I just don’t feel like writing about politics today. In fact, I find it difficult to stop reading everything I can find about slain Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas. I have to admit however, that when I first learned of the shooting yesterday morning at the schools weight room, one of the first things that popped into my head was speculation about what would lead someone to do such a thing.
I’m not proud of my initial thoughts. My mind drifted to infidelity and beyond; what else could explain such a violent act against a local icon? The state of our society doesn’t help matters either. Stories about John Edwards, John Ensign, and now Mark Sanford’s infidelity make one wonder if there are any male role models our kids can look up to.
From all accounts Coach Thomas was the real deal. Sure he had an impressive coaching career, a stellar win/loss record, and produced pro-bowl caliber players in the NFL, but Thomas seemed more motivated by creating good young men.
Maybe the most informative thing I read about Thomas yesterday was the statement issued former A-P standout and current Green Bay Packer defensive end Aaron Kampman.
Kampman said, “Coach Thomas was very special to me and many other young men from the Aplington-Parkersburg communities. His legacy for many will be associated with his tremendous success as a football coach. However, I believe his greatest legacy comes not in how many football games he won or lost but in the fact that he was a committed follower of Jesus Christ. He lived his life trying to exemplify this faith and convey those values to those under his influence. His faith in Christ pervaded everything he did and that is why in the midst of the heartache we all feel there is comfort in knowing he is with his Savior.”
What a powerful statement.
The Des Moines Register also has pictures of Thomas leading his team in prayer.
It seems safe to say that Coach Thomas found it impossible to create outstanding young men without instilling in them the values and virtues of his faith. His loss to the Aplington-Parkersburg community is devastating, but the real tragedy is that the younger generations will not have someone like Coach Thomas to teach and lead them.
I also have to wonder what those who think that faith and religion has no place in public education think about how Coach Thomas integrated his faith into his teaching. Wouldn’t everyone agree that we need more people like Coach Thomas? I think so.
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