It made my heart soar like an eagle when I read a recent article in the WN featuring Anthony Parker (“Football player inspires a new generation”).
Coach Rick Harman and I were Parker’s W&l JV football coaches. Parker may have come to be known as “Baby T,” but back in the day (1982) he was known as ‘Pads Parker,” who showed up at every game and practice taped and padded from neck to ankle.
A real competitor, Anthony was one who thought he could play any position better than the kid who already had it. Stout and strong, we naturally played him on the line–both ways, when he was not playing linebacker. He was a predator as linebacker.
At least once a week, “Pads Parker” would come up to me and say,”Why don’t you let me carry the ball, coach?”
“Too slow; get back on the line,” was my usual reply.
But he was persistent; so during the end of one of our “live” practices I finally called a running play and told him to lineup as fullback. Well, you might have thought I’d given him money. With a big grin, he strutted into position, then jumped the snap count.
Back five yards. Next play, he jumps again. Back five more yards.
Next play, “Pads Parker” takes the handoff, bulls his neck, knocks down his own offensive guard, runs over two defensive guards, and then finally drags a linebacker and defensive end into the end zone. From then on, “Pads” ran the ball when we needed someone to chomp 3-5 yards on 3rd/4th and long.
It doesn’t take long for a coach to notice a standout like Anthony Parker. The virtues that elevated him over many of his teammates were his work ethic, competitiveness, self confidence, and ability to laugh at himself. He always left it on the playing field, never shirked his responsibility whatever position he played, and never missed a practice that I can remember.
Anthony Parker is a motivator. He expected no more from his teammates than what he, himself, was willing to provide. Coach and I recognized and nurtured his strengths, and by his junior year, “Pads Parker” quickly found his place as a leader on varsity.
Tony is precisely why coaches dedicate themselves to the task of teacing the “entire” student. Like scouts, good coaches are constantly on the look out to be able to take budding athletes, guide them, and help them tap into their strengths. The result is often success in the classroom, on the playing field, and eventually, in life.
The coaches and staff at Washington and Lee High School look for a “Pads Parker” everyday. Parents, encourage your students to participate in high school athletics. High School Athletics and other extracurricular activities help round out a good high school education.
I just could not resist responding to Nicholas Smith’s letter lauding the accomplishments of the Obama administration – “Weigh the Truth Over Opinions.” Well, he is pontificating on what I like to call “selective truths.” That’s where you only use half the truth to support your position and conveniently overlook the other half. I guess he thinks we’re all pretty stupid here in Westmoreland.
Since the WN limits space in Letters to the Editor, I’ll just address one issue – energy.
Mr. Smith claims the Obama administration has increased domestic oil and natural gas production to its highest point in eight years. The truth of the matter is that domestic oil and natural gas production has increased considerably – on private lands – lands the Obama administration does not yet control, but are surely trying to regulate out of existence with onerous new EPA regulations. The rest of the truth is that the Obama administration has reduced oil and natural gas leases on federal lands that it controls by 36%, from 6617 leases in 2008 to 4244 leases in 2011. (Source – Department of the Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.)
Mr. Smith goes on to opine that the huge rise in gas prices since the Obama administration took office is due primarily to Obama’s sanctions against Iran. That is simply not true. The US has not imported any crude oil from Iran in over two decades. The price of oil (and consequently gasoline) is driven by supply and demand worldwide. Supply is nearly fixed, but demand continues to grow over the long term. President Obama’s contribution to the rising cost of oil is that he continues to severely restrict the development of new supplies within the US – he killed the Keystone Pipeline from Canada (our biggest foreign supplier of crude), he placed a moratorium on further exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, he refuses to allow exploration and development of known oil resources off the Atlantic Coast, and he prohibits further exploration and development on federal lands in Alaska, Colorado, Wyoming, and several other states.
And, of course, Mr. Smith conveniently overlooks what the Obama administration is doing to the coal industry. Did anyone notice that last week Alpha Natural Resources, one of our largest coal producers, announced it is shutting down eight mines in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Alpha said it will cut production by 16 million tons and eliminate more than 1,200 jobs. This is a direct result of the Obama administration’s so-called “war on coal.” (Source – Wall Street Journal.) Given that 40% of electricity in the US is generated by coal-fired generators, does anyone want to hazard a guess what this will do to our electricity rates?
In subsequent letters I plan to disassemble Mr. Smith’s half-truths dealing with jobs and the economy.
William D. Neal