decades. Jack Ford basketball: Up-tempo with a devastating full court press. He went to the Class L final 6 times and came away with the title in 1992. That was a special one for me. That night I had a previous engagement and couldn’t attend that title game. I time taped it on a VCR….. Yes Virginia a VCR. I came home not knowing the result and watched the tape hoping the consummate bride’s maid coach could finally win his title and he did. The following is from current Winnacunnet coach Jay McKenna talking about Coach Ford:


"I learned a lot of things about basketball and a lot of things about life from him and how to be successful at it," said McKenna. "I can't thank him enough. I can't put into words what he means to me or what he means to a lot of guys. Next to my own parents, he's the most influential person in my life," he added. "Things I learned from Coach Ford, I use every day as a parent, as a coach and as a teacher."

Wow, that is what legacy is all about.


Dan Duval passed away at the age of 54 in 2012. He was one of the greatest athletes the Queen City has ever produced. He was the starting point guard on the back to back state title teams of the 1975/1976 Trinity basketball. The toughness he showed on the court or the football field served him well later in life. Dan fell upon hard times losing battles with substance abuse. He came back from these struggles to become a motivational speaker and mentor to youth in NH. He personally mentored hundreds of troubled youth from broken homes, ones with anger management issues or having their own battles with substance abuse. Dan personally turned around the lives of many kids who themselves had fallen to the depths of despair. Dan Duval was living proof of the saying “It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how high you bounce." Dan lifted the lives of many. A true gift to all the people he touched.

So, on this the biggest gift giving day of the year, my thoughts are with these 4 men who were passionate in their life on earth. They all shared a passion to give back to the youth and help mold the lives of youth. What a joy it is to see Jack Ford live on in the fine coach and gentleman Jay McKenna is and will continue to be. There are many walking among us leading positive lives and doing good things because they came across Tony Carnovale, Cary Buxton, Jack Ford and Dan Duval. This is truly a Christmas gift for sure. It’s not one you can wrap and put under a tree, but it is a gift that is presented to all of us 365 days a year.

God Bless and Merry Christmas.

T & F

Tuesday and Friday
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