- February 1, 2023
My son and I had a great conversation here recently. The nine-year-old was proudly telling me all about the first few days of his basketball camp. Jensen was having a blast, and he explained everything that took place in that little gym. We talked free throws, hotshot competitions, full-court dribbling, and no-look passes for an
My son and I had a great conversation here recently. The nine-year-old was proudly telling me all about the first few days of his basketball camp. Jensen was having a blast, and he explained everything that took place in that little gym. We talked free throws, hotshot competitions, full-court dribbling, and no-look passes for an hour and a half.
Jensen went on and on about how much fun he and his young friends were having. He dropped a few names of ballers who went to different schools in the region. It was great, and he was so excited. Jensen loved all of his coaches who were teaching him the basic fundamentals, but he didn’t understand how the camp director already knew his name. The poor kid had absolutely no idea who this guy was.
I started by sharing a few stories about Coach and I, and how our relationship started. I actually attended the same basketball camp when I was a few years older. True story. Jensen looked puzzled and didn’t seem to understand. I then showed him a camp evaluation and a few pictures that were in an old scrapbook downstairs. Artifacts. My mom must have sold my trophies.
Our dialogue continued, and Jensen was intrigued.
I explained how I played against Coach and his teams when I was in high school and even became a camp counselor working closely with him for two summers while in college. He taught me a great deal about hoops and even helped get me into coaching too. Jensen couldn’t fathom that this was the same guy who sold him a slice of pizza a few hours earlier. WAIT. I’M CONFUSED.
The tales continued, and I mentioned how Coach and I faced off on the hardwood on many occasions. I admitted that his teams usually came out on top and I can take full credit for 13 of his all-time victories. I only got him once, but have the newspaper clipping in a frame. I then told him how I was fortunate enough to call a few of his many District Championships on the radio, and how I always got nervous when he was a guest on our weekly show. #spencetagradio. Jensen was now quite impressed, and his jaw dropped after I shared a few more of his camp director’s accolades.
We already know that Coach Ron Insinger is a legend. My man is one of only two Pennsylvania coaches to ever reach 900 wins in a lifetime. He has 976 total when you combine his victories he had with the girls. CI has been the head basketball coach at Loyalsock Area High School for the past 43 years. Insinger has also led the Lancers to the state tournament in 16 of the last 19 seasons. Unprecedented and off the charts in this day and age.
Coach Insinger is already in the West Branch and Pennsylvania Sports Halls of Fame. We sometimes forget that he has led Loyalsock to 20 district crowns, 27 league titles and an incredible 36 20-win seasons during his lengthy campaign. I apologize if I miscounted.
My man isn’t slowing down either. CI still has that bounce and a great smile. You should have seen him slapping high fives to every youngster as they walked through the doors. It was so good to see Coach when I stopped with Jensen the very next morning. We chatted it up immediately just like old times.
“We’ve been at it for 43 summers now,” CI remembered. “I can still picture that first CI Basketball Camp. Man. It was a long time ago. The format has changed quite a bit, but I still get excited to work with these kids. It’s also a great experience for my current players.”
Youngsters were everywhere, and everyone was having a ball. Jensen didn’t stay, and he immediately ran to one of the racks. I was all alone and reached out to a few of the camp counselors who were standing nearby. I introduced myself, but none of them knew who I was. I’m officially out of the loop. They didn’t remember me as a player or a coach, and not many high schoolers read Webb Weekly. But they all knew who Jensen was — and I have just been replaced by my nine-year-old kid.
I then looked around and recognized several other faces. I couldn’t believe it, but the Spencers weren’t the only ones with ties to CI’s Basketball Camp. I counted five other father-son combos that were also in attendance. Two generations of campers. Paul and Logan McGinn. Adam and Leo Kinley. Jeremy and Cole Deitrich. Ryan and Brayden Cioffi. Ron and Ronnie Emery. CI’s son-in-law and grandson still count. This is amazing. OMG DAD. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?
Upon leaving, I tried to explain to CI how different it was being here as a parent and not as a coach.
“Seeing you and Jensen walk through those doors together is very rewarding,” Insinger continued. “On the very first day, I usually ask the kids if any of their parents or siblings ever came to this camp? You wouldn’t believe the number of hands that go up. Talk about being humbled. I seriously never thought I would be doing this for so long, but the thousands of faces over those 43 years is what it is all about. I am very proud of the successes and longevity of this camp.”
Special thanks to Ron Insinger and his entire staff on another fine year and great session of the 2018 CI Basketball Camp. Jensen and his mates had an absolute blast. We are already making plans to return. Just another summertime staple in the backyard. Cheers.