It’s Sunday November 27, 2016. The day after our Division 1 and Division 2 State Championship games at Allen Academy. At this moment in time, I could not be more proud of TAIAO – what we have gone through to get where we are, where we are now, and more importantly where we are going.
One of my roles at the Championship games yesterday was to go to both sidelines near the end of each game and obtain the nominations for game MVP’s from each coach. If you want to know how to frustrate a football coach – then try to interrupt them in the middle of a hard fought game! Then after the games were over I had the privilege of standing as a witness to the prayer circles before handing out awards.
While on the sidelines, I had a chance to witness the coaches deal with player, officials, fans, and each other. I saw them lift up players after a bad play. I saw them rejoice with players after great plays. I saw them handle perceived ‘bad calls’ by the officials. I saw them settle fans who were a bit too involved in the game. In the prayer circles I saw them (EVERY ONE OF THEM), express how this day was about much more than football. I saw them convert the days events into life lessons for the players. I saw them win with class and lose with dignity.
Several years ago, a small group of football coaches decided to form this “little league” so we could have our own playoffs, and we could not imagine it growing as fast as it has. We now have not only a fantastic football playoff and All Star system in football, we’ve added post season play in Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, Baseball and Softball, and we will host our first Academic and Fine Arts meet next spring! We’ve grown to nearly 30 organizations, and will continue to add more in the coming year.
We are still a very young League, and we have a lot of things that we need to refine – and we are working diligently to improve every aspect all times. I am grateful for the patience of our member organizations, and their understanding that we really are trying to create something that will be a blessing to many young people for years to come!
After witnessing some of our best football coaches up close and personal yesterday, I know that our future is bright. It’s bright because we have a culture that understands that coaches have a much bigger role to play than just winning contests. Coaches are constantly setting an example for their teams, and their impact goes far behind what happens on the court, or on the field. Our coaches understand that well. TAIAO has a bright future because we are a member driven league – and our membership is made up of extremely high quality men and women who understand their responsibilities and take them very seriously.
When we started this adventure 4 years ago, I remember telling people “As long as we can always remember that IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS, and we can keep the adults ego’s out of it, we’ll do great things.” So far we’ve done a pretty good job of that, and after seeing what I saw in action yesterday – we will continue to do so.
To all of the coaches, athletic directors, athletes, students and TAIAO fans – thank you for all that you do, and thank you for allowing me to be associate with all of you.
Wayne Alldredge on behalf of the Steering Committee