The third Monday of January is the day we honor the life of a man who fought for racial justice and equality and dreamed of a color-blind world free from segregation. While we have come a long was as a nation since Dr. King shared his dream; the recent social unrest reminds us of how far we still must go.
The third Monday of January also marks the start of the football clinic season and my annual trip to Bergen County NJ for the honor of speaking at Fred Stengel’s annual offensive line coach’s clinic. Regrettably, for the first time in over 20 years, Coach Stengel’s clinic will not happen. Nor will so many others. I am hopeful that invitations I had to speak at the 2021 New England Nike Clinic, Glazier Clinics, and the Big New England Clinic will be extended to me again in 2022. As I have said in other blogs, one of the greatest things about our profession is the willingness of coaches to share their knowledge with others. While I love to speak and share those things that have brought our program success, I find equal joy in learning from other coaches.
The game of football and the young people we coach are ever changing and we, as coaches, must adapt to those changes and stay current to have continued success and to better relate to this generation of players. We must have open minds that are accepting of new ideas and better ways of doing things. To have an open mind, we must possess the virtue of humility. Arrogance leads to a closed mind and the belief that we are already in possession of everything worth knowing. If I’ve learned anything in more than 30 years of coaching, it’s actually how much I still have left to learn!
While Glazier, Nike and Big New England have all gone virtual, I remain optimistic the vaccine coupled with herd immunity will allow the Vermont Football Coaches Clinic and the Alercio OLine Clinics, usually scheduled in March, to be hosted live in May. I am ever hopeful the coming months will allow us to gather as coaches to share ideas with open minds for the betterment of our players, teams, and the game of football. Opportunities to learn and share excite me and re-kindle the optimism and promise of the new season and all we can achieve together. In his “I have a dream” speech, when Dr. King said, “We as a people, will get to the promised land…” I think he was speaking of the hope and potential for all to achieve the best of themselves, and the best of society. While my aspirations for the team pales in comparison to Dr. King’s monumental task and achievements, I feel fortunate to have his example to emulate and guide from as we begin again to strive to be our best as players, coaches, and teammates.
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!