Us, and Never Them

Last week’s blog was about “Us” and “Them,” and how kids from different backgrounds came together to be a part of “Us” when it would have been easier to look at each other as “Them.”

When Al Groh, who is now the Head Football Coach at the University of Virginia, was on the New York Giants staff with Bill Parcells and Bill Belicheck, he used to label players as OOUs (One of Us) or OOTs (One of Them).  When these great coaches first got to the Giants, there were too many OOTs and not enough OOUs.  They began the weeding out process that lead to their Super Bowl Championships.

At a school as diverse as St Johnsbury Academy,2019-07-18 St J Huddle as Us it would be very easy to look at others as “Them.” 25% of our student body are dorm students from all over the world.  We have players on our team from Canada, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Spain, Hungary, China, Thailand, Taiwan, and even Rwanda.  The largest population on our team is from local students;  players whose families have lived in the area and attended the Academy for generations.   Then there is another population whose parents are Faculty/Staff.  Many of these students live on campus and their parents serve as dorm proctors.  Our campus is truly an amazing intersection of cultures. Our student-athletes have exposure opportunities my teammates and I could never have dreamed of back in New Jersey in the early ’80s.

When our week-long Mini Camp begins on Monday, we will not be just teaching blocking and tackling but also teaching our players to view each other as Us and never as Them.  The Norming Stage continues.

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 and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!

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