Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be True to Your School (Part 1)

Life is always good when our passions come together. Working for Rothco, I have great interest in all things pertaining to military and camouflage clothing and gear. Having three children who are all athletes, I also love youth and school sports and one of my greatest passions is coaching youth basketball and soccer.

When this amazing and heartwarming story hit my inbox this morning, I was extremely interested. When I discovered that the student-athletes were wearing Rothco tees, I was overjoyed! Here's the story:

It seems that Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, WA has an excellent school wrestling program and they just hired a new coach named Doug Baer. After pre-season training but before the wrestlers had their first competition, Coach Baer, aka Captain Baer, got a call-up from the Army National Guard and was being sent to Iraq.

After an emotional goodbye, Doug Baer went with his unit, the 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, to Iraq and the Kamiak High School wrestlers got onto the business of competing in the WesCo South conference. Frequent e-mail communication from the coach to his wrestlers and videotapes of the wrestlers sent to the coach have kept the connection between the wrestlers and their coach strong. This all culminated in a very special match on January 16th. From a report in the Seattle Times:

"The Knights wrestlers warmed up to AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" in camouflage T-shirts with a hint of Kamiak purple. Baer's 13-year-old son, Conor, was named an honorary team captain. Baer's wife, Jane, watches with their two 9-year-old twin daughters.

In a surprise to a packed crowd, Doug Baer addressed the crowd through a voice message that included words of encouragement and inspiration.

The Knights won the meet in honor of their coach 48-27, but as Baer said in his message, it wasn't about the final score."

The camouflage T-shirts worn by the Kamiak wrestlers were Rothco's Ultra Violet Camouflage Tees, supplied through a local dealer by Rothco distributor Ares Sportswear . They are a great way for the kids to show their school spirit and their allegiance to the military and their soldier coach at the same time.

Rothco's colored camoflauge tees in blue, orange, yellow, red, pink and violet have been very successful as spiritwear for schools and Rothco's dealers have done well by supplying these. Dealers should look for opportunities with their local high schools and colleges. Next week, I have another story about the Garnet Army at the University of South Carolina.

As a coach of youth sports, I know the rewards of helping to mold young athletes and the emotional attachment that comes with working with kids over the years. I think both Coach Baer and his wrestlers have a special relationship that transcends the many thousands of miles separating them. Personally I'm grateful for Doug Baer's service both as a soldier and a coach. Good luck and God bless him!!

I'll leave you with these words of wisdom from Coach Baer:

"If in your heart you know you've done everything possible to prepare for a match and you step on to the mat and give it everything you have, regardless of the final outcome you have succeeded."

Spoken like a true coach.

John Ottaviano

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