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High school coaches could learn a lot from John Wooden, Tom Landry and Tony Dungy

October 7, 2011 | 12:48 pm

DaneJohnson I went to a freshmen football game yesterday, and something I saw there made me stop and think.  After the punter shanked his kick, a member of the receiving team was running down the field unaware the ball was quickly coming his way.  His coaches were frantically screaming for him to "GET AWAY FROM THE BALL!"  After the play was blown dead with no ill effect to their team, at least three of the coaches took turns laying into this 13-year-old kid for failing to see the urgency in "GETTING AWAY FROM THE BALL!"  One by one they assaulted everything from his knowledge of the game, to his lack of athleticism, and his stupidity. I think they may have even  questioned why his poor parents had bothered bringing him into this world in the first place! It was painful to watch and hear.

Now, I've witnessed that scene countless times over the years (and been a participant on both ends), but for some reason it struck a chord with me yesterday.  I've heard parents and coaches scream such edifying counsel as, "HIT SOMEBODY!...or, YOU CAN'T JUMP OFFSIDES!....or, RUN!...." or my all time favorite rhetorical, "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!!"   While there are many variations of these profound coaching moments, the one commonality seems to be that they're delivered by red faces, with veins bulging and much spit spewing!

It appears many of us (parents and coaches), have forgotten a valuable character trait. It's the one, the men on my list are famous for.  A very wise man once said, "Blessed are the meek, for they will become the proud owners of all that can't be bought!".  Coaches John Wooden, Tom Landry and Tony Dungy possess(ed) legendary meekness (Strength under control).  These great men all won athletic championships, but perhaps their finest hours were those spent calmly and compassionately TEACHING...not haranguing their athletes.  No locker room "F-bombs" here.  In fact, none needed!  You see, young men are naturally drawn to good character and they'll do just about anything for someone they respect. Come to think of it....OLD men are drawn to that kind of character too!  Which is why....while I still have a long way to go....when I grow up, I want to be just like those guys! 

See you at the stadium!

Archive of previous Dane Johnson posts

--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.
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