There was quite an uproar from the media and fans this week about a Major League pitcher who might have missed his start in the playoffs because he was “under the weather”. I don’t know how he was feeling or what words he really used, so that’s irrelevant. He DID end up pitching and pitched brilliantly. Good for him. It reminded me of so many of the kids I coached in high school. There were the ones who missed a day of school every other week or even one day a week ( or more). Needless to say they also missed practice. When asked they would say, “I wasn’t feeling well.” Well, you know what? There are a lot of days when we don’t feel well but we do our job anyway. We used to call it “sucking it up”. There’s a big difference between not feeling well and just plain can’t get out of bed, throw up sick. Then there were the guys who never missed a day of school or practice, let alone a GAME. I coached one guy in football and wrestling who never missed a practice, game, or match in his entire 4 year career. Those are extremely physical sports – you think there were times he was beat up or not feeling well? The point is, we’ve all coached kids we just couldn’t count on and then there were the ones that that we could absolutely, no matter what, COUNT ON. The tough guys.

 Who Were Your Tough Guys?

Look back on your career as a coach, or maybe even as a fan in all the games you’ve seen. Who were some of the tough guys you coached or saw? Those kids that never came off the field, seemed to never get hurt, were reliable as the sun coming up. I can recall several of those guys. One guy was our safety/wide receiver/punt returner/PAT holder. I took him out of the game once and he stood by me and said, “What’s wrong?” I said, “Nothing, just trying to get you a breather.” For the next two plays he impatiently stared at me with a not so nice look. I said, “Get back in there.” I never took him out again. The kid could play all night and didn’t need a breather. Another kid I coached was so mentally tough he amazed me. He was our tailback/middle linebacker who was in the thick of it on every play. I KNOW he had to be tired and winded sometimes but he played hard every play – never said a word about coming out. One time he came around the outside carrying the ball down the sideline. He got hammered and was going down. As he was going down he got hit again and got bent backwards the wrong way – it was ugly. We all thought he was dead. He got up, adjusted his helmet by the face mask and trotted back to the huddle.

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Coach Albaugh – DBLITY

Coach Albaugh coached high school football in Illinois for 28 years. During that time he coached at every level and on both sides of the ball. He was the offensive and defensive line coach for four undefeated teams and was a defensive coordinator in his last 11 years, twice reaching the semi finals of the Illinois state playoffs.