What if high school coaches coached life skills ahead of athletics?
That’s what Union High School (Roosevelt, Utah) football coach Matt Labrum did in 2013. After certain players were caught cyberbullying and skipping classes, Labrum decided to suspend all 41 players until they got their act together.
“We felt like everything was going in a direction that we didn’t want our young men going,” said Labrum told the Deseret News. “We felt like we needed to make a stand.”
Because of the lack of character the boys showed off the field, Labrum composed a “Union Football Character” letter detailing what each player had to do if he wanted to earn his spot back.
“It’s an honor to put on your school’s jersey, and I think sometimes we lose that fact in this world of ‘me, me, me.’ We’re representing the whole school, the whole community,” Labrum told Fox News.
That’s why to get their jerseys back, the boys had to perform community service, attend a class on character development, and show up to study hall. Those with poor grades had to show marked improvement, and everyone had to also perform service for their own families.
This coach gets it. Instructing them on respect and integrity goes way beyond teaching them proper tackling technique.