The social issue classified as disrespect is extremely troublesome, because in order to be respected, one must give respect. The dictionary defines disrespect as emblematic of; a lack of special or high regard, esteem or consideration.
During two-a-days in late August of 1978, as the head football coach at Baylor University, I always placed great emphasis on preparing in-coming freshmen to be knowledgeable of, and ready for the change that would be made in their lives. During periodic meetings with the freshmen, I tried to prepare them for all eventualities that would occur in their freshmen year. By preparing them, they should come to the realization that we really cared about them as individuals, not just as football players. During each meeting, I would talk about different individual traits they needed to be aware of and to develop.
On this particular day, I was talking about developing a capacity to really care about things. Develop a passion, a love,
if you will, because as human beings, we tend to give more effort toward those things that we care about. I concluded the discussion by saying, "As a group you have common interests and common goals, and you are going to be dependent upon one another as you move forward through the next four years. There will be down times and up times, good times and bad times, and through it all, you must care about each other and this team, which includes the coaches, the staff and team members. Ultimately, you must love each other."
After the meeting was over, a freshman linebacker lingered behind the rest and asked to speak to me. He said, "Coach, I believe in every word you spoke, however, I think you left out one thing that needs to happen so that we can truly become a team that loves each other." His presentation was sincere and immediately got my attention. I said, "Tell me what I left out, Mike." The young linebacker looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Respect. For me personally to love someone, I first must have respect for them."
Mike Singletary, future Baylor All-American and three-time captain, went on to become one of the great linebackers
in the history of the NFL, and his statement was exactly right.
When someone exhibits a lack of respect for authority, their coaches or their team's goals, as Mike said, it would be hard to have respect for them, much less love them.
From that moment forward, I added to my list this phrase, "In order to get respect, you must give respect."
In order to eliminate disrespect we, as teachers and coaches, must teach respect. Brad Lutz, head football coach at Broadway (VA) High School, has developed a terrific plan for teaching respect. His program centered around respect for our military, their service and to our great nation.
Broadway (VA) High School
Our football team has adopted a program that blankets so many social problems that our players face. We focus a lot of our attention and time to honoring our military, and especially the men and women that have made the ultimate
• Each week, we dedicate our game to a specific soldier,
who was killed serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom or
Operation Enduring Freedom.
• Our game day compression shirts include the logo of the
10th Mountain Division; Fort Drum NY Army Spc.
Brian Anderson is a Broadway High School alumni and
former all-district football player.
• Defensive Player of the Week Award: To recognize
relentless work ethic and team work, we give an award
to the top defensive performer. The award winner gets
to wear a special dog tag for the following week. The
dog tag includes the face and name of Army Spc. Brian
• Soldier Tribute Game: On November 5, 2010, our team
hosted our first Soldier Tribute Game. Our team played
in a special black Nike combat jersey. On the back of
each jersey was one of the seven core values of the Army
(integrity, honor, respect, selfless service, duty, loyalty
• Pre-Game Meal Speakers: Each Thursday, we have a
big pre-game meal. I enjoy having in on Thursday
because it is better for our players' performance, and it
allows us to slow down and enjoy the evening together,
as a family. At each pre-game meal, I invite someone
with a special message to speak to our team. Their
message always revolves around being a champion in
• Care Packages: During the off-season our team is
involved in numerous community service projects. It is a
great way to help our community, while teaching our
players the importance of giving. One of our projects is
making care packages for our soldier overseas.
Our program has grown into something that is bigger than football. Our players are changing the face of the program, while making a difference in the lives of many people.
My point is made. These young men from the Broadway High School football program gave respect to our military, and in return gained respect, not only from those in the
military, but also from other students and their community.