Earlier this summer I talked about the importance of moving through the teambuilding steps and the recognition that together, we are so much more powerful than any of us could be alone. As the team runs through early phases of drills and practice, we try to create opportunities for players to recognize their inability to succeed by themselves. Whether players feel personally in need or recognize someone else who is struggling, the staff creates scenarios where the only path to success is through teamwork.
Both on the field and off, we ask players to put the interests of the team and their teammates ahead of their own… to be generous with their time and effort, and to make a conscious decision to help others.
For the past three years, the St Johnsbury Academy football team has gathered with other members of our community on a Sunday in September to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We believe it is a great opportunity to give back to the community and support a worthy cause.
Our community has been so supportive of Hilltopper Football (and other sports!) over the years, turning out to support the community is the least we could do. The Walk to End Alzheimer’s gives us the opportunity to extend the team’s interdependence out into the local community, and the return on investment is extraordinary.
Below is an email from the director of the Walk to End Alzheimer’s:
Good Morning Coach,
I wanted to thank you again for having your family and team join us for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It’s simply incredible how your team’s presence brings so much joy and hope to the families struggling with this disease. Please extend a personal thank you to your team from myself and the entire Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee. They should be very proud of themselves for taking part in such an important cause.
Not only does the community appreciate our participation, we reinforce the pattern of putting others’ interests ahead of our own. We practice the ethics we preach and in doing so, carry forward the Hilltopper example beyond the confines of the campus. Our team’s example (choices, words, and deeds) can either add to the culture or detract. It is unfortunately all too obvious in today’s day and age how one “Aw Shucks…” can take away a thousand “Attaboys!”
As I’ve noted elsewhere in the blog over the last 18 months, the staff and I know all too well the season ends and classes graduate in the blink of an eye. The lessons we teach are intended first to serve players on the field, but also to endure for a lifetime. Investing in our team and culture both on and off the field pays dividends for years to come.
Our time is our most valuable non-renewable resource. During the season, demands on coaches and players make time even more precious…. But there’s always time to do the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason. Giving back to a community that gives so much to us is worthy of our time, talent, and treasure.
Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org and share http://www.olineskills.com with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for your time!