What’s behind the shirt?
For the past 9 years a very special gathering has taken place on a large field just outside of San Jose, CA. Hundreds of boys and girls aged 8 – 14 meet for five evenings of learning, growth and discovery. I have been a supporter of this event, the Myles Brinson- JR Adams Fundamental Football Camp, ever since the day I learned of it… 6 years ago now. While I do love football, here football is merely the platform on which the true learning is built.
Myles Brinson and JR Adams are the camp’s heroes. Every camp participant wears a t-shirt with their numbers on it. These 2 young men were taken from this earth far too soon… Myles at age 8 by leukemia and JR, as high school senior, by a teen-aged drunk driver. In memory of their sons, their amazing parents have created an environment where character rules over physical ability. Respect… Discipline… Family… evident in every corner of the field every minute.
Here is a minute I will not forget: on Friday during a skill development session a boy on the team that was practicing closest to me (maybe 13 or 14 yr olds) began bucking against what the team was instructed to work on. He let out a string of cuss words. The coach of the team, a young man I recognized from previous years of camp, heard the outburst and called out to the boy. It took a few calls to get his attention. The coach is likely just 17 or 18 yrs old and by my estimate a good 50 pounds lighter than the cussing boy. No worries. Without hesitation, the coach laid it out there:
- … No, not while you are wearing this shirt
- … We don’t act like that here… we don’t treat each other with disrespect like that
- … That’s not what wearing this shirt is about
- … You need to honor this shirt
- … Don’t forget that
I was blown away… not just by the words/actions but also by the authentic delivery of the message. The message I heard: the irrefutable stand the coach has for “who we are” and “how it is around here”. Respect. Discipline. Family.
Later during the camp’s closing ceremony I realized the young coach is JR’s little brother… a young man of rare character… one you know will be a great gift to this earth.
Think about your corner of the field. What is on your “shirt”? What is behind it?