Lindsey Karpluk was remembering a basketball game from more than 30 years ago.
Karpluk had only been teaching for a couple of years when he found his team playing against the Barriere Cougars.
After the game, Barriere coach Elmer Froese strolled over.
"Like everyone who is young, you get all fired up and don't always see the big picture," a chuckling Karpluk said Wednesday. "I remember him coming over after the game and saying, 'You did really good at this and this . . . just stay a little calmer.' "
Froese, who had been teaching and coaching basketball at Sa-Hali Secondary since 1992, died Friday at the Marjorie Willoughby Snowden Memorial Hospice Home. Froese, 65, had been battling cancer for a number of years.
"You would see him at Christmas at the Fulton Cup, and he was always so optimistic," said Karpluk, who teaches at Brocklehurst and coaches the NorKam Saints senior girls team. "He would tell you, 'I'm just battling this thing and enjoying life for the moment.'
"He is definitely going to be missed. He's going to be missed so much for all the stuff he has done."
Froese, who was born in Chilliwack and raised in Yarrow, first began teaching and coaching in Barriere in 1976.
In Kamloops, he established the city's first spring basketball league. He also helped with the AA provincial high school basketball championships - "He ran all the video-taping," Karpluk said - that are held here every spring, and was involved with the junior national basketball championships and the 1993 Canada Summer Games.
Every summer, Froese would take local players to the Gonzaga University basketball camp in Spokane.
In March, Froese was honoured with the Jack Buckham Award for his dedication to athletics and youth. He also received an award of merit from Basketball BC.
"What a great man the guy was," said Karpluk as he collected his thoughts, having been greeted with the news upon his family's return from vacation. "He has been great for the community and for his family and for basketball."
The thing that was so striking about Froese's involvement, Karpluk said, is that it was always about the young people.
"There are a few who do as much for kids . . . Elmer was always one of those guys," Karpluk offered. "He was always doing something for kids, always developing coaches."
Karpluk said that Froese did a lot more than just coach basketball teams.
"Elmer was always looking out for kids who wanted to get involved in coaching. He'd get coaches out," Karpluk said. "I can just think of all the young coaches who came out of TRU that he would nab and give them direction and mentorship. Ryan Porter, Sean Garvey . . . any of those guys. He helped those guys to stabilize. . . . they're a lot of fire . . . he would always make sure they knew what was important.
"He was a real mentor for those young coaches."
Garvey, who co-coached the Sabres with Froese starting in 2006, once told The Daily News: "I stepped into a great program. All I have to do is show up and coach and then I leave. All the day-to-day operations are up to Elmer."
In early 2008, Froese told The Daily News that his coaching philosophy wasn't all about winning.
"My reward is seeing the kids be successful and the gratification they get," he said. "I don't coach for myself."
Larry Read, the sports information officer at TRU, worked with Froese as a member of the media and with the AA championships.
"Elmer was one of those few individuals who we find in the school system that was not only truly passionate about his profession, but sports as well," Read said. "He spent countless hours in the gym with the boys basketball program at Sa-Hali. He gave of himself for the betterment of all basketball players at Sa-Hali Secondary.
"He'll be sadly missed. The Kamloops basketball and sporting communities have lost a great man."
Ken Olynyk, TRU's director of athletics and recreation, said Froese had a huge impact here.
"Elmer was a great contributing member of the Kamloops community," Olynyk said from New Brunswick where he is coaching the B.C. girls team at the national U-17 championships. "His basketball leadership within our community was recognized this spring with Elmer most deservingly receiving the Award of Excellence from Basketball BC.
"Elmer will always be remembered in basketball circles across this province."
Froese is survived by Linda, his wife of 38 years, their daughter Jordana and son Nathan.
A celebration of Froese's life is scheduled for Aug. 18, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the Mountain Room at the TRU Conference Centre.