Our win over Essex in the state semi-finals brings us to our fourth state championship appearance in the past six years, and our third in the past four. Interestingly, each of the four starting Quarterbacks during my tenure at STJ Academy has taken us to a state championship game: Colton Hudson 2014, Collin Urie 2016, Jake Cady 2017, and Trey Alercio 2019.
When my sons began playing sports, a coaching mentor of mine shared a quote with me, “when you are your son’s football coach, you are the two most important people in his life.” While I believe that my wife plays a more important role in their lives, I can see how a teenage boy might see things as my mentor described. I recall the important roles my coaches played in my life and recognize I may play a similarly important role as a football coach and, at times, a surrogate father.
As a college coach, when addressing parents before they left their sons on the first day of training camp, I would let them know that over the next four years I would spend more time with their sons than they likely would and unfortunately, more just as likely, time with them than with my own sons.
The opportunity to come to St Johnsbury Academy, coach these great kids as well as coach two of my three sons, and share the journey to multiple state championship games has been an extraordinary blessing.
After 18 years of baseball and/or football coaching my kids, Saturday marks the last time I will coach one of my sons in an organized sport… time flies.
Each year as the season closes, natural transitions take place. I’m proud of all my sons. They are young men of good character and while sad to see this chapter close, I look forward to the many years to come and opportunities to lead, teach, and coach other people’s sons. If I work hard and am a little lucky, I’ll have the kind of impacts my coaches had on me, and play an important role in their lives.
Thank you for allowing me to briefly reminisce on the joys of coaching my sons, and the privilege of coaching this great game. Now, on to the task at hand…
You who have followed me here, and most certainly our athletes and staff have heard, “Championships are not won on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons in the Fall…” As we approach Saturday’s State Championship, we will reflect on the days, weeks, months, and years invested into building this team, what it means to be a Hilltopper, and to each of us individually and collectively. We carry with us the benefits of investing in ourselves, each other, and our team. We are richer in mind, body, and spirit for the commitment to team and purpose bigger than any one of us alone.
If you knew you couldn’t play tomorrow, how hard would you play today?
All Hands on Deck… The Championship is here… Let’s do this!