- Feature Story
- George Becnel
- April 24, 2017 - 10:14pm
THIBODAUX - With both coaches opening spring practice on Thursday, West St. John’s Brandon Walters and Robert Valdez of St. James will have ample opportunities to motivate their players.
The two River Parish coaches got a bit of a head start on the motivational theme as they were on hand to hear Archie Manning speak on the topic of “Motivating the Athlete” on Monday evening at the Wellness Center of the Sports Medicine Center of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.
“It’s a great experience just to be around so many great coaches and to be able to hear Archie Manning speak,” said Walters. “He brought some words of wisdom and told a few jokes here and there. It was a great experience.
“It just resonates; some of the things he said and the things you face and the challenges as coaches.”
“Anytime you can have a chance to come in and listen to somebody that’s been through it and pretty much seen the game transcend from the days he was a high school student, a college player and the NFL, it’s always good to hear that message and good to hear a refreshing type of tone,” Valdez said. “It’s a little different from the kind of things you hear nowadays. Nowadays, everything is so fast and result oriented. The message he reinforced is that all of us have the leadership in us and an obligation to do things the right way.”
Walters and Valdez were among numerous high school coaches from areas surrounding the new Wellness Center to hear Manning speak.
“I particularly enjoy being around and visiting with coaches,” said Manning, a former New Orleans Saints great and a College Football Hall of Famer. “Coaches have been such a big part of my life. Other than my dad and family, coaches had the biggest impact on me.”
Coaches are leaders, Manning said, and they are charged with developing new leaders.
“As coaches, you are certainly great leaders in your communities and at your school. Also, your job is to develop leaders. That’s what you want in your young people,” said Manning.
His own leadership skills, Manning said, began while learning to play quarterback in high school.
“In my experience as a player, as a businessman and father, the only thing that will sustain you during challenging times is teamwork and leadership,” he said.
“When I started playing the quarterback position,” Manning continued. “I had to learn to be a leader. I had to lead 10 other people out of that huddle.”
Manning shared three aspects of leadership:
- Think like a leader.
- Set goals like a leader.
- Act like a leader.
The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback shared several anecdotes concerning his himself, past coaches and his famous sons to highlight his speech on leadership.
He closed with two points.
“As I wind down, let me remind you of something: We all go through tough times. But what lies behind you and what lies before you fails in comparison to what lies within you,” Manning said. “The challenges may be great but the ability is even greater.”
“Folks, I think I know a little about adversity,” he continued. “I know what it’s like to lose loved ones. I know what it’s like to lose a ton of football games. And, I know what it’s like to lose most of a city to a horrible, natural disaster. But I’ve also survived enough adversity to know that at the end of every storm, the sun will shine.”