Last night, as I was working my new job as stadium manager at City Bank Stadium for Forney I.S.D., I saw a parent that I knew was from the visiting team, Frisco Reedy High School.
I did what I try and do anytime possible; I gave the Reedy head football coach some love.
I asked, "Does your son play for Reedy?"
"Yes, he does. He is a freshman."
I replied, "Well, you and your son are fortunate to be in a program ran by Chad Cole. He is a stud. He is truly one of the best coaches not only in DFW but in the state. I've coached in this area for a while, and your son is playing for a man of integrity and class." (I always say the coach is sound technically and a person of character)
The man did what happens typically; he smiled and was pleased. I told him I knew Coach Cole well (which is 100% true). Our conversation didn't last much longer, but it didn't have to. My mission was accomplished. I am willing to bet this gentleman told every other freshman football parent he knows about our conversation.
Would I have done the same thing if I hadn't known Coach Cole?
In fact, I try and do it all the time.
Why? Because coaching is hard. Parents have gone from 'helicopter' to 'snow plow'. It's never been more demanding, and we need to help each other at every opportunity.
Did I come up with this on my own? No...just like the true coach I am, I stole it. I began my coaching career in 1990 at Quinlan-Ford H.S. in Quinlan, Texas. In the spring of 1991, I attended a coaching clinic in Mineral Wells, Texas, and heard one of the true icons of football speak, Gordon Wood. From 1940-1985, Coach Wood won nine state championships and amassed a career record of 396-91-15.
Bear Bryant once said this about why he left Texas A&M to go to Alabama, "I had to leave Texas. As long as Gordon Wood was there, I could never be the best coach in the state."
I remember Coach Wood saying two things from his talk, which is why we should all hear elite coaches and leaders speak; just think, thirty-one years later, I am still being impacted by his 50-minute presentation.
Take-home #1 - "Run just a few plays from a plethora of different formations. It is like the same present under the Christmas tree in a box of different boxes with different wrapping paper."
Take-home #2 (the last thing he said to the audience)- "Men, I challenge you to all do what I call the 'gas station technique'.
When I am traveling and stop for gas, I do this one simple thing every time I am at the register to pay; I ask the clerk, "who is the head football coach here in town?" When he or she gives me his name, I always say, "well, y'all are blessed to have this man running the football program here. I know coaches all over the state, and he is one that I admire and respect as much as any."
The clerk will stand up a little taller, smile, and seem pleased one hundred percent of the time. I am more than confident the next twenty or so locals that come in the station will hear the clerk say, "guess what a coach just said about our coach?" Now, you have a 'good gossip' being said about a man who probably needs it. Most of the time, I do not know the head coach, but even if I did and didn't particularly care for him, I would say good things about him."
Try this. You will feel better, and you will be helping one of our own. We pay at the pump now. We are in the middle of a pandemic. Life is a lot different than when the arguably best coach in the history of Texas was using it paying for his gas.
So, how does this technique work in 2021? Social media is undoubtedly another way we can lift each other up, but you can still find face-to-face opportunities like I had last night if you have it on your mind.
We need EACH OTHER. We need to STAND TOGETHER.