posted on Sunday, June 24, 2018
When the question is asked, “Why do we need high school activities?” A great answer can be found in the legacy of Ed Thomas.
“If all I have taught you is how to block and tackle, then I have failed as a coach.”
This is one of the Ed Thomas quotes that most clearly explains his legacy. The quote is not limited to just football. Coach believed that high school activities were an effective way to teach young people lessons about life and what he called, “doing what’s right.” Coach also recognized that not all young people are connected to their education by academic classrooms. For some, activities provide a positive connection to school and a reason to be successful in their academics.
The coaches or leaders must not only teach the fundamentals of their activity– they must also help young people see how they can convert those lessons to their future success in life. It is so much more than just the activity. Being involved means you are working every day towards a goal, and building your character/values along the way.
Example: If all 11 players on a football team do their job on a single play, then the play will be successful. If one of the 11 players fails to do their job, it may cause the play to fail. Repeated successful plays lead to drives that then lead to scores.
The same is true in life. Let’s take the school for example. If everyone in a school does their job, we will have a successful school district. “Everyone” means all staff, including teachers, coaches, administration, cooks, bus drivers, custodians, or anyone else who has a job at the school. If a single employee loafs or does not do their job, it will impact the success of that school. The same can be said of any business or group.
To the many coaches and leaders out there that also teach those same life skills and “doing what’s right,”– thank you for encouraging activities and making them a positive part of our education. Keep thinking beyond the game or activity.
"Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life."
Try to always remember that we all have jobs to do– whether in a sport or in your everyday life. We need to do them consistently to best of our ability. It is important for ourselves, our families, and to the success of any group we may represent.
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.