Sometimes in life you get too busy. And this year it is no different. I am busy but I thought it would be dishonorable not to pick up a pen and put my thoughts to paper. As I prepare for another year of coaching (36 years) I had a chance to reflect on someone who has had a tremendous impact on my life. Attached is a link about a special young man that I have had the honor of coaching.
With the exception of my son this person ranks as one of the top five people I have coached in the last 30 plus years.
I have coached at every level (except the pros) and have coached:
- Kids that have never held a stick
- All-State players
- Academic All-Americans
- State Champion players
- All Conference College Players
- College Conference Player of the Year
- NCAA Final Four participants
- An NCAA National Champion
Players come and go and some leave a mark on you that will never be erased. All too often we can get hung up on the notion that this kid is a can’t miss prospect, best athlete, a top DI player blah, blah, blah.
Bobby Fulton was all of those things but he chose a different path. He decided to go to Hampden-Sydney College in rural Farmville, Virginia. Hampden Sydney is a small all men’s institution which pre-dates the American Revolution. Patrick Henry and James Madison were the school’s first Trustees.
The front gate at the entrance of Hampden Sydney there is a plaque that states:
HUC VENITE IUVENES UT EXEATIS VIRI – which translates from Latin to: “Come here as youths so that you may leave as men.”
Hampden Sydney is all about honor and being a great citizen.
I had the pleasure of coaching Bobby when he was in the fifth grade and he was with Atlanta Youth Lacrosse till the eighth grade. Then he went on to star at Wesleyan High School. During the summers he played summer select lacrosse with our college recruiting teams as well as the Adidas All-American team. Bobby matriculated to Hampden Sydney and has gone on to have a stellar career being named Captain of the team his senior year. Bobby has since helped coach the Coyote select teams the last three years.
Now along the way Mary Jo, Gordon, and my daughter Caitlin (Lacrosse is a family thing) meet many players, parents and families at Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. And we have many hours of interaction with them along with a ton of lacrosse.
We have had the pleasure and privilege to be around his parents, Cyndi and Skip Fulton, and his sister, Kate (a great basketball player who still beats Bobby at Horse). The Fulton’s are wonderful people who are incredible supporters of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse and our local community. They are without a doubt the perfect parents who cheer their team but also cheer for the other team (unless it is a football playoff game then don’t sit next to Skip) who support their son in all the right ways without being over the top. He learned to shoot left handed because his Mom aka Sergeant Cyndi would not let him be out worked.
Mary Jo, Gordon, Caitlin and I are proud to call the entire Fulton family friends and loved ones. They are truly part of our family.
Bobby was one of the original STAR’s (Students that Accept Responsibility) the organization that Mary Jo set up to help us with all sorts of things during the season from keeping score, building benches to officiating. The STAR program is one of the most fun groups we have and each and every year we get a few kids that are potential Bobby’s.
Bobby is the type of player that does not care about the glory or statistics. He just works harder than the next person on the team. And always puts the team before him.
He always takes responsibility for his actions and if everyone reads what Bobby is doing in this article you will get a better understanding as to why I admire him so much. Because he was surrounded by love and people who cared about him he in turn does the same for others.
You young people that we have the privilege to coach should look at Bobby an emulate some of his qualities. We are all different and many of you will go on to do great things with your life and I hope you have the same support Bobby has had along with his inner determination to not be ORDINARY.
Featured Image Credit – Red Rocket Photography
See ya on the field,