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Being who I am, I tend to avoid many personal items. But I will take a line or two to tip my hat to a young man who I kind of coached, but didn’t. He was in my oldest daughter’s graduating class. Since I made it a point to never work where my kids went to school, Seth Stinton was never on a team I coached, but I worked with him over the years. I recruited him but was too far from home for him so he went to SMU where he started at safety for three years. We talk often, mostly about football. But also about what a young man should be when he leaves the game to begin “his life’s work.” He is the Head Coach and Athletic Director at Melissa High School in Texas, a school that has only had a football program since 2004. In the 11 seasons Seth has been the head coach there they have had 10 playoff teams including a state championship.
I have taken some pride in Seth in the past. But this Friday, September 1, in the home opening game every senior player for Melissa carried an American flag onto the field to the song “God Bless the USA.” I have seen or been aware of most of the highlights in Coach Stinton’s athletic efforts since he was 9 years old. This was better than the afternoon he picked three passes against Texas A&M. This better than the evening he won a state championship. He was a young man who in many ways had to raise himself and he did a pretty good job. And is extending that into the lives of other young men in a way that should remind us of the role competitive sports can and should have in the full development of an active citizen. During a period of time when something that has been a major part of my life has tended to leave me with a feeling of betrayal, this was a fresh breath and a reminder from someone whom I have always had pride in.Published in