Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Observations - Jan 18

- Three day week at school this coming week. Pretty exciting. Much needed too.

- Wrestled at Fandetti Brawl at Science Hill High School in Johnson City yesterday. Love to the tournament because 1) good competition from TN, NC, VA, KY, AL and LA and 2) they serve these great home cooked potato chips in the hospitality room. We'll be back next year.

- Perhaps I am starting to like the cold more. The high on Friday was 28 and I was never really bothered. Or it just means my body is shutting down.

- An old friend living in Oklahoma City had triplets yesterday. It's perhaps the most amazing thing that I have seen in a long time. Congrats to the Leclercqs. This is Sophia, the oldest of the three (Cooper and Isabelle are the other two):

Crush of the Week:
I have to be careful with this one, because I don't want to get too gushing. It really is hard to truly make judgments on the character of a person without really knowing that person. That's why I try not to make judgment on people on TV and in the spotlight. I try to differentiate between judging an action or decision and judging a person's heart.

That being said, I adore this man. Tony Dungy epitomizes so much of what's good about people. Writers like Peter King and Don Banks praise what a great person Tony Dungy is. Great coach, even better person is the concensus. King says that he has "never covered a more decent man in my 29 years in this business." That's high praise for the first black coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl championship.

When he was at Tampa Bay, the word was that Tony Dungy was a good coach that would never win the Super Bowl. He didn't scream and cuss enough. He wasn't mean enough.

When he interviewed with the Colts, he told the ownership that if they wanted a head coach who was going to live and sleep in the office they should look elsewhere. He wanted to be able to take his kids to school and perform his job of being a father and husband.

When his son, James, committed suicide in 2005, lots of people's hearts broke and sympathy was abound for the Dungy family. Remarkably, Dungy did more consoling to guests at the memorial than he was consoled.

Potential Hall of Famer and former Vikings receiver Cris Carter was contemplating coaching at a high school. He called Coach Dungy for advice on the decision. Dungy told Carter that when he asks NFL prospects about who has influenced them the most, one of the most common responses is their high school coach. Then he told Carter, "maybe I should have been a high school coach". It reminded me of the influence I have as a coach of young men and women and the importance of my role in developing not just athletes, but also individuals.
Dungy is not done. He will continue to serve, just in a different capacity. Maybe you will see him doing commentary on television. Most of his time will be spent with his family and continuing in prison ministry and other community service. He has spoken about his passion for young black men and I could see him working in some inner city program to help blacks get training and stay off the streets.

Whatever he does, the NFL has lost a great man. The NFL's loss is someone else's gain because Dungy will be active in something. And that something will benefit from the patience, love and wisdom of Tony Dungy.

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