By Marlon Guild
Hello, my name is Marlon Guild, and I am one of the men’s basketball assistant coaches here at Rider University. You are probably wondering why I started off with that quote, but as I sit here writing this, there are a lot of
emotions that are going through my mind. The verdict for the George Floyd case has come in, and for me, as a black man and a father, having uneasy discussions come with the territory.
This is the case when it comes to talking with our players as myself and the rest of our staff try to prepare them for life after Rider. Remember what I said: “It is bigger than basketball.” That has always been our philosophy, and no more has that been put to the test than during these rough times dealing with a pandemic and most importantly, social injustice. Coaching basketball games is hard enough, but like I said earlier, having uneasy discussions comes with the territory. Flashback to May 25, 2020, as we all saw the grueling video footage of Floyd in Minneapolis. The thoughts that came to mind were traumatic as I wondered how I could explain this to my 15-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. But then I wondered, how could I explain this to my players? Outrage and disgust were bound to happen, but like I said and how Head Coach Kevin Baggett and the rest of our staff operates, “It is bigger than basketball.”
So for us, countless Zoom calls with not only our players but other student-athletes at the university happened. Not knowing where things would go, I was in for a surprise as I saw an entire community look to embrace how we could all impact change. It was through these interactions amongst the student body and our players saw that at Rider it really is bigger than basketball. And that is why I coach, and I am sure you would hear the rest of the coaches on our staff say the same thing.
As things stand now, there is still a ton of work to be done, but through basketball and uneasy discussions, our players have seen the importance of continuing to make change with social injustice and doing their part. If they need examples of how to do so, they need look no further than myself and the rest of our staff as we have always taught them, “It is bigger than basketball.”
Editor’s note: This story was pitched to The Rider News by Marlon Guild.