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Dane Johnson: Everyone has potential, but how does a coach reach it?

September 23, 2011 | 11:05 am
"That kid has more athletic ability in his little finger than most of you guys have in your whole body!”
DaneJohnson Those were the not-so-encouraging words my high school football coach gave our team at the beginning of two-a-days my senior year. He was speaking about a young man who stood over six feet tall, weighed somewhere around 190 pounds and could run! The problem, of course, was that this “future Heisman” had decided football in the Oklahoma heat was too much work and so he was sitting out the season! Coach WAS able to get the kid to play, but I’m not sure he was ever able to help him capture a vision for just how good he could have been.
I was reminded of that young man today, when someone asked me about Walter. You see, Walter was a skinny freshman I coached a few years back. He was so skinny his huge smile seemed to run off both sides of his face. But he was quick as a cat, could jump through the roof, and just flat out could run! I remember thinking to myself, “He had BETTER be able to run fast because if they ever catch him, they’ll break him in half." He was skinny!
But there was something special about Walter, and most of our coaches could see it. Eight years of weights, countless sprints, hours and hours of on-the-field work and a lot of encouragement from coaches and friends finally paid off when Walter Thurmond III was drafted out of the University of Oregon by the Seattle Seahawks, for whom he still plays.
Funny thing about potential…everyone has some. If you watch people for just a little while, you can usually spot it. The big question is, “what are you doing to inspire them to pursue it? And what are you doing to help them to attain it?” A good start might be by pursuing the potential in your own life!
See you at the stadium!
--Dane Johnson
The Times is pleased to have Dane Johnson blogging his thoughts on high school football throughout the season. Johnson, a football coach at San Dimas High, has been a football coach for more than 20 years in the San Gabriel Valley and is also a pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley . You can connect with him on Twitter @PastorDaneJ.
Photo: Dane Johnson. Credit: Dane Johnson.