Reflecting and Giving Thanks

This week, I share a Facebook post from the mother of one of our senior offensive linemen who suffered a tragic loss in their family a year ago.  I paused before posting because one could easily jump to the conclusion, I’m taking the opportunity to “toot my own horn.” In fact, I’m simply trying to reinforce the very best football has to offer. If in some small way through the lessons I hope to share on and off the field, as well as here on the blog, I even slightly inspire someone to lead, teach, and coach the way my coaches inspired me, it will be worth all the effort. So please forgive the laudatory comments and realize the mother of this senior student-athlete perfectly captures what is so good about football, the culture it can create in a community, and the impact it has on the lives of the players.

I attended my son’s football banquet on Sunday night. For those of us with graduating seniors, this year is bittersweet and full of emotion. It is a year of “lasts.” Football, in particular, is extremely hard to let go of not only for Lane but for me as well. Many of these boys have played together for 8 or more years and during that time a family was formed. No other sport any of my children have participated in has fostered the type of relationship among the parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. the way that football has. I am very grateful for the support of this ‘football family” during the most difficult time in my family’s life. Many of us joke, “our social lives are over now that football is done…”

My friend attended the banquet with me. When we got home I asked him what he thought of it. He said he thought it was great. He enjoyed hearing all of the speeches about the boys but he was surprised as he thought there would be an ovation at the end for Coach Rich Alercio. “After all,” he said, “he’s the heart of the team.”

He is right. You, Coach Alercio, were thanked throughout the evening by different individuals but you were not lauded to the extent you deserve. Because of you and the team of coaches you have picked I am confident my son will go forward a better person, — a better man. I wholeheartedly believe the choices he will make, the paths he will take will be forever influenced by the impact you have had on him.

You had high expectations – expected no less than his best both on and off the field. You have his best interest at heart. You have been tough when Lane needed you to be tough, and you have held him up when he needed it most.

I truly thank you for your dedication, your time, and the brotherhood you have nurtured among all these young men.

 I am humbled by such kind words, and by the privilege to contribute to the lives of our student-athletes. I share these words here in hopes of showing you what’s possible… If a high school coach from a small town in Vermont can positively impact the lives of those around him, so can you. We all share such opportunities and I hope you’ll make the most of them.

Though Thanksgiving has recently passed and the 2019 football season has come to an end, I want to relay my thanks and gratitude for all we’ve shared this season, and for the privilege to start it all over again as we look ahead to 2020. Games aren’t won on Fridays and Saturdays in the Fall… Let’s get back at it!

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 richalercio@gmail.com 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!

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