DANVILLE — After eating their fill of raccoon meat, potatoes, raccoon gravy, corn bread, stuffing and cake, those attending the 65th Annual Danville Lions Club Raccoon Dinner were invited across the street to the Danville High School auditorium to enjoy the rest of the evening’s events.
After a concert by the Danville High School Jazz Band, Danville Police Sgt. Tom Looney introduced his new canine partner, Lasko, a 2-year-old German shepherd being trained.
The evening’s featured speaker, basketball great Bill Hosket, joked with the crowd that he was not sure his wife really believed him when he told her what he was doing Monday evening.
“I told her I was going to Danville to eat raccoon with a bunch of Lions,” he said as the audience laughed.
Hosket — who played basketball for The Ohio State University in the 1960s under Fred Taylor, won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1968, and played for the New York Knicks World Championship team in 1970 — had many stories to share with the crowd.
He also shared some of his life philosophy. Hosket said that while many things about basketball have changed since he played the game, including the length of players’ shorts and the size of their salaries, certain lessons he learned during his career have remained unchanged.
“What it takes to win and what it takes to be a champion will never really change,” he said.
Hosket said he was blessed to be mentored by great leaders, and to be in the right place at the right time.
He said talent is not the only requirement for success.
“You won’t have success until that talent becomes a team,” he explained.
He said there can be no great success until the team then develops a common value structure.
“Values are what’s so important,” Hosket said.
He explained some of the values he has learned are necessary for success. The first was passion.
“You have to love what you do,” he said. “The great ones all have passion.”
Hosket said discipline is another required value for success.
“It can be as simple as being on time and following a list of rules,” he said.
Courage, which he defined as giving your best effort 100 percent of the time, is also necessary, according to Hosket.
He also told listeners of the importance of being responsible and being resilient.
“Don’t make excuses. You have to learn to come back in sports and in life,” he said, referring to hard times.
The final value he stressed was respect for one another.
He said that while awards in life are great, they are not the most important thing.
“It all comes down to basically, ‘what kind of person are you?’” he said.
Hosket said he enjoyed the meal and the evening.
“Deals like this are wonderful because they’re helping the community,” he said. “First of all, they bring the community together, and they also raise funds that go back into the community.”