God Bless that man for following his own moral conscience. Like the late great Wake Forest Head Basketball Coach, Skip Prosser, once said, “Crush it where you’re at.” And that’s exactly what Pat Kelsey has done.
Yes, “We are a society that has lost the understanding that decent human values are important.” And while we as Americans tend to go about our lives in isolation only concerned about what exactly is relevant to us, the Newtown tragedy should slap every contributing member to society in the face, reminding all to feel accountable for the disturbing degradation and deterioration of ethics and moral understanding in this country. But in order to initiate “change”—the word we so loosely and casually throw around—it takes risk. It takes the risk of putting your career on the line for what you believe in. It takes the risk of using such media platforms to mentor, to advise, to inspire.
In his bone chilling speech after Winthrop’s loss to Ohio St., Pat Kelsey reminded us all that the true victory and satisfaction of coaching doesn’t lie in the column of wins or losses, championships or playoff births. It lies in the ability to change lives and teach our players to become better people.
Like Kelsey said in today’s Outside The Lines interview, “So often do we forget that its not about the four year relationship with our players, its about the forty year relationship.” What does that mean? It means developing a community of individuals who understand that the process of leading a successful life is a product of cohesion and collaboration, comradery and brotherhood. Its about being on the same page.
In summary, Coach Pat Kelsey sent a message that applies far beyond the scope of basketball: the values of sports can and should be applied to the entire process that brings forth widescale change. By leading with his conscience and the morals and ethics he learned through coaching the greatest game on earth, Pat Kelsey has illustrated the need for society as a whole, as cliche as it sounds, to restore life in the 21st century through team-work. Through coming together as a collective unit with single goal in mind.
To further give Coach Pat Kelsey’s actions the recognition they deserve, I will leave you with what I feel like might be the most powerful words of not only his speech, but of 2012:
“This has to be a time for change. And I know this microphone is powerful right now because we are playing the fourth best team in the country. I’m not going to have a microphone like this for the rest of the year, maybe even the rest of my life. And I’m going to be an agent of change for the 13 young men I get to coach every day, and the two little girls I get to raise”
Have never felt more inspired in my life. Thank you, Coach