Most of you know that Leta Andrews retired from Granbury ISD a few weeks ago. I was unable to attend her retirement party, and I suppose that is one of the reasons that I’ve had Leta on my mind lately. Today, and old memory resurfaced.
Several years ago Rickey and I were at the state tourney watching the best teams in the state of Texas compete for top honors. One of those teams was coached by Leta Andrews, which is always a treat because we both love it when we get a chance to watch Leta coach.
As I watched the game, I kept one ear on the conversation taking place behind me, and I must admit that I eventually completely lost the game and openly eavesdropped on the ladies having a very animated conversation about their own coach and their many grievances against the poor guy.
As I listened, I remembered when years ago another friend did the exact same thing, hearing a clueless woman say about her team’s coach, “I don’t know why he can’t be more like her (Leta). See how she treats her players?” Snorting loudly, that friend turned around in his seat, and said, “Are you kidding me? That woman is the Iron Maiden!”
Now, I’m not sure if he intended a pun or not, but it was just too great an opportunity for him to miss, and just in case you’re wondering, his daughter never played for Leta…she ran against me!
That old conversation is one that I pull out and ponder ever so often because it is true that Leta was and I’m sure she retired still being the Iron Maiden when it comes to basketball. She didn’t get to be the all-time winningest coach in the nation by being a softie.
No, Leta was tough, and we were very successful because of it, not something we really appreciated back then. It’s a little hard to appreciate anything with your breakfast, lunch, your last drink of water, and the water you only thought about drinking on the ground in front of you…but we won, and we won a lot.
Today, it’s fun to turn back the clock and pull out some of those wins and revisit them. And even though I joke about it, it’s also fun to know that Janet, Laura, Rhonda, and I hang on the wall of Brookshire’s (seriously), the picture depicting our first hearing that we had set a national record.
Of course, that is an exciting day to remember, but the honest truth is that today there is something much deeper that I contemplate when I think of Leta Andrews and the years I spent as a Comanche Maiden because even though I did not realize it at the time, I was learning something so much more important than how to bounce a ball and how to run a little faster during those years.
Yes, I attribute my years in a Comanche sports program for teaching me how to “suck it up and get on with it,” a trait that has stayed with me throughout my life and one that I’ve called upon often. It is also a trait that I hope I was able to instill into at least some of my students through the years.
I tried very, very hard to instill responsility, integrity, and the importance of standing strong on your own because I understood that life is hard and that if people aren’t tough enough to stand up to it, life will win.
It is very normal to want to baby our children, to keep them young a little longer, and yet we are only hurting them when we don’t insist that they be the very best that they can be. I think if we look around today we can see the drastic results of our making excuses for our children, of our not insisting that they learn what hard work is all about, of our not giving them the skills they need to go out into the world and succeed without us.
Yes, Leta was extreme as were my own parents. However, I’m thinking the country is not going to be able to withstand much more of the coddling method we’ve adopted in the last few years if we plan to stay on top. Life just isn’t always about fun, and we’ve allowed children to believe that it is. That just may be the downfall of this country, and I’m very ashamed of us for doing it.