I guess I was probably around 9 or 10 years old when I was introduced to Bob Arnzen. My father Hank introduced me to him at a DSJHS basketball game we were attending. He remembered me from then on. He always spoke highly of my father and I. I don’t remember any ill comments coming from Bob. My dad would take me to the Sunday SJ vs. LCC annual basketball game. This is a game I dreamed of participating in. I would go home and pretend I was playing in the game in my bedroom. Coach Arnzen was someone I always respected. I attended a few of his basketball camps. He remembered me, that is something that makes a kid feel good. His praise was held with highest regard. His comments and coaching wisdom were always taken to heart.
I remember sitting in the gym during one of his talks as a participant of the DSJ basketball camp. He was speaking to us about heart, determination, effort and aggressiveness. My pulse beating, sweaty palms, eyes and ears focusing on every word, I was determined to please him and every coach who would cross my path. I was going to be the best basketball player in the camp. I was going to be the player coaches wanted on their team; the guy that opponents had to try and stop. Basketball was in my blood and he was going to take me to the next level.
I would often see Coach Arnzen around Delphos; at the park, summer baseball games, and my cousins’ weddings, cookouts and graduations. Bob was a good friend of the Reindel family. He always took the time to stop and talk to me; ask how I was doing and whether I was practicing, and with a wry smile, he’d ask if my family was moving to Delphos. Because of his outgoing, cheerful but sincere personality he was always given respect. His coaching spoke for itself. His discipline firm but fair. He would look you in the eye to make sure you knew he was listening to what you had to say.
I never had the opportunity to play for Coach Arnzen but given the opportunity, I would have jumped at the chance. This guy would make you better even if you thought you had reached your limit. This day during camp, sitting in the bleachers he talked a lot about life and basketball, in that order. The one thing I think represented Coach was respect. Give it and you shall receive it. He told us, “If any of my players take themselves out of a game, they can put themselves back in. If I take you out of a game, I’ll tell you when to go back in.”
Coach Arnzen, you are welcome back in this game anytime but you have done enough and left nothing but good in your wake. Take care my friend.
Spencerville HS 198
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