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Thru The Lens

By Staff | Feb 25, 2009

(Success Comes in a Can)

By Chuck Clegg

Sometimes your daily schedule places you at an event you did not expect to be part of. Last week that happened to me when I traveled to the Paden City High School gym to snap a picture of a Lady Wildcat. Bruce Crawford, the assistant coach of the team, informed me that a speaker was coming to talk with the girls after practice. I inquired as to who the speaker was to be. Bruce smiled and said, “It is Coach Cisar.” I knew I was going to be late for supper again.

After finishing practice, Coach Kelly Sine directed his team to the school’s library to meet Coach Cisar. As I followed the team down the steps heading toward the gym, I found myself as eager as the Lady Wildcats were to hear Coach Cisar. I have had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to hear Dave speak to young athletes and I have never been disappointed. The first time was in the dressing room at Brooke High School in 1998. It was to be Dave’s final game as Magnolia’s head football coach.

After many years of knowing him only as Coach Cisar and not knowing Dave, I got my first glimpse into the man I had always heard so much about. I stood in the doorway with my camera filming a coach speaking to a group of young men who were playing possibly the biggest game of their young lives. All eyes were focused on the team’s coach as he stood there in that distant locker room. He spoke with his team, first to inspire and then to keep the game in perspective for those young men. It is not a secret that a coach does not like for his team to lose, but that evening he spoke with compassion and intensity to the young men who looked to their coach for direction. I began then understanding the man behind the title of coach that night.

When I made a highlight film of that year for the team members, I included a portion of the coach’s comments that night. A few years later a member of the team approached me and spoke of the film and how much he valued those recorded moments with team. He told me he had one complaint about the film. It shared Coach Cisar’s words with people who were not team members that night. That moment was for the team and he prized those personal words from his coach.

That ability to speak to young athletes is why Coach Cisar was recently asked to speak to a team of athletes whose basketball season has not been that of a championship year. “What is important now?,” he asked the 13 members of the Wildcat team. He explained that he believes there are three types of people. Frustrated, intimidated, and motivated were his description of people, as he spoke that evening. “Motivation is important when it comes from the heart” he explained to the attentive young ladies. “It is an intangible and you cannot touch it, but motivation is still a force that is important to each of us in our hearts.”

“Success comes in a can, I can and you can.” Cisar explained. I noticed only once did Dave talk directly about an athletic effort during his motivational talk.

He spoke of a blind runner as she prepared for a 100 yard race. “Can you find the finish line?” the starter asked the young lady. She responded, “I cannot see it but I know it is there.” That was his intended message to this group of Wildcats; never lose sight of why you play sports, even when you cannot see the final goal. Have fun and don’t forget that intangible force, personal motivation.

Coaches Kelly Sine and Bruce Crawford are but a few of the men and women in our communities that dedicate their time to helping our young people find the satisfaction of personal commitment to a goal. Sports and academics find their greatest success when adults serve as role models. These two coaches recognized the importance of keeping these young ladies motivated and focused on Saturday’s game.

Dave closed his program with one final phrase of inspiration to the group. “Tuff times don’t last, tuff people do.” Those words were meant to inspire the Lady Wildcats for their possible last game, but I believe they were also meant to inspire the young ladies in their lives.

The Lady Wildcats lost to a good St. Marys team Saturday afternoon. The 2009 season has now come to a close for the team.

The team’s seniors will never again wear a Wildcat uniform on a basketball court. I hope this season’s motivation by their coaches and memories of their friends on the team will be something they carry with them as they look back in time Thru the Lens.