A Coach’s Lesson

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A boy from South Alabama, playing ice hockey sounds like a fable or a myth, but that is me.

I first got interested in the sport when I was 7 and my love for the game just grew from that point.

It was a combination of the hard hits, physical play, dazzling goals and yes, the fights.

It was not long before I found myself with a hockey stick in hand and ice skates on my feet.

I had no one to teach me the fundamentals and techniques.

After watching numerous videos and games on television, I started to coach myself.

In my college years, I took to the ice and began to play with many different teams.

I would drive to ice rinks and roller rinks, when there was no ice to be found, to gain more playing time.

Through doing this, I met players from all over the world, including some famous players from the NHL.

These guys would give me pointers and help coach me.

Two of these coaches, stick out in my mind.

John Marks and NHL Hall of Famer, Steve Shutt.

Shutt, played 13 seasons in the NHL, 12 with the Montreal Canadians.

He was a powerhouse player and had five Stanley Cups to prove it.

He was someone who I had admired and dreamed of being.

Shutt was not only a powerhouse player but also a great man.

Thinking of these two men, I think about what being a coach actually means.

A coach is not just someone who helps you improve within a sport, he is also someone who helps you improve as a person.

T.R. Miller High School football coach Keith Etheredge and W.S. Neal coach Andro Williams are two men who fit this description perfectly.

Within the small time I have been working for this publication, I have conversed with these men daily.

One thing that I have learned about them, is that they love the game of football, but they love their players more.

They care about their successes and on how they present their selves as citizens.

The rivalry between East Brewton and Brewton has always been present, but I can guarantee that these two coaches do not even acknowledge it.

They want the kids to just play the game.

The TRM and WSN game is just another game.

It is more important to these two men, to take the game of football and make it into a development for the players to not only achieve success in the game, but in life as well.

Many people look at hockey as a brutal sport, but it comes with many lessons.

Something almost barbarian.

The fights and hits are the things that give the game a bad name.

What you do not see, is that after these take place on the ice, the event is over and the guys shake hands and all is well.

It comes down to sportsmanship.

These coaches teach sportsmanship, passion, integrity, and class.

They strive for their players to become better on and off the field and help develop them into more than a player, but into respectful and great young men.

We have ultimately, two coaches who are more than coaches but leaders to our young people.

We have two golden men, who are giving our younger generation a golden lesson.

They are not just football coaches but life coaches.

Our community is very fortunate to have them leading our younger generation of athletics by teaching them what compassion and heart is.

To them it is more than just a game, it is an opportunity to make a difference.

Etheredge explained it perfectly, “Faith, family, and football. That is what my values are and that is how I live my life.”