Growing up in the neighborhood during the 70’s and 80’s, there was so many good people around.

Up or down any street you walked there was a ton of “friendly” and “caring” people, both young and old.

As a high school basketball coach and success-conscious, I often try to learn as much as possible as to what makes someone a good person?

I don’t care if you can dunk a basketball,  dribble between your legs or shoot an outside jump-shot. Doesn’t matter to me if you are rich, poor, Black, Puerto Rican or Haitian.

Your character means a lot to me.

Growing up, I’ll admit I wasn’t the greatest kid; I got into my fair share of trouble and many times, the wrong words came out of my mouth.  Whether it was directed at someone on the avenue, a teacher in Holy Name, coach in the schoolyard or even my late mother Carol.

I wasn’t what you would call a ‘Wordsmith’.

As you get older, you mature. You learn right from wrong and you learn how to talk to people.

One of my favorite things to do is read about people’s upbringing. I firmly believe that your morals and values are taught at home. The foundation is set while you find your way.

We had a lot of solid families in the neighborhood; parents at home teaching their kids right from wrong. Solid structure I like to say.   At the time I didn’t realize the education some of my friends were receiving at home; I also didn’t understand the “lack of education” I was getting at 228 A Prospect Park West. (Don’t get me wrong, not every family was the Walton’s)

Serving and loving greatly are two traits required to be a good person. Understanding others is also key. Allowing people to voice their opinion and respecting that opinion is also a sign of maturity. All things that should be taught in the home.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about some of the moms and pops from around the way and how they raised their families. The tactics they used. The discipline and the love they provided.

I often wonder how it would have been for me if “so and so” was my mother or father?

Your upbringing is important to your overall success; how you treat people will determine your journey in life.  The things you do shapes your life.

As the father of a 13 year-old daughter, I have a chance every day to teach her how to live; it’s up to her if she carries it out.

And with most of us, in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and some 70’s, our life is a reflection of what we were taught and what we learned along the way.

I don’t recall a lot my mother and father told me but I remember how they made me feel.




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10 Responses to WHAT IT TAKES

  1. jim casey says:


  2. TonyF16thst says:

    Very well stated Steve. Remember also we were never enabled as kids,we did it pretty much on our own.

  3. jimmyvac says:

    Very well articulated. The sad thing is that great families are’nt enough. You hope what you teach as a parent stays with them when you are not there to help them say no to drugs or doing illegal stuff. I knew alot of good families with alot of kids and one kid strays from the family and does stupid stuff. I saw it as a kid and see it as an adult.
    Our neighborhood in the seventies was an easy place to get into drugs or crime… I was no saint but I had boundaries. As Tony said, we had alot of freedom which can be a good or bad thing……

  4. Jack Kelly says:

    I guess parenting is not my strong suit but I try. This morning I mentioned to my son that when I was 14 I was pumping gas down in Red Hook so would he be interested in a small job for the summer and he just looked at me with this shocked look and said “Dad that was in the 60’s times have changed”. I sat for awhile with several responses flashing through my mind then after awhile it dawned on me that this is one of those situations where “Silence Is Golden”. So I went downstairs defeated and put some 60’s music on and thought back to the days of pumping gas for a $1.50 an hour and wondering what I was gonna do with all that money.

    • hoopscoach says:

      Jack, kids haven’t changed much over the years; what’s changed is the things and people around them.

  5. TonyF16thst says:

    Jim if you thought it was easy in the 70’s you had to be there in the 60’s. And your right a lot of good families still had kids that went bad. I guess as a parent of three my theory is you do the best you can and hope and pray it sinks in. I was no angel my self but something must have clicked because I’m here today Unfortunately you can’t be there 24/7

    • hoopscoach says:

      Tony you are right; your situation at home can be good and you can still take a turn for the worst.

      We have to hope our kids do the right thing.

  6. TonyF16thst says:

    I feel your pain Jack. It amazes me sometimes that they say the things the say.
    I told my son about selling Good Humor on Manhattan Beach, the uniform was so starched they stood up by themselves and the pay 7cents on a dollar. And the comment and blank stare like whose the fool. They just don’t get the big picture. So better to turn the music up and pick and choose the battle.

  7. jimmy vac says:

    It’s always some damn thing with kids… both of my kids always worked but I had to ride my son hard to make sure he graduated high school. I don’t know how my folks did it… I was one of the few kids that did not get hit at home and I still kept my grades at a b average, did what I was told, and the bad stuff, well, I was lucky I never got caught. It seems like our folks did not work as hard as being parents as we do… That;s an idea for a blog : stuff we pulled on our folks and got away with…

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