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A Noble and Sacred Calling
By Greg Shepard
Published: Winter 2000

A man was walking alone down a dark street. He heard a woman’s cry for help. The sounds of a furious struggle came from the other side of a thick, large hedge. The man looked around to see if he could summon some assistance. But alas, he could see he had no training at all for this situation, but yet he knew he should at least try something.
The man crashed through the hedge-like barrier. Luckily, there was only one attacker who was relentlessly beating a young woman. “Help me, help me,” she pleaded. The man jumped on the attacker’s back. A terrific battle ensued. Finally, after many blows were given and received, the attacker fled. The young woman was sitting against a tree sobbing with her hands over her face. Exhausted, the man fell down to rest on the other side of the tree trunk. As his breath returned to normal, the man whispered with compassion, “Are you alright?”
The sobs subsided as the young woman responded, “Daddy? . . . Daddy, is that you?”

The Moral: The dark street represents the world. The young woman represents all our young people--our students and athletes. The man represents all adults but especially parents, brothers sisters, teachers and coaches. The man being alone represents our individual responsibility to take action. Helping others is not somebody else’s job. Jumping through the hedge represents the courage for action taken. Most people want to stay in their own, safe comfort zone. The attacker represents all of the negative influences foisted upon our youth in this sometimes dark and dreary world. These negative influences are relentless. The terrific, long battle is self explanatory.
The significance of the father-daughter relationship is many fold. However, for our purposes, we as coaches and teachers, should consider that our students are like sons/daughters or brothers/sisters. Many times our student/athletes have only one positive adult in their lives. You! Even the greatest parents gratefully welcome positive influences outside the home.
There is no greater professional calling than being a teacher. And, a great coach is a great teacher. Your position as a teacher and/or coach is sacred. Your job is to help all of your kids play the song they came on earth to play. Your job is to help your kids reach their highest personal destiny. Your job is to keep their dream alive. A great teacher is a dream keeper. Please share the stories in this journal with others. Each feature story is designed to help you help others. Together we can keep precious dreams alive. May God bless us all in this noble and sacred calling.

Dr. Greg Shepard
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