Saturday, September 24, 2011

Larger Than Life

Isn't it sad that the only time I will ever know who truly loves me will be at my funeral?

We said good-bye today to a man whose full influence can never possibly be measured.

I talked Bud into taking the head track coach position a few years ago and truly had no idea what I was getting into. Bud was a unique mix of old school football coach and teddy bear. He loved his teams and he loved the competition. And he wasn't afraid to let you know either one. His pregame pep talks often ended in tears when he talked about what he believed you could do.

As we waited around the football field for his final farewell, I watched as hundreds of people gathered in memory of a person who had been so important in their lives. It was an amazing site, though upon reflection, not entirely surprising. It often took us half an hour to walk across the parking lot to get to a track meet. The man knew every coach in the state.

It's days like this that remind me of one of the most amazing (and frightening) aspects of this job. All of those eyes that are always watching me. Those kids who sit in the back and never make a sound. Kids who eagerly sign up for any activity you decide to sponsor. All it takes is one inadvertent comment about something totally unrelated. That one comment could lift a child up. Or it could tear him down. And I might never even know it.

I'm not sure I can ever hope to leave anywhere near the legacy that Bud left behind. I was blessed to have been able to coach with and learn from him. I, like so many others, am a better person because he touched my life.

And I have no doubts that he is up there, right now, teaching the angels to play football.

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