April 23, 2013
I Want To Introduce You To A Great Man By The Name Of Frosty Westering...
Pacific Lutheran University is a small but well-respected college located in the state of Washington. I know this because I am a PLU grad. When I think back to my college years, I am reminded of the outstanding people, a campus buzzing with great energy, and football. You see, PLU was known for their successful football program that consistently reached greatness at the helm of one man.
His name is Frosty Westering and he died last week. Frosty was not a grand-stander, wasn't motivated by accolades, and never sought out rock star status like many of his big university counterparts. He found his calling by showing those around him how to find inner drive, compete with excellence, and strive for personal accomplishment through perseverance and team work.
You may read this and think, what coach doesn't try to instill these values and principles in their players? Well, Frosty was special. While he was a football aficionado, he was so much more. On occasion, he would stop practice and remind his players to simply take a moment to admire the stunningly exquisite Mount Rainier that sat just beyond the campus. When most coaches would be focused on a new football season, he expected his players to take time to help newbie freshmen move their belongings into their respective dorms. And to calm and focus his team, he encouraged them to sing without embarrassment. He believed that singing calmed nerves and raised a person's state of consciousness. In fact, it was not uncommon to find the team singing on the sidelines prior to a big game.
You may be wondering how this translated to wins and losses. After all, he was a football coach, and at the end of the day it is about the success of the game. Well, in 32 seasons, he never had a losing season. Additionally, he led his team to four national championships and four runner up finishes.
While winning seasons are great and obviously the goal, I inherently believe that coaches have the potential to influence and mold the lives of their teams. Just recently we saw in the news a coach who tried to inspire his players by yelling and throwing balls at them. While that tactic may have initially gleaned an immediate reaction from the players, he gave away the opportunity to teach life lessons. The same life lessons that Frosty Westering brought to his players every day for 32 seasons. Lessons like mutual respect, inspiration through demonstration, and the pride of hard work even when it comes without the final prize of victory in the end. While a tangible trophy is often a physical reminder of excellence, I personally know many who came away from their years under Frosty's tutelage with the prize of personal and philosophical integrity that has carried them into adulthood.
The mark of a great man is what is said during and after his life. Frosty will certainly go down in history as one of the greats, and those who had the privilege of knowing him should count themselves lucky.