Uvalde in Perspective. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children died in a school shooting. The single spectacular event was indeed a tragedy, a travesty. May 24, 2022, remains an infamous day of pictures, names, stories, and later the funerals.
The problem is catastrophes can create blinders to harsh realities. The problem of children dying is much larger than 19 deaths.
In the 365 days since Uvalde, across the United States of America it is estimated that over 1700 children died from neglect and abuse, an estimated 3,500 children and adolescents died from gun violence, and an estimated 4,000 children and adolescents died in vehicle accidents.
The Uvalde tragedy has many lingering effects— school safety, blame games, recovery, but children being killed continues today, tomorrow, and every day.
Team Focus. Joe Gottfried and his wife Mary are among our best friends. After a successful coaching career, Joe was the Athletic Director at South Alabama for over 25 years. Joe and Mary invited us to be their guests at the annual fund-raising dinner for Team Focus.
Team Focus is a national charity founded by Joe’s brother and his wife, Mike and Mickey Gottfried. Mike was a very successful football coach and ESPN announcer. When he retired, they began Team Focus.
Joe and Mike lost their father at a young age. Mike’s heart for boys without fathers and his faith led Mickey and him to develop Team Focus. In 20 years, the program has provided mentors for over 7,000 boys without a male role model in the home. The success stories in Mobile alone are impressive. Team Focus is a charity worth supporting. Team Focus – About (teamfocususa.org)
At the dinner the first guest speaker was John Harbaugh, head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. John is a cousin of Joe and Mike. The small town of Crestline, Ohio has an impressive coaching tree. Jack Harbaugh was a successful football coach. His sons – Jim at Michigan and John with the Ravens are successful. Joe and Mike Gottfried were successful which is a very impressive resume for one small town.
John gave an entertaining speech filled with fun stories and the importance of his faith. The second speaker was also excellent.
Incredibly Important Lesson. Ordinarily Coach Nick Saban from Alabama is a keynote speaker. Unfortunately, he was out of the country and unable to attend. Kevin Steele, the defensive coordinator for Alabama, filled in for him. Coach Steele gave an incredibly important lesson in his speech that I wish I had heard long ago.
He has worked as an assistant with many great coaches. Early in his career he worked for Tom Osborne, the legendary coach for Nebraska. He shared a lesson he learned from coach Osborne.
Following every game, the coaches met to evaluate the game. The first thing coach Osborne did after every game was to begin the meeting with the mistakes he made. He made himself accountable for his mistakes and easier for others to do likewise. Kevin practices that lesson in his work. Before he tells the players about their mistakes, He always tells the mistakes he made in the game.
Kevin went on to add — it is a good lesson for fathers and spouses. I would add — it is a good practice for managers of any organized activity.
Incidentally, after he retired from coaching, Tom Osborne went on to be a congressman from Nebraska. Our congress could use his lesson today.
Labor of Love. Last week I mentioned we were hosting a graduation party for my great nephew, James King. His home is in Dothan, but he attended the Alabama School of Math and Science in Mobile.
We attended the graduation. In addition to excellent speeches, we greatly enjoyed that they only had 67 names to call out.
In addition to being hospitable, since she retired, Jeny has been knitting and crocheting afghan blankets for family and friends. The one in the picture is for James. It is her 15th. I wish I had a way to accurately represent to everyone the effort that goes into creating one. Choosing a pattern, selecting the yarn, learning the pattern and then the actual crocheting involves a lot of time, effort and love.
Brave boy and a good shot!
Brave tough children
First Responders do it again.