Saturday Feel Good: 73-Year-Old Makes College Basketball Team

Stocks are tanking, the economy's a mess, and if you believe the polls, our great nation is going to head much further left in ten days: wouldn't you like something to smile about?

Well, click on the embedded video to your right, and watch the heart-warming story of a 73-year-old man whose dream of returning to college basketball after more than five decades has come true thanks to the extraordinary kindness of a head coach in Harriman, Tennessee.

For some background, details about the amazing Ken Mink were reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel on October 4 (h/t InstaGlen):

Ken Mink was shooting baskets in his driveway about this time last year when he had a sports epiphany.

"I had been knocking down shot after shot, so when I came in the house I told my wife, 'I've still got it,' " said Mink, a 73-year-old semi-retired journalist. "She said, 'You've got what?' I said, 'I can still play.' "

So Mink, whose playing career at Lees (Ky.) Junior College came to an unceremonious end in 1956 when he was dismissed - wrongly, by his account - for allegedly soaping the coaches' office with shaving cream, wrote to several colleges in search of a place to play.

Roane State coach Randy Nesbit took Mink up on his offer.

"I'm not very good at saying no," said Nesbit, who just turned 50. "It's a gesture of good will to help a fine man find closure. Why not?'' [...]

Mink's goal is to get himself conditioned well enough to play at full speed for a 10- to 15-minute stretch, even though it's likely he won't play more than five or six minutes in a game for Roane State. [...]

Mink is nearly twice as old as the school itself, which was founded in 1971.

And so Mink is making the daily 35-mile commute from his home in Farragut to Harriman to take the required 12 hours of credits with classes in Spanish, Computer Science, U.S. History and Criminal Justice.

"I'm in class with a bunch of kids with their hats turned on backwards, but they are all amazed when I tell them what I'm doing,'' Mink said. "The kids say their grandfathers are my age and they can't get out of bed. Actually, I am older than the teachers and the school president.''

I hope this makes you smile as much as it did me.

Noel Sheppard's picture