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Column: No. 600, a win we all should celebrate
So much football, so many great story lines, both college and pros. Georgia knocks Florida from the ranks of the unbeaten. Notre Dame keeps Irish eyes smiling. The Atlanta Falcons romp to their seventh straight win.
Yet, none of those compare to the biggest gridiron news of the weekend.
Not even close.
In South Carolina, a prep coach was carried off the field the other night with his 600th career victory.
The number is staggering, almost beyond belief. When John McKissick took over at Summerville High School, Harry Truman was wrapping up his term as president and Jim Crow was still the norm in the former Confederacy.
McKissick has coached through integration, the Vietnam War and 9/11, through flower power and disco and hip-hop, through boom boxes and Walkmans and iPhones.
To reach such an epic number, he had to average 10 wins a year for 60 years, which is impressive enough. But what’s even more astounding, he managed to remain relevant from one generation to the next, staying true to his values _ a strong running game and stout defense are always a winning combination _ even while the world around him was changing at breakneck speed.
We can count up his wins, but we can’t possibly come up with a tally on all the lives McKissick touched along the way.
“Time flies, doesn’t it?” he says.
He’s 86 now, far beyond the age when most of his contemporaries have taken to a rocking chair, if they’re still around at all.
Clearly, he’s not big on change himself. He’s been in the same job since 1952, been married to the same woman, Joan, for about the same amount of time. Surely there were chances to move up to a higher-profile gig or at least move on, but he was always happy where he was. He was content to mold young minds and bodies, to give them a better chance to succeed before they headed off to sell insurance or drive a bulldozer or even to play in the NFL.
One of the best, indeed.
Beyond the Xs and Os, there are lessons we all should heed. It’s not always necessary to keep striving for bigger and better. Contentment is not a bad thing, as long as we’re always striving to be our best.
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