Standing Firm

Standing Firm August 26, 2023


I was talking to a friend of mine a week or so ago and we circled back to some people we knew in high school and where are they now. I sometimes can’t remember my own name so remembering people from a half century ago seems like a waste of energy. But my friend can remember names, faces, birthdays, what they were known for and maybe who their History teacher was. And when we started to talk about coaches, we landed on a coach who eventually quit teaching and coaching and went into real estate, which was a good thing for those he coached.

     He wanted you….

He was a ‘rah-rah’ guy, wanting you, his player, to be all fired up and yelling and screaming. Hard to maintain for a three-hour game. He tried to get you angry by, at least with me, telling me the opponent who was going to be opposite me, was going to ‘eat my lunch.’ Not sure how he thought that since he wasn’t my coach, nor did he play or coach the sport I was playing. But he did coach my friend and he didn’t like it my friend was not a rah-rah guy. He wasn’t a ‘rah-raher.’ He just quietly went about playing and playing well-when he was given the chance. So, he didn’t play much.
The man was not a ‘coach.’ He wanted the label. Probably even put it on a resume somewhere for some interview later with some real estate firm. But he wasn’t that person to change young men’s lives. All we needed was a pat on the shoulder pad and a ‘nicely done’ from someone we respected. We remember those coaches.
I think a lot of people, most people, can tell who is fake and who is real.

     When you raise….

When you raise boys or girls, they are different. Sorry-they just are. They should be. That’s the way they’re made. Each brings a piece of their specialness to the world. When you raise boys, there is a part of them who responds well to good ‘coaching.’ The world is a shady place and unfortunately, it will be until this rock turns back to carbon. Girls do too but they are different and you just need to know how.


Maybe it is just me, here in this time of the arena, I see it differently and out of step. That’s okay. I will probably get to Big Corral before you and that will be that. But I’ve always wanted the ability to stand firm when standing firm meant something. When I was younger, I had bravado and bluster. I think most young men did. Now, the luster of the metal is tarnished with age, but aged like a good Malbec.
There was a scene in a movie, Dunkirk, which struck me. The naval commander is trying to get nearly a half a million men home and there is no chance-slim at best, it will happen. But he is standing on a pier, almost all hope is gone, but he is still there-standing firm. Then, hope arrives. I want the ability to stand and the ability to wait against hope, only to have someone say ‘nicely done.’

     Isn’t it?

That’s all we really need, isn’t it?
About Mark Williams
Mark Williams spent the first twenty-one years of his career as a Special Agent for the Organized Crime Division of the State Attorney General’s Office. As part of his duties, he investigated organized crime, homicides, and fraud cases submitted by other agencies to that office. He has traveled across the United States as an instructor for law enforcement in various capacities. After he retired, he became a high school English teacher at an inner-city school in central Phoenix where he is the fourth generation in his family to live in the valley. Mark was married for almost thirty-eight years and is a retired widower. He has three children and ten grandchildren. You can read more about the author here.

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