Fishing Trip Strengthens the Bond for the Kimball Basketball Team


City life is all they know. Fast motion and basketball. I tried to teach them to slow down and do something different.

- Nicke Smith - Kimball Basketball Coach

Kimball Head Basketball Coach, Nicke Smith, was 5 years old when his parents took him fishing. His mom taught him how to cane fish, while his dad broke out the rod and reel. “I remember thinking I’d get a small fish but I caught a 5 or 6 pound bass on a live worm.” said Smith. 41 years later, he’s still hooked on fishing. “Fishing teaches you patience. They aren’t always biting. Teaches you to appreciate life and the time you have off. Appreciate the people you’re with.” said Smith.

It’s those lessons he wanted to pass on to his team. As the end of the basketball season approached and the Covid-19 scare looming, Smith knew an end of the year get together would probably not be an option. One of his players, Corey Reynolds, asked if he’d take those interested out fishing. And so he did. Reynolds and teammate, Jamari Lawrence, who had never fished before, joined their coach for an afternoon of fishing. “I just like being out and away from everything.” said Reynolds. “Basketball is peace for me, but I get the same thing out of fishing. It’s always good to chill and relax.”

Kimball basketball players, Corey Reynolds and Jamari Lawrence, enjoy an afternoon fishing.

Lawrence had moved from Anchorage, Alaska to play his senior year at Kimball. Even though Anchorage is a popular ice fishing city, Lawrence had never gone. After about 45 minutes, Lawrence caught his first fish and a good sized one at that. Spending time with his coach and friend away from the basketball court was just what he was looking for. “It was peaceful and you had time to hear your thoughts.” said Lawrence. “It was a great trip and I had tons of time to think about my future.”

Quite a haul for fishermen Nicke Smith, Corey Reynolds and Jamari Lawrence.

“City life is all they know”, said Smith. “Fast motion and basketball. They never have time to enjoy nature. Tried to teach them to slow down and do something different.” Reynolds and Lawrence caught about 8 fish that day and had a blast. Well, until it was time to pose with the fish for pictures. “I didn’t want to put my thumb in the fish's mouth so I let Corey do it” said Lawrence.

Jamari Lawrence and Corey Reynolds showing off their catch of the day.

At the end of the day, Smith showed the boys how to clean the fish and they took what they caught home with them. “My momma did her thing to those fish” joked Lawrence. Both kids are going to continue to play basketball in college, but they will always have the memory of a great fishing trip thanks to their caring coach.

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