Last week, I went to Las Vegas for a girl’s weekend. My flight from Montgomery AL to Dallas TX was uneventful and I had a chance to pull out my laptop and get some work done. On the way to Vegas, I realized that I was sitting in the back of the plane (row 35) and imagined being able to do the same. As I was boarding the plane, I noticed quite a few really tall guys milling around and most of them had similar symbols on their clothes. I am not a basketball fan and know very little about the teams but could probably do a decent job associating the city with the team name but symbols and mascots… forget about it. Imagine my surprise when most of the guys started filling in the seats around me.
One particular guy sits down next me and immediately starts talking to everyone around us. As you have probably gathered from my writing, I am personable (easy to talk to) but not personal (it takes me a minute to open up). Knowing nothing about basketball, I figured it to be an utter waste of my time to ask his name because I wouldn’t know him anyway, plus I’m not a “fan” of people like that and don’t do the whole autograph thing. His personality was so infectious that it was hard not to get caught up in conversation with him.
As the trip wore on, we were stuck on the runway for an hour before the 3 hour flight, I got to know a little bit about Darrell Armstrong and found him to be someone that I would like to share with you. We all know the stereotypes that surround professional athletes and basketball players, in particular, so I was prepared to be unimpressed with his conversation. But as the saying goes, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or a man by his profession.
Darrell, in the short period that I spoke with him, was one of the smartest, funniest and humblest guys that I have met in a long time. He spoke at length about his wife, Deidra, and their three kids. It wasn’t that artificial conversation where you feel like someone is just saying the right things because it’s what they are supposed to say but I saw his eyes light up when he spoke about his family and what they meant to him despite the horror stories you hear about the NBA. Of course, I had to tell him about my book and it was great to hear him acknowledge the need for such conversations to exist. He reiterated that communication and getting to know your mate is so important in a long-lasting relationship because all relationships experience up and downs but you have to be able to work through those times to stay together.
We talked about his daughter who is entering her first year of college and how his responsibility as a father has been to set the standard for the type of men that will be in her life. He didn’t come across as one of the shot-gun totting fathers who would challenge anyone that came near her but he talked about how he has tried to prepare her to make the best decisions for herself while doing his best to support her and prepare her to be independent (i.e. not always depending on daddy for money). From the sound of things, she is doing pretty well… she will be playing Division 1 basketball at a school in Texas this coming year.
As is the tendency of most professional athlete, Darrell has a charity that was created to help people through something that hit close to home. His organization, The Darrell Armstrong Foundation for Premature Babies, is based in Orlando FL and was established after his wife gave birth to two premature babies. Through the DAFPB Development Center at the Florida Children’s Hospital, they are able to assist families of premature babies with diagnosing developmental problems early on and providing the necessary intervention and care that will lead to a healthy life for the child. Additionally, through their fundraising efforts, they purchased an ambulance in Orlando that is specifically for the transportation of premature babies to the Development Center so that they can receive medical treatment that may be needed to save their tiny little lives as quickly as possible.
Please take a moment to check out Darrell’s website (DarrellArmstrong10) and show some love for the Dallas Maverick’s Assistant Coach.
This week is all about Darrell Armstrong. Thanks for taking a moment to show him some love and his organization, The Darrell Armstrong Foundation for Premature Babies. Don’t forget to come back next Wednesday… it could be all about… YOU!