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Hunker Down with Kes

Loving Them Was Easy Lord

Posted 9/25/18

Several people have asked why I’m not coaching football this year. I truly appreciate that you have noticed and that you care. The reason is simple; I’m helping the team the best way I …

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Hunker Down with Kes

Loving Them Was Easy Lord

Posted

Several people have asked why I’m not coaching football this year. I truly appreciate that you have noticed and that you care. The reason is simple; I’m helping the team the best way I know how!

Just think how good they are going to be without me holding them back! The kids will tell you pretty quickly that I don’t know much about football. I’ve been getting by for years just watching the other coaches...and when they yelled, I yelled. It made me look a lot smarter than I was.

There is no telling how many state championships the Port St. Joe Sharks could have won if I had made this decision forty-one years ago!

I remember the day Rodney Nobles busted his head coming out of the “chutes”. I didn’t say a word. I had no “coaching” tip. He got too high and the collision with the steel bar about knocked him out! Of course, in the three years after that, he never did it again. I guess you could say I got outcoached by a steel contraption.

I almost puked when Chuck Roberts held up his dislocated elbow and said, “Coach, I think I’ve hurt my arm.” That was the week before the first game of the 1970 season. It was gruesome. I’d never seen a lower arm dangling out of the socket before. And I was more concerned with keeping my lunch down than the pain radiating from Chuck’s elbow.

Heck, a heel blister kept me out of two football games when I was in junior high. I couldn’t go on the field hurt. Chuck sat out one play in our opening game. He put himself back in and played every snap the rest of the season at quarterback and outside linebacker.

Listen closely here, every single young man I coached over the years was a lot tougher than I ever dreamed about being!

Chester Fennell missed practice once and it cost him some “make up” laps. He talked me into running them with him. We ran everyday after practice for the next two years! That crazy nut liked to have run me to death...it was a case of the kid getting the coach into shape!

I got by on borrowed phrases like, “low man wins”, “screw your navels to the ground” and “the game is not played in an elevator—there is no up button, get your tail down!”

Folks are always asking about my favorite “highlights” in coaching. I’d say Marvelous Marvin Adkins’ motorcycle incident ranks high on that list. It was just breaking daylight during the first week of two-a-days. Practice had already started at the stadium when we heard that motorcycle roaring down Long Avenue. Marvin wheeled into the parking lot, lost control, laid that thing on its side and slid forty feet right up to the gate. He leaped off, already dressed out and wearing his helmet, kicked a smoking engine and sprinted onto the field, late, but ready to go!

The fight over the chicken was another great one! That was 1984. Our All American defensive end and our weak side linebacker had a knock down, drag out fight in the locker room over a piece of pre game chicken. I’m telling you, it was two tough young men going at it in a no holds barred free for all!

Sidney Harris hugged my neck when we finally got he and Doug Robinson separated, “low man won Coach, low man won!”

The two combatants sat in the same seat on the bus as we travelled to Chipley that night...and whipped the Tigers like they were a piece of chicken!

I could list a million others but you get the idea. It was about the kids, always about the kids. Game scores kinda fade over the years...but never the smile, the sweat, the hard work, the camaraderie, the love I’ve seen develop in that hollowed locker room year after year after year...

I’ve had the privilege to sit in a thousand coaches’ meetings and you’d be surprised at how little the talk centered on x’s and o’s. And how much of it revolved around helping this player or that player be a better student, a better son and a better person.

Great football players and some excellent coaches hid my mediocre efforts for years. Of course, the guys know the truth. And in the end, those wonderful young men—each and every one of them—taught me way more than I ever taught them!

I do not remember every district championship or winning touchdown runs. Or teams’ won and lost records...

I will never forget one single face.

“I Wish It Was Three O’clock and We Were Just Getting Here,”

Coach

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