For most kids in this country, their last high school game/match is the last time they’ll step on the court/field, etc. The sports you play in high school play an important role in your development as an athlete, student, but most of all, as a person. When I played basketball and tennis in high school, all I thought about was the competition itself. Things like going 4 for 4 from 3-point land , closing out a set, and taking State meant a lot to me. Looking back, it probably meant too much to me. However, without realizing it, I learned valuable life lessons through sports. High school sports undoubtedly emphasize leadership skills, representing yourself and your school in a positive manner, and competing intensely all while upholding your own moral values.
Coaches at this level do not get enough credit for what they are doing. They aren’t paid the big bucks like professional or college coaches (unless you’re a high school football coach in Texas). In fact with all the time they spend at practice, traveling to games, coaching games, watching game tape, and in team meetings, I bet they don’t even make minimum wage. They do it because they love the sport and kids with an insane amount of passion. They are in it for a different reason. To have a stranger come in and teach your child something that they’re passionate about goes unnoticed too many times.
I bring this up because a well known high school football coach in Iowa was shot and killed yesterday. Ed Thomas produced four NFL players from his school including Broncos center Casey Wiegmann. Wiegmann sums it up nicely speaking about the man who helped him develop into the human being he is today:
“It’s hard to begin to talk about what he’s meant to me…You’re not just learning football stuff from the man, you’re learning about life. My values, the way I run my life and treat my family and take care of people came from him.”
I guarantee that most of the players you see out there on Sunday’s would not be there if it weren’t for the coach they had while they were in high school. I would actually put money on that. While being a parent is all fine and good, it takes a village to raise a child. While a teenager is busy rebelling and testing the limits, there aren’t many people who can reach that child. One person who can is their coach.
So I want to raise a virtual glass to Ed Thomas and every high school coach out there. Without you, the NFL wouldn’t be the same. More importantly, society would be in bad shape.