FROM THE BLEACHERS: Herald-Banner Column

Jack Welch has served as a high school and college football coach for 39 years. He holds a Doctorate in Education. He can be reached at jackwelch1975@gmail.com.


Too many times players are berated for their mistakes.  None of us like to make mistakes but it is how coaches react to players’ mistakes that makes the difference. The exciting aspect of life is every day offers a brand-new day with unlimited possibilities.  

What happened yesterday is gone.  The mistakes, regrets, and slip-ups belong to yester-world.  Today is a clean slate, an opportunity to start a new beginning.

There is a major difference between hustling mistakes and lack-of-effort mistakes.  If a player is giving their best and makes a mistake, then so be it.  On the other hand, mistakes made by players over and over because they are not giving great effort are the mistakes that are hard to forgive.  

Have you witnessed players playing their heart out and they make a critical mistake?  How do you respond? The response of the coach makes all the difference in the world.   

On New Year’s Day in 1929, Georgia Tech played the University of California in the Rose Bowl.  Right before halftime, Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for California.  

Somehow, Roy became confused and started running the wrong way for 65 yards until one of his own players tackled him just before he got to his opponents’ goal line.  When California attempted to punt, Georgia Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety.

At halftime, Roy sat in the dressing room and cried like a baby.  Coach Price was silent.  No doubt, he was trying to decide what to say to Riegels and the team.  

Everyone just sat there in shock.  When the timekeeper announced  three minutes to start the second half, Coach Price looked at the team and told them the same group of players that played the first half will start the second.

All the team charged from the locker room except Roy.  Coach Price asked Roy if he heard him say the same group would start the second half? Roy didn’t respond and Coach Price said let’s go.   

Riegels looked up with tears in his eyes and said he could not return to play the second half. He said he had ruined his coaches and teammates.  Then he said he could not face the crowd.

What Coach Price did next was priceless. He put his hand on Roy’s shoulder and told him to get up and let’s go play.  The game is only half over, you are on my team, and we need you.  Roy got up, went back to the field, and played a tremendous second half.   

Sometimes in life we take the ball and run the wrong way.  We stumble, fumble, and fall.  We get so ashamed of ourselves that we do not want to face the crowd.  

However, it is during these times that we hear the calm voice of God telling us to get up and get back in the game of life. Proverbs 28:13 says, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

Attitude is everything.

Thought for the week:

 “The level of our fear shows us our lack of faith.”

— Jack Welch

Dr. Jack Welch is a college football coach and has been in public school and collegiate education for 40 years. He is the author of Foundations of Coaching (2020) and can be reached at jackwelch1975@gmail.com.

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