Attitude of gratitude expressed to Ken Ellerbeck

The recently deceased long-time Mission resident is fondly remembered

Editor, The Record:

On July 2, we gathered to pay tribute to an extraordinary human being. I was deeply honoured to have been invited to convey words of gratitude to the leadership and basketball prowess of Kenneth Charles Ellerbeck.

Most of our 1952, 1953 and 1954 basketball teams dipped into and reflected from his presence and essence. In sports, and in life, it’s called the absorption identity or modelling of a hero. It has also been called the “monkey see, monkey do” phenomenon.

It is our humble belief that our Mission High School Roadrunner basketball teams followed Ken’s leadership, skills and his attitude of gentle and focussed assertiveness and casual elegance. Our teams absorbed his dazzling, electrifying and entertaining performances to compete with some of the largest high school teams in B.C. We enjoyed playing the game.

Ken’s skills, our coaches, and the guidance and support from the Mission district gave us the great fortune of experiencing a positive, healthy and happy playing and coaching careers within the game of basketball. We had people who were capable leaders. They created a place to go and a place to be ourselves. Our teams had zest, passion, commitment, energy, love and enthusiasm that we readily and unashamedly expressed.

We learned punctuality, how to use our imagination to visualize, how to set and achieve goals and how to become responsible and accountable for our own decisions and actions.

Because basketball is a creative and free-flowing game, it nurtured and encouraged our own innate creativity and risk-taking abilities. The game helped us enhance our own self-worth and confidence.

We learned many life’s lessons, such as focus, discipline, determination, desire, persistence, consistency and that the word “team” means together everyone achieves more.

In closing, and on behalf of our team members from Mission High School, our sincere attitude of gratitude goes out to those people who made a significant difference in our lives.

Jon-Lee Kootnekoff

Penticton