I know I’m just 37 and haven’t "seen it all", but being the son of a coach/superintendent and an elementary teacher (each of 30 plus years), I feel I have experienced my fair share of educational/athletic experiences. This is my 15th year in education and I have another 15 or so to go, but I don’t think I will ever see again what has happened here in San Saba, Tx., since Aug. 3rd (first day of football practice). I have never seen a group of young men be so unselfish, so coachable, and so together! During practices and games, I never witnessed any kind of negative comment/action toward a teammate. And yes, they are good kids, but a big reason they are good kids is because of the quality of men they spend hours with every day from 2:53 p.m.(8th period/beginning of athletics) until it is time for them to go home. I have seen the kids smile constantly, cry occasionally, and just sit in their uniforms after games because they were so proud that they did not want to go in and change. I have seen them get their rear chewed and their response is "yes sir," and I have seen them congratulated and their response is "yes sir"….a form of discipline that has been instilled in them by their families and required of them by their coaches.
Friday night was no different. I made my rounds after the game as usual, shaking our coaches’ hands and telling them how well they did….and as usual, I received the same answer from all of them as I had the previous 11 games, "Thanks, the kids did great didn’t they!" Always "passing the praise" on to the kids and not taking any of the credit themselves. It is then I realize that our players are like our coaches….unselfish, coachable, and together. If you see one of our coaches in town, tell them how well they did and how much you appreciate them. Expect two things….a good firm handshake and response that will go something like this, "Thanks, the kids did great didn’t they!"
I sat down with our Athletic Director for the first time this last summer and we were going over some things about this and that, and I remember him saying, " I don’t know how we are going to do or what is going to happen, but I can promise you one thing, we are going to do things right!" It was a conversation about student behavior, character, work ethic, etc. Two gold footballs later, a 9-3 record, and playing the #7 rank team in the state down to the wire, was great and impressive. Heck, our three losses are to teams that are all 12-0! All the things mentioned in the previous two sentences are pretty remarkable, but not near as important in my book, as the way things were handled by our players and coaching staff…."the right way."
Harper Stewart, San Saba High School Principal