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OfCoffee: Remembering Coach Elmer Jordan

I went to Elmer Jordan’s funeral today. It was an upbeat service appropriate for a man who added life and wisdom to countless CdA’ians since the 1940’s. Speakers included Mayor Sandi, Charlie Nipp, Denny Hague, and Don Monson; the latter three played ball for Elmer. Elmer was truly an extraordinarily respected man.

A couple of things struck me. First, I hope that when I pass away, people will remember me a fraction as fondly as they did Elmer. And that hope made me realize, once again, that I have a lot of work to do to stop thinking so much of myself and more about my community.

Second, the many tales of Elmer’s unique ability to instill sportsmanship, integrity, and discipline and WIN at the same time seems to be a lost art today. Today the “winning” seems to overcome the sportsmenship. I recently sat next to a basketball coach from one of the CdA highschools while our 3rd-graders were playing AAU basketball. At halftime, he called his son over to tell him to only foul the other kids in front of “the ref with the glasses. He doesn’t call it as much.” The the coach’s dad commented to me about how the opposition player who had to leave due to an injury must have “received a little payback.” I told him that our coach didn’t teach “payback.” He was pretty smirky about that.

I know there are some coaches (Shawn Amos at CdA High comes to mind) that still believe in developing young men to be good citizens as well as teaching them to win, but it seems that like is becoming the exception. The age of Dennis Erikson seems to be the norm. I hope I am wrong about that, but I believe we need more Elmer Jordans.


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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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