By Gabriel Stovall
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — So in the latest episode of Despicable Fans Doing Despicable Things, we have Jonesboro High School in Clayton County in view where, apparently, for a select minority of gentlemen, making history on the football field, winning your first region title since 1949, fielding a handful of legit NCAA Division I football players and doing it with a coaching staff of class and integrity that prides itself on teaching their young men how to compete, win and lose graciously while honoring God through it all isn’t good enough.
The Cardinals’ (11-2) dream season came to an end Friday night in a 38-14 loss to an undefeated Cartersville squad who boasts perhaps the nation’s top young quarterback in sophomore Trevor Lawrence — 247sports.com has listed him as the nation’s No. 1 high school signal caller for the class of 2018. And despite all that the Cardinals have accomplished, apparently it wasn’t good enough for a group of men on the Jonesboro side of the stands who voiced their displeasure in no uncertain terms.
Check out the eloquent way Mike Roby, South Metro Atlanta Fellowship of Christian Athletes director, and vehement supporter of Jonesboro athletics rightly calls out the foolishness of a few Jonesboro “fans.”
Ok, I’ve had enough. Feel free to pass by if length is too much.
I believe I have the best “job” in the world. I spend all of my day working alongside coaches and athletes sharing Jesus. I am truly blessed and know it.
However at some point you just have to call a duck a duck. Tonight my family and friends made the drive to Cartersville to support the wonderful boys of Jonesboro HS Football and my dear friend coach Tim Floyd and staff. The season has been nothing short of a Miracle & community revival.
I have seen a staff take coaching to a new level this season by attending a weekend workshop this summer (on their own time) to learn how to positively impact young men in a greater way. I’ve seen a staff take 4 days away from their families to take their team to FCA football camp which focuses on making better athletes but MORE importantly focuses on spiritual and leadership development of young men.
I’ve spent personal/confidential bible study time with coaches where they’ve shared personal struggles of being away from their wives and families. I’ve seen coaches that spend (on average) 14-15 hour days to prepare, plan, and implement game plans to put players in the best situation.
I’ve worked along side these same coaches to help meet financial needs to feed their teams because parents can’t afford player fees and getting help is next to impossible.
All of that said, these same coaches keep grinding and working to develop fine young men. Young men that one day will get jobs, get married, and start families because let’s face it….less than 3% of ALL varsity players in the USA will play at the next level…yes 3%.
So….as I sit in the stands tonight (normally I’m on the sidelines) you can see my absolute disgust to have a group of men (players families) stand on the front row and yell four-letter words at the coaches about their football decisions and degrade them. You see, if I had to guess these men probably haven’t played football in 20+ years if ever & “maybe” they’ve coached pop warner football at some point.
Now, I’m not stupid….even I sometimes wonder about a decision or two a coach makes but I then shake myself into reality that I was not “called” to be a HS football coach. I’m gonna assume by the fact that these men are in the stands that they too haven’t been “called” to coach.
So, here is what I witnessed. 1- players turning around from the bench telling parents to shut up. 2- police officer being called over and telling them to shut up, and 3- the school principal getting involved (and you don’t want to mess with her.)
Over what???? You feel the need and obviously think it’s ok to devalue men (coaches) that are investing more time in your child then you probably do at home.
So, pardon my bluntness but you should be thanking and encouraging these coaches for the positive influence in your child’s life and stop acting like a fool which leads many of these coaches to throw their hands up and walk away from the profession.
To close with a encouraging note I will end with this: 11-2 season (school record), region title (only 2nd in school history), making the Eilte 8 (school record) is all great enough, but being personally a part of watching boys become young men under these coaches guidance…..yea, I’d be honored for you guys to coach my own son.
Job well done!
For the rest of you, I pray you truly seek what true value looks like in your own life. It’s a game!
Well said, Mr. Roby. Something has to be done about this ridiculous, budding trend of fans who take high school sports so seriously that they forget about the poor examples they set for their impressionable young sons and daughters.
Here’s to hoping the young men on the Jonesboro football team can help teach the adults some manners.