Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A Necessary Salute

TSN just released its annual “Top 50 players in the CFL” list, and like every year, players, fans and media weighed in with their opinions and comments.  


There’s really no way to make everyone happy when a list like this is created.  

Personally, I’d like to see a “Player Poll” TOP 50; I’m certain that that list would look far different than anything compiled by media and experts.


Fan reaction to the TSN Top 50 is always fun.  People are so passionate about their favourite players, and their loyalty to those players creates great arguments while folks are busy avoiding work at their 9-5s.


Clearly not every player will make certain lists, however, regardless of who your go-to player is, or who you’re rooting for when Week 1 opens with Montreal and Ottawaalmost every professional athlete that suits up this weekend shares one thing in common…


At some point in their life, your favourite player received great coaching at the minor league or high school levels.


I want to give a shout out to all minor league and high school football coaches.  Their value is seldom highlighted outside of football circles, but if you ask most of the TSN TOP 50 players, they’ll be quick to tell you a story of how their favourite coach impacted their lives in a positive way.  


Football is the ultimate character builder.  Values such as discipline, accountability, commitment, and respect, are all demands of the ultimate team game.  With every rep that a kid takes on the practise field and during a game, those values are cemented.  

Without a football coach, a lot of these kids today are on the road to nowhere.  A lot of young men put more worth in “likes” on Instagram than they do in hard work and sweat equity.  It’s sad but some of this generation is growing up with a sense of entitlement.   


Other young men don’t have father figures in their lives.  They come into football looking to hit things and release anger.  Good minor league and high school coaches are so much more than drill facilitators and game planners.  They become mentors and provide the guidance in life that these kids are so desperately searching for.  


Good coaches at the youth level are such a necessity, yet I’ve seen some parents treat minor football coaches and their teams like a cheap way to get babysitting for 10 hours a week.  

Those parents don’t understand what’s happening.  These coaches aren’t just volunteering their time; they’re taking away from their own families.  They’re giving up time with their own children to install critical life lessons and character into someone else’s child.  


It’s not just wins and losses here.  Its growth and development.  It’s giving someone the ability to set a higher standard of life for themselves and those around them.


To a player, a coach will always be “coach”.  It doesn’t matter how much time has passed between now and the last time a player has seen their minor league or high school mentor; he or she will always be “coach”.  


It’s a sign of utmost respect and appreciation.

The reason that your favourite player reveres his coach so much is because he\she represents a turning point in that player’s life.  A point in which that player started setting goals for himself, or developing a sense of pride in his physical accomplishments.  The coach gave him the tools and beliefs to become a leader of men, and not a follower of the crowd.


The coach gave that player a chance.


If you know a high school or minor football coach, give him a handshake when you get the chance.  He himself might not even know what a profound affect he is having on someone’s life, but he deserves to be thanked.


Not every kid that straps on a bucket during the early stages of his life will make it to the pro level.  The percentage is microscopic, however, every kid that does get a chance to play football at the grass roots will take incredibly valuable lessons with them after their final game.  


In a society that is searching for leaders, minor football and high school coaches are helping develop the future.

This year at we will be recognizing minor league football coaches across the province.  Feel free to nominate someone deserving once their season starts.  








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