SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Thoughts for Thanksgiving

Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 05:42 PM.

I'm thankful for my relationships with coaches and fans in the area and all the fine young men and women I get to cover throughout the year.

I'm thankful for not only the coaches I interact with now at Baker, Crestview and Laurel Hill, but my high school coaches that helped shape my life as well.

Robert Freeman the athletic director at Pace is one of those men. Coach Freeman was my track coach and an assistant football coach at Gulf Breeze 35 or 40 years ago when I was young.

Today I'm thinking about another of my former coaches, Mike Walker. Coach Walker coached the defensive line and linebackers at Gulf Breeze. Sadly, the Wild Man as he was affectionately called, died while still in his mid-30s the day after Thanksgiving in 1983, Nov. 25.

Sometimes, when things in life seem to be pushing in against me, I can hear the Wild Man shouting words of encouragement that meant so much to me as a kid trying to play the game.

I am thankful that Coach Walker loved all of his boys equally from superstar to wishful star. My life remains so much richer for having played for Mike Walker.

It's hard for me not to be thankful for sports.

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