This I Believe

Bee, Clair


  • Clair Bee talks about some of his experiences and hardships coaching and working with youth and the faith in youth that has developed from these experiences.
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And now, This I Believe. The living philosophies of thoughtful men and women presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow
This I Believe. Professor Clair F. Bee, one of the great teachers of the game of basketball, is now the comptroller of Long Island University in New York. A hillbilly from Grafton, West Virginia, he was an outstanding athlete is high school and college. Today his name is a byword in basketball for his deft coaching techniques and strategies. He is the coach of the US all-stars and the college all-American squad. Known affectionately to his boys as "the buzzer", Mr. Bee's activities in the sports
world are not limited to the gym. He is a lecturer and prolific writer of sports fiction, manuals and commentaries. He has a new novel in the Chip Hilton series, "Dugout Jinx." Clair Bee also runs his own two hundred acre farm, the Calendar House, in Elizaville, New York where he lives with his wife and young son. Hear now his creed.
I believe in youngsters because only in so doing can I have peace of mind and soul for the future of my country and for the future of my young son. I believe the young are inherently honest and decent and are imbued with a deep sympathy for the rights, and in their dignity, of their fellows. And I believe those traits become distorted, only because we the elders fail to provide the right examples,
environments, and opportunities.
Faith in youngsters came to me at an early age, came through an awareness of the great generosity of a group of railroad callboys who shared my assignments through part of the 12 hour night shift so I might get enough sleep to attend school. Their sacrifices, night after night, created in me a deep appreciation of the sheer generosity which prevails in the hearts of the young.
I believe in the ambitions of youth, because as a teacher and as a coach I have observed the fulfillment of the dreams and ambitions of hundreds of boys and girls. One of the first was a shy, self-conscious, but poverty-stricken Negro boy in whose proud heart burned a great ambition expressed
only by the light in his eyes and the fervor of his voice the few times I could get him to talk. The boy loved basketball, and he needed a shoulder upon which to lean a bit; and he needed someone to say, "you can do it." Yes, that boy sure did need help, because he was struggling desperately to earn enough money to eat, to clothe himself, to pay his way through college. Yet, he had hitched his wagon to a star, dreamed and hoped that someday he would be a great surgeon and he did it.
How Jimmy Gladden survived the rebuffs, the disappointments, the years of struggle, the financial handicaps is beyond understanding. But he fought his was upward to success, became a great surgeon, and the first Negro ever elected to active fellowship in the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons; and
in so doing, and in pausing along the way to help others of his race, Jimmy further embedded in my philosophy of life a supreme confidence in the dreams and ambitions of youngsters.
Yes, youngsters help to make my dreams to come true, and in so doing they created in me a desire to help other youngsters, led me to the choice of teaching and coaching as a profession. In the life of everyone, there comes a period of stress, an ordeal when he, himself, needs a shoulder upon which to lean. The basketball scandal which affected some of my players last year brought disappointment and grief. But help came quickly from the hundreds of youngsters I had coached and tried to help along the way—letters and telegrams and calls and personal visits. And one of the first to offer his shoulder was
Jimmy Gladden.
The faith and confidence and the successes of all those youngsters engendered a fortitude in me, certified to the precept that the mistakes of the few are merely the exceptions which prove the rule. Yes, my faith in the dreams and hopes and courage of our youngsters are boundless. I believe in them, just as I believe in a divine being. And I believe our youngsters can and will take the lead in solving the problems and the prejudices and the hate which threatens the world today--will bring light out of the darkness.
That was basketball coach Clair Bee who is also a college administrator, writer and farmer whose faith in the young has been an unshakable part of his own optimism in the future.