Ahhh, It’s like Friday Night Lights at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, NC.
It is Homecoming, the kids are pumped, the Band is marching, and there’s no question that “we’re” going to win!
I know, because I’m with one of the athletic coaches at “JB” and rumor had it that the score would be around “40 to 7”
Jack Britt is an exemplary High School, though it’s larger than I’d ever seen, almost 2,000 students, above average in all sorts of areas, starting with academics.
As Assistant Principal Doris Taylor told me, “Many of our students happen to be good athletes, rather than many of our athletes happen to be good students.”
That perspective permeates the school and was brought home to me Wednesday evening as I stood at the finish line of the track meet with Coach Stoker. As some of the cross country racers who had already finished walked by, he pointed to one girl and said, “See that tall one?” “She’s all A’s… And she’s a great runner too.”
Hangin’ with a coach these last couple of days (while also going to area high- and middle schools) brought home to me the critical importance of athletics in academic endeavors. Sure, even the Greeks stressed that several millennia ago.
What I mean is that coaches teach life skills that you just don’t get in a book. Experiencing being knocked down emotionally as well as physically, and yet, getting up and going at it again. If something doesn’t work, try something else.
Accepting defeat as part of growing, but never part of quitting.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And teamwork, mutual respect, and leadership, and all the rest.
In a word… Character.
As several Jack Britt HS graduates came up to say “Hi” to Coach Stoker, I could see what a positive influence he was (and is still) on his former student-athletes.
Oh yes, the final score was, Jack Britt High School 60, Visitors 13.