It was 40 years ago this week that I reported to my first high school training camp as a freshman entering Toms River North in Ocean County, New Jersey. I remember how intimidated I was by the varsity players who would go on to win a state championship later that year. They occupied a large locker room in the field house opposite the small space for the freshman team. But in that small space friendships were being forged that would last a lifetime.
As coincidence would have it, I’m writing this blog early in the morning of Day 3 of our camp, and just received a text from one of those friends who is also a football coach. Several other of our teammates were included. It read: “You guys don’t know how much you inspired, encouraged and motivated me. I love you and thank you. 40 years…damn. Mr. Nani looked so big.” Mr. Nani was our coach and the most intimidating looking man in the locker room. He is now a dear friend as well, and each of us in our own ways has tried to emulate the positive impacts he had on us and so many during his career.
I know the techniques, schemes, and plays I teach to my players today will likely be forgotten over time, but I pray the time spent together now will yield the kind of friendships we enjoy so much later. Friends that I have been blessed with for four decades who were by my side during the most celebrated moments in my life, and more importantly the most difficult times as well. I love them. They are my brothers.
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 supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time!