Crawford lends a hand and a laugh

Published 5:58 am Saturday, June 21, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
All eyes were fixed on Damien Wilkins as his second annual basketball camp tipped off Friday at P.S. Jones Middle School, but as the camp went on the young athletes’ attention rebounded to where it usually ends up when youth sports is being played in Washington — Sam Crawford.
No matter what the sport, when it comes to youth athletics, the congenial Crawford is always around to provide instructions or a laugh, and Friday was no different.
Crawford has been a fixture in Washington for over 30 years, the jack-of-all-sports played an instrumental role in Wilkins’ life, both as a basketball coach and a friend, and hopes he can be around to guide the next “Damien Wilkins.”
Where ever a ball is bouncing, Crawford can be found. Whether it’s softball, football, basketball or baseball, Crawford comes equipped with his customary smile, and a few pointers.
Crawford said the key to his 30-year run as a local sports guru is the fact that every day is a fun one.
Crawford wasn’t the only one having fun on Friday, the coach said all the young athletes at the camp also had good time.
Crawford said he was just happy to be involved with the camp, and was having a good time catching up with Wilkins.
Watching Crawford in action, it is easy to see why kids gravitate to him. He is friendly with a good sense of humor, and genuinely cares about those he talks to.
Wilkins said what makes Crawford a hit with young athletes is that he is young at heart.
Ebony Lawrence, a sophomore basketball player at Washington High School, has known Crawford since she was seven and said he has taught her a lot about basketball.