PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JUNE 25
By Leo Haggerty

THE MAN IN THE ARENA

This will be the last time that any It’s Sports Magazine article will start with the following reminder paragraph that has been at the forefront of all our works since the beginning of the pandemic in March. .  Not that its importance has lessened.  Far from it but, there comes a point in time where, the message has been delivered.  So, wash your hands and wear a mask when you’re out in public as well as practice social distancing.  It’s the right thing to do, period.

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

In education, there are times that we teachers refer to as “teachable moments.”  That occurs when, during a lesson, a student brings up a point for discussion that is totally foreign to the knowledge you are trying to impart but its relevance far outweighs what you were planning.

So, you pivot away from your prepared topic and move to something that spontaneously has presented itself in the classroom. It supersedes what you had planned because the life lesson that has presented itself is just too important to pass up for the sake of rigidly sticking to the curriculum.

As in the classroom, the same applies to the field of athletic competition.  That’s because to COACH is to TEACH.  It’s just spelled differently but the methodology is the same.

Those situations, both in academics and athletics, are extremely few and far between but they are the most important.  In fact, one of those moments occurred for me and I decided to run with it.

It happened during our weekly KSP Radio sports-talk broadcast, where I am the host, earlier this week.  Our Knights Sports Productions NCAA Football Analyst Scott Westering was doing his segment and I asked him whether he felt the level of play will deteriorate with no fans in the stands to motivate players.

Well, if you’ve listened to our podcast on Blog Talk Radio, you already know that Coach Scott has a very unique perspective.  That comes from having prowled the gridiron for 37 years with 14 of those as the head coach and, on Tuesday evening, he did not disappoint.

To answer that query, Scott read a poem.  The literary work he chose was composed by his late father, College Football Hall of Fame Coach Forrest Edward Westering who everyone called Frosty, and I am posting “The Man In The Arena” below for your perusal and enjoyment.

The man in the Arena you will know,
By the type of Character he will Show.

As his Face is marked with Blood and Sweat,
He continues to battle with an eager Mind Set.

Some men fold when they struggle with their Pride,
And they lose their Desire, and drop off to the side.

Others Grow Stronger overcoming their Flaws,
Enjoying the Challenge and not the Applause.

The Thrill of the Battle, that is the Key,
Which brings out My Best that only God sees.

Whether we Win or whether we Lose,
We experience a Joy that few people Choose.

The Man in the Arena, that is the Spot,
So go for it now, and GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT.

That was a WOW moment for me and our listeners.  Right after the conclusion of our program, I called Scott, who lives in the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, and asked if he could send me that poem.  I wanted to post it immediately the next day.

That put my Thursday article on the back burner until a later day and rightfully so.  I wanted to share with you, our loyal readers, that “teachable moment” that Frosty so eloquently penned and Scott provided.

For more information on Frosty Westering, just type his name into your search engine. You’ll discover that he was not only a legendary college football coach but also a veteran (Semper Fi) as well as a writer (Make The Big Time Where You Are and The Strange Secret Of The Big Time). Trust me, it will be worth your time.

Thanks, Scott, for sharing a piece of Frosty with us.  It was that rare “teachable moment” to say the least.