No. 650

The next password is wendy



For the past dozen years here in our community, we have had the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bob Courtway Memorial Breakfast.
I’m proud to say the late Dr. Bob Courtway was a friend of mine. Bob was a friend to everyone, and you never heard a critical word from him or about him from anyone who knew him. He was always a true gentleman. For many years Bob was at the pinnacle of the sports world, retiring in 1992 after 31 years as a coach at Hendrix College. He also served as president and a member of the Conway School Board and served as a member, deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church. He died on Sept. 11, 1997, and is survived by his wonderful wife Betty, daughter Susan and sons Tom, Bobby, John and Jeff.
I just wanted to share a little bit of personal background for a very deserving name that is connected with the annual FCA breakfast. In case you are not familiar with FCA, this wonderful organization promotes Jesus Christ and the ideals and values of living a Christian lifestyle to young athletes on high school and college campuses all across the nation. Based on his testimony at the Heisman Trophy Awards Ceremony, the 2007 winner, Tim Tebow, may have been a member of FCA.
Well, enough of this introduction. Let me get down to what I wanted to share with you. I have attended our local FCA breakfast for the past several years, and they have had some wonderful, big-name speakers. However, this past year I got to meet and hear one of my all-time heroes. If you follow sports at all, you no doubt know the name of Ken Hatfield. Personally I am turned off by much of what I see in the sports world today, and I will elaborate a bit later, but occasionally there is an exception to the rule, a man or woman who has their values and their priorities in the right order, at least from my perspective.
Such is the case with Ken Hatfield. Several years ago, I wrote to Ken when he was coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks and later when he was the coach at Clemson. He always took time to write me back. His accomplishments on the football field and in coaching are legendary, but here are just a few of them: Co-captain of the 1964 National Championship team (11-0); Academic 1st Team All American -- Arkansas; All Century Team; American Football Coaches & Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year, 1983; Houston Touchdown Club -- Touchdowner of the year, 2002; American Football Coaches Association President, 2004; 168 Division 1 wins as head coach at Air Force, Arkansas, Clemson and Rice; and active member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1965.
To be sure, Ken Hatfield is a true winner who has his priorities right, on and off the field. There are two basic reasons I wanted to share a little of his story with you, regardless of where you live or whether or not you are interested in sports.
We have reached a point where the tail is wagging the dog, in relation to salaries for coaches, along with players jumping to the pros before they get a good education. In today’s times, when reports of illegal drug use are rampant and players are sitting in jail or prison while others are suspended for academic or team rule violations, we need more good role models. If I had a son who was good enough to play college football, Ken Hatfield is certainly the kind of coach I would want him to play for. I might add, there are lots of fine coaches around today, men and women, but unfortunately there are many others who could care less about teaching character values that prepare young men and women for a successful life.
The other reason is something Ken told me, which is completely unrelated. He said, “You have to read a book six times to get it all.” This came in response to the discussion we were having about literacy and our “Bookcase for Every Child” project. I’m sure you have heard the statement before that there are three keys to learning. The first one is repetition. The second one is repetition. And the third one, you guessed it, is repetition. Using this as a standard, you can see why reading a book six times will make an even deeper impression on the mind, and the retention factor will be greatly enhanced.
A dummy can become a great athlete if they are endowed with a great body, strength, speed, desire and natural ability. But to become a true winner, one must also use the mind. This is why reading good books, and lots of them, will prepare athletes for a great career long after their playing days are over. You may even find several that are good enough, and important enough, to read six times. I can promise you this: Ken Hatfield did not become president of the American Football Coaches Association because he was a dummy. He is a great role model.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)

The next password is wendy