I visited with the Lakota Stallions recently. Awesome sight seeing 443 kids playing football all at the same time, same enormous field, all doing mentoring at the same time, virtue talks ... My friend Carl Brown and I visited with a number of parents and coaches getting testimonials and feedback.
I had a great chat with one of their 6th grade coaches - Trent Todd. He has been with the Stallions since they began and we have become very good friends.
The other night as he was coaching he had his team run across a field and touch a tree - the farthest possible thing ... When they came back he talked to them about the commitment they had made to each other, that they were letting each other down, etc.
The next day he comes to practice and he sees a player running out to the tree on his own. He comes back and hands him a leaf. Trent asks him, "What's this for?" The player says, "I was disrespectful to my mom before practice today and I know that is not what being a Stallion is all about." Trent had him tell his teammates this and now for the past week players have been running to the tree and coming back with a leaf - they are doing this on their own ...
Trent has leaves all over his truck now (smile). Poor tree is going to be bare pretty soon!
He also told me about a player who had to go to the hospital in the off season. His parents called him and said that Jimmy wants to see you - can you please come visit ... a testament to the relationship they had built ...
Many youth coaches have told me ... "I'm just a youth coach, just a pop warner coach ..." as if a high school coach was more important or more meaningful to kids - not so.