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Subject of Remember the Titans honors MLK at M-PHS
MARYSVILLE What is a team? Herman Boone asked the M-PHS student body at a packed Jim Linden Fieldhouse last Friday.
A team is a group of people with one heartbeat. If thats true and I hear two heartbeats Im gonna kill a sucker, the inspiration behind the 2000 Disney movie Remember the Titans explained.
The serious and determined 71-year-old gave an inspirational speech to the student body, faculty and staff gathered with a Martin Luther King Jr. theme.
This movie is not about football. Remember the Titans is about MLKs great dream. Coaching the Titans was not an easy job as we had to integrate three schools together, but somehow we found a way to come together.
Megan Crenshaw and Robbie Walker, M-PHS Associated Student Body members, acted as emcees as they introduced the legendary coach to their peers.
Crenshaw, the senior class president, said the ASB began planning for coach Boones appearance well before the Christmas holiday.
I wrote the speech about two weeks ago and we kind of broke it up between us, she said of her nerve-wracking duties. We had a great opportunity to host and it was a lot of fun.
In addition to M-PHS, Boone has also made appearances at most of the other high schools in the Wesco North league before returning to his home in Florida.
While Academy-Award winning actor Denzel Washingtons portrayal of Boone was that of a gruff, no nonsense businesslike coach, the retired educator and coach merely gave glimpses of that in his presentation.
I will chew you out left and right and cuss you up and down, but in the end I will be there to give you a big hug, Boone said to the football team at the M-P auditorium after the all-school assembly.
He told of a 6-foot-4, 250-lb. linebacker on the Titans that he cussed out and spit out and the teen stood outside of the coachs office with puppy dog eyes.
I looked out the window and asked him what he was doing, Boone mused. He said coach-where is my hug?
Although leading his team to the Virginia state championship in 1971 may have made him famous, perhaps more important was the racial integration 17 years after the United States first attempted to implement.
Its important to know what MLK did and stood for. I knew him personally and he was one of the most powerful speakers of all time if you ask me.
Dick Caldwell, M-P activities coordinator, helped the ASB with the details involved in bringing the famous coach to Washingtons second-largest high school, and also found himself the target of Boones humor.
Apparently Mr. Caldwell put the word out that Denzel (Washington) would be here. I am sorry to disappoint, but you got the only person more handsome instead.
The North Carolina-born Boone initially rejected the head coaching position for fear of causing waves in the racially mixed community.
Stressing to the rapt students that neither the movie nor his message were solely about football, he got a sizable chuckle from the teens by poking fun at their fashion sense.
Our children must pull their pants up from below their below, he said with a straight face despite many laughing faces around him.
Greatness is defined in the amount of service you provide to others, not yourself. Its not how many touchdowns you score or how many baskets you make. Please choose to heal, not wound. Perhaps Frank Sinatra said it best with his famous song My way when he said he said you must do it your way.
The salt and pepper haired motivational speaker also spoke to the M-P football team after the all-school assembly, emphasizing, the Titans were all about character.
The casual environment was mostly about non-football related topics such as working hard, and keeping your body and mind clean and clear from drugs and alcohol.
How many of you serve your community in some way? he asked the team of approximately 40.
An estimated one-quarter raised their hand. He then told the teens that the recent three-day weekend was meant to observe MLK.
How many of you served the homeless on Monday? Not a single hand was raised.
He captured the attention of the gridiron stars by telling them that on Sept. 4, 1956 he lost both of his parents within seven hours of each other.
I had to bury both of my parents on the same day and then hitch hiked back to school. I was everything you guys are a great lover. The latter comment brought laughter from nearly every member of the team.
He concluded his time with the coach-less Tommies by telling them that realistically very few of them would earn a Division 1 scholarship and/or play football professionally, but without an education none of the things I talked about would be possible
One member of the team got a good-sized chuckle out of his teammates when he told coach Boone we are looking for a coach right now.