Early Wednesday morning, Lawrence County hosted fellow county school R.A. Hubbard for a friendly team camp.
The two squads went through various drills that included 7 on 7-pass protection and even did some 11 on 11 work. The camp served as a fun way to break up the monotony of summer workouts and allow coaches to see what things they should work on when fall camp begins August 5.
Yet, when the camp was over, it wasn’t just all about football. Hubbard head coach Mac Hampton’s words to his team had just as much to do with life as it did with football.
“Football is a life sport. It teaches discipline, it teaches you how to fight through adversity, to get up when you get knocked down, to follow leadership. It teaches you all these things that apply in life,” said Hampton. “98% of these kids, maybe even 99%, after they play football their senior year, they’ll never play football again. But 100% will be men for the rest of their life.”
Helping to teach these young men how to successfully tackle life instead of just tackling football players is something you’ll find that, not just Hampton, but other county coaches, such as Denton Bowling at Hatton or James Moore at East Lawrence, use as well. Lawrence County’s Rich Dutton, the other coach involved in Wednesday’s camp, will tell you it’s a priority.
“You’re talking about a venue like athletics that you can use to teach kids,” Dutton said. “Because if you can teach them to withstand the hardships and to, not only embrace, but overcome the difficulties that they face, then what is life going to throw at them that they can’t handle?”
This quality of coaches is not something that is in the job description, nor is it something that fans mention when talking about how good or not good said coach is.
Still, is it a quality that is important? Absolutely.
“I wish I could put it into exact words that make people say ‘aha’ when they read it,” Dutton said. “Society will judge us on wins and losses, and that’s fine, but to me it’s more than just that, and that’s why I try to do the same whether it’s teaching Spanish or coaching football. I’m sure Coach Hampton, Coach Bowling or Coach Moore would say the same.”
So why then, if it ultimately has no bearing on their job status, do coaches go out of their way to do it? Well, for them, it comes from a passion that can’t be measured on a paycheck.
“It’s everything, it’s the reason I get up everyday. There’s three reasons I get out of bed every morning, for God, for my family and for these kids,” said Hampton. “One day they’re going to be adults, and we need to do everything we can to help them become better adults while we have them. We have to think with the future in mind, and do anything we can to help them, whether it’s on the football field, the basketball court or in the classroom.”