The Stigma

Meat-heads.  Chauvinists.  Pigs. Cocky.  Arrogant. Football Players.  Football Coaches.

I will never forget an experience I had early on in my career in education.  I was in a school completing part of my requirements to finish my masters degree.  While in the classroom, I was getting settled in and trying to calm my nerves.  The first bell rang for the students to start to make their way to classes, and I made my way out into the hallway with the teacher I was observing at the time and was conversing with him when another faculty member walked by and said “good morning” to the both of us and continued on.  We continued our conversation and to be quite honest I don’t even know what we were talking about because I was so nervous about being there in the first place.

Later on in the day,  I was settled down for lunch in the faculty lounge and in comes the teacher that greeted me earlier in the hallway.  Upon further conversation and some getting to know each other, the faculty member actually told me I must have been proud to be welcomed into the “club”.  I was unsure what she was talking about so I asked her to explain what she meant.  She then proceeded to tell me how all the coaches dress the same, act the same and carry themselves the same way, so she calls it the “club”.

That is the stigma.  Somewhere down the line, this person has come across a coach or player that came off to her the wrong way.  It doesn’t matter if it was an athlete, a coach or someone else associated with the program, the stigma stuck to everyone associated with the program.  It could have been 20 years ago, it could have been yesterday, that person will now always associate everyone tied to that particular program in a negative light.

I try tirelessly to improve the way our athletes act.  The way they carry themselves in the hallways of the school and the way they carry themselves in the hallways of the grocery store, it doesn’t matter to me.  If you instill values and characteristics of honor and integrity into these young men, they will carry themselves with those values.  I do not put the effort into this cause for the faculty members that want to associate us into a “club”.  I do this because sometime in the future these young men are going to be fathers, husbands and co-workers to someone out there, and I want them to be able to carry themselves with those same values we teach them in football.

I win some and I lose some.  In fact, this year I lost, I lost a lot.  Some kids have their minds made up and it may be 10 to 15 years before what we preach sets in, but I hope it sets in someday.

I do want our program to be well reputable.  I want our athletes to be the students in class that teachers like having.  I want our athletes to be in the community and we get emails saying how well they were behaved or how they helped someone to their car that needed help.  I want to have someone come up and say, “I have never seen more respectful and honorable young men”.  I want the lives of our young men and their families to be absolutely joyous and honorable in the future.

So you can understand why this video really gets me fired up.

This is the stigma, and this motivates me even more.

To Be Continued…

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One response to “The Stigma

  1. Pingback: The Stigma…Part II « Life Outside the Huddle·

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