Hey Coach

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Who coached the first game that the Alabama State Hornets won in the new Hornet Stadium?

As you remember the stadium was opened for the Turkey Day Classic last November and Alabama State lost. The next game was the Black and Gold game played Saturday, April 26, 2013. I was invited to be an honorary coach of the Gold team. My assistant was Roger Schultz the former Alabama great and sports radio host. He didn’t like the designation of assistant so I let him coach the first quarter and we were down 7 – 0. I took over and we won 24-14! Trent Mitchell was one of the opposing celebrity coaches.

I have coached one game in my career, and we won. I am retiring with a perfect record and the first win for Alabama State in the new Hornet Stadium! The Gatorade shower on the sidelines was unexpected, and was not something I really enjoyed. As I had to leave for another major formal event, getting the Gatorade off didn’t come easy!

I learned some things worth sharing.

1.) You don’t see as much of the ballgame down on the sidelines as you do when you are up in the press box. A lot of those big guys and big coaches get in your way. It is also a different perspective on the game.

I think that is the reason we have trouble here on earth getting our directions. God has a lot better view up high and He sees the “whole field.” Our responsibility is not to call the plays down here but to listen to Him and follow His guidance. He has the best view of life!

2.) When there is a play that comes to your side of the field, you better get way out of the way. Those big 250 – 300 pound bodies come flying through the air to the sidelines. A lot of coaches wind up with broken legs. It wasn’t any problem for me – I was almost in the stands whenever they came that close!

But you do have to be prepared. If you are not paying attention, you can get caught in a dangerous place. The Bible talks a lot about being ready. One thing that often happens is that Satan catches us when we are least expecting. The Bible describes him as a roaring lion who is prowling around waiting to pounce on somebody. (I Peter 5:8)

3.) I was impressed that I did not hear a single word of profanity by any of the coaches or players on the sidelines. The other guys serving as honorary coaches said the same thing.

I have had an opportunity to speak at some national coaches’ conferences with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and to lead the worship service at the American College Football Coaches Association meeting where 7,000 of them gathered. Not all coaches practice zero tolerance with profanity, but it seems to be a growing trend. I would love to fan the flame of that trend.

4.) Coaches have a tremendous influence on young men and women. Some of the players on the field were guys that had been given a second chance by Coach Reggie Barlow and his staff. We all need to be in the business of giving second chances. I’m glad I’ve had second chances!

I am retiring with an undefeated record. My coaching philosophy is simple – score 1 more point than the opponent, unless its golf.

I have a greater appreciation for coaches. Pray for them. If an adult gets a foot in the door with today’s youth, it will probably have a cleat on it!

Hey Coach – I loved hearing that!

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