From the desk of Wally Dawkins, Athletic Director:
My Father was an athlete. He attended what is now known as Troy University in Alabama on a combination football, basketball, baseball scholarship. He evidently ended up being a heckuva baseball player, being drafted twice, once by Boston and once by Cleveland. I remember him telling me over and over how playing sports built character. He said participating in sports taught you how to work hard, how to work together as part of a team, and to not give up. Those words have always “rang true” with me, as an athlete and as a coach.
As a coach, the character of my players has always been more important to me than how many games they could help me win. My players at Whitehouse from 1987-2008 and at Brook Hill these past six years have heard me say numerous times that “it is important who gets on that bus with me”. Not because of me, but because those riding the bus were representing their school, their community, and their families. It has always been important to me that my players represented all of those entities well. In order to do that, they needed to have great character.
Were my players perfect? Absolutely not! But they knew where I stood on the issues, and that was important. I wanted my players to be honest, to treat their teachers and other adults with respect, to be polite, and not to be in the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons. I did not allow my players to use profanity, or show disgust with officials or other players. I wanted my players to be role models for the “little eyes and ears” that were looking up to them. I expected my players to be in class… and to pass.
One of my mentors was my predecessor at Whitehouse C.L. Nix. Coach Nix used to say “As a coach, you are obligated to teach them how to be citizens”. Plain and simple…love God…love your country…respect others…and never hit a girl! That’s the way I want athletics to work. I want athletics to build character, to build Christian men and women into outstanding citizens and hard working parents, who are role models for their kids. In today’s society however, I’m concerned that in many instances, athletics is not building character, but is “creating characters”.
The NFL is a perfect example, and here is my theory:
We take this 7 year old kid who is a “beast”. He is the best Flag Football player, the best Youth League Basketball player, the best “Coach Pitch” baseball player, and because he is so good, we start doing things like always paying for all of his meals, providing him transportation to games, picking up his hotel tab, uniform cost, and actually bribing the kids with gifts so he will stay on your team. And why do we do that? Because he is the reason WE WIN…and that is what really matters…right? Pretty soon the kid figures it out. He starts to realize that he is special. He begins to believe that he is something great, a cut above. And then he starts to think that the rules don’t apply to him because of his athletic ability and that’s when the trouble starts. I have actually seen this exact situation happen hundreds of times, and you have too.
I love this analogy; you have a dog and you pet it, you love on it, you talk to it, you feed and groom it. The dog looks up at you and he thinks “YOU… must be God”. You do the very same thing for a cat and the cat looks up at you and thinks… “I must be God”.
This is exactly what the great athlete thinks when he is not taught that it is the character that matters, not the height of his vertical. The great athlete thinks it is how fast he runs and what fantastic skills he has that is important…not if he is honest or respectful, or treats women with dignity that counts.
My point is simply this. Ask yourself what your child is getting from participating in athletics, and who is he getting it from?
Is your child’s character being developed…or is he being turned into a character. I can guarantee that at Brook Hill, our coaches are totally about the character first, and the wins second. With all that being said, if you keep up with Brook Hill Athletics…you know that we win plenty i.e. 10 State Championships and 14 additional Final Four finishes in the past six years.
Now back to where we started with my Dad. My Dad also told me that part of the deal for receiving his scholarship was that he and the other athletes had to dig irrigation ditches on campus at night after dinner to “earn their keep”. Can you imagine a college athlete doing that today?
Brook Hill. Building athletes with character…not creating characters.
Just another reason to be “ALL ORANGE…All the Time”.