40 YEARS AND COUNTING
LESSONS FROM THE GRIDIRON E very Sunday in the fall growing up, my brothers and I would trek two miles to our neighbor’s house, where a big field would be waiting for our weekly Sunday gridiron battles. One year notable of these teachers was Mrs. Lee, my third and fifth grade teacher. I like to say I was lucky
What Football and School Taught Me About Being a Leader
enough to go to a small school and experience her teaching twice! Mrs. Lee was the one who taught me to say “excuse me” whenever I walk in front of someone, which I still do today. She was always preaching the “golden rule” — treat others the way you want to be treated — and to this day, I respect the way she taught our class. As students, we always wanted
for Christmas, my brothers and I were gifted helmets emblazoned with the St. Louis Cardinals logo, and we wore them every Sunday without fail. Our weekly games were just us and the brothers from that family. Even if everyone was older than me, I was always pretty confident in my athletic skill. I like to think I held my own! I continued playing football into high school, and as a 6-foot-2-inch, 150-pound teenager, I was delegated to playing the end on both the offense and the defense. However, I quit the team after my sophomore year to focus on basketball. I’ve always really regretted the decision to give up the sport I have loved since I was a little kid, but at the time, I knew the coach wasn’t taking the team in a direction I agreed with. The other players on the team were keen to be bullies. The coach was into encouraging this, presumably because he thought it would make us stronger and tougher on the field. It bothered me that my coach would talk about these events like they were common and necessary. I never felt a sense of team camaraderie, so I gave up on football.
Steve’s high school football team. Can you find him?
to make her happy, and when you have a classroom dynamic like that, growth and education can thrive.
My experiences with Mrs. Lee and my high school football coach have taught me many lessons in leadership and the value of consequences. Through my continued involvement with my church and Rotary International, I see the influence our actions have on people every day, and I strive to leave a positive impact on the people I interact with, whether they are my employees, our customers, my family, or strangers. Today, the most excitement I get out of football is rooting for the Kansas City Chiefs, but I’ll never forget what football afforded me, good and bad. Despite a lackluster high school coach, playing under those Friday night lights, burning my muscles
It was a far cry from the many teachers who always instilled confidence and respect in me. The most
during hot and humid summer workouts, and having fun with my older neighbors in their field on Sundays will always be some of my greatest memories.
“My experiences with Mrs. Lee and my high school football coach have taught me many lessons in leadership and the value of consequences.”
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