posted on Tuesday, August 21, 2018
"I can't believe it's here."
Anyone that has played the game, even for a little bit, knows what that statement means this time of year. Yes, it’s football season. I can’t go outside without thinking about football, and I can’t think about football without thinking about Ed Thomas. He can still make me laugh and cry. I still can even feel him giving me the “stink eye” when I do something dumb.
People still ask me, “What was he like?” Well, he truly loved his job every day. He had a passion for it, every single day– and I mean every day with high energy and enthusiasm. He was the richest man I ever knew and he never made six figures. He was rich in the fact that he knew how he needed to live his life because of what he was preparing for. He had no interest in being a consumer. He lived every day doing what he loved doing. That’s rich.
He was also the toughest guy I ever knew and I bet he never beat anybody up. He demonstrated true toughness to many of us by living with integrity. Integrity meaning that he put his strong values out into the world and then lived that way. That’s where the "FFF" came from. Try living with true integrity. It’s hard. He wasn’t perfect, just the best I’ve ever seen.
I was lucky to get to work with a young boy every day in the fall for 30 years. He was between 28 and 58 when we worked together, but his enthusiasm was like a child’s on Christmas morning. Yes every day, even after a loss or when we didn’t play well, that little boy would be there at the next practice, ready to get better. Students and staff that were around him would attest that his enthusiasm was contagious.
Ed Thomas’s focus in life may seem narrow to some. Therefore, I’m pretty sure he did not know that Lao Tzu was an ancient Chinese philosopher. In the following saying, this ancient philosopher sums up the legacy of Ed Thomas. It explains his success in sports and in life better than anything I’ve ever seen.
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao Tzu
Try to beat that. This is what, emotionally, makes it more than a game and what makes winning more than a score. Coach T., thanks for the memories.
As Ed Thomas would say, “Do what’s right.” Let’s try to live our lives with integrity and demonstrate true toughness. Oh ya– let’s try to find something that makes us feel like a kid on Christmas morning.
Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation
This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.