Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Losing Coach

I lost my old high school football coach yesterday.  It sounds like he fell, struck his head, fell into a coma, and passed away. 

I wouldn't be honest if I said he was a great football coach.  He wasn't.  I remember one game we were playing against a rival, and my job as fullback on our bread and butter play was to take out the opposing team's end.  And we ran our bread and butter play over, and over, and over.

This game, we continued to run it to just one side.  On that side was the best defensive end I had played against in my career.  He was flat out kicking my ass, and dropping our trailing running back for either a loss or no gain on every play.

After a series, I headed to the bench and suggested maybe we should run the play to the other side.  I was admonished - "What's the matter, can't handle it?  Not tough enough?"  I think the attempt was motivation.  

We continued to run to one side, I continued to get my ass kicked, and the end ultimately was named all-state (I wasn't the only one he ate alive).  

That's just one of many times where, as a football coach, I expected better.  I guess my expectations were that way due to how he was off the field.

Simply put, how he was off the field was a gem.  It didn't matter who you were - jock, burn out, motorhead, geek - Coach treated you like you mattered.  He treated kids that way because to him they did matter.  I learned a lot from him on how we should treat each other, and how every individual has something about them that makes them special.

Yeah, I regret some of the football - yet to this day.  But I'll remain forever thankful for the life lessons.

Bye, Coach.  Thank you. 

1 comment:

  1. Great job capturing my sentiments almost exactly. Just OK coach, helluva person, and a great role model (if you were paying attention) in ways most football coaches weren't


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