This is always a special day of the year for me. Several years ago with the help of our social workers, we developed a program at our school called “Help for the Holidays”. This program was created with the intention of providing families of our school community with help to make their students Christmas brighter. We wanted to help provide an opportunity for those students to go out into the community and purchase much needed items for themselves and their families. Things that most of us take for granted like socks, underwear, coats, gloves and hats are some of the most common items, but we also let them buy one or two small little comfort items as well. Today was the day we took the kids out shopping.
We collect money from faculty, community members and friends of our school. We take the students out to eat, lunch is provided by our local Chick Fil A, a tremendous gift from them for sure, and then we head on over to Kohls to do our shopping together. We have adults from the school help chaperone, and every one of them leave with a huge sense of thankfulness and the biggest smile you have ever seen. It truly is a fantastic event. Each year it gets better and better, today something grabbed at me though.
We were checking out at the register and one of my players that was invited this year came up and gave me a huge hug and said “I love you coach”. This kid truly is remarkable. If I told you some of the things he has to deal with on a daily basis, you would think it came from a Hollywood script. After the hug and exchange of pleasantries, I pointed at his hoodie and said “you don’t actually like Ohio State, do you?” just trying to be a wise guy and make conversation the best way I know how, being a smart ass. His response set in a few hours later when I got home and had some time to think about it. He said, “nah coach, I don’t wear this because I want to, I wear it because it’s what I got coach.”
“It’s what I got coach…” Those words ring in my mind. When I buy clothes, I am fortunate enough to buy hoodies with teams I root for on them, and there he is wearing a hoodie because, it’s what he has.
I guess my point is, go out, do something, make a difference. Find someone who needs something or needs someone. They are out there, and they need our help. They don’t always wear clothes because they want to, sometimes they wear them because “it’s what I got.”