RESPECT – The Gym Teacher

*Story by Chief Moody

Today was the final day of Town Hall meetings where we talked about values.  One of those values was RESPECT.  The story that follows is about that value. 

Gym TeacherMy father died when I was three years old. He was a surveyor and was working in the bottom of a missile silo when a two hundred pound piece of steel was accidentally dropped from the top of the silo. The piece of steel struck him in the head and killed him instantly.

I know this from reading the obituary that my grandmother gave me after I reached adulthood. Unfortunately, I have no memory of him.

Back in that time you didn’t collect a big check – or any check – after your spouse died on the job. My mother did a great job raising me and my brothers. We had everything we needed, but we did live in one of the poorer parts of town. Not that it mattered. I didn’t even realize that my family was poor – until I went to middle school.

My gym teacher in middle school was a short, paunchy fellow who thought he was God’s gift to women. The pompous fool was constantly trying to swoon the girl’s gym teacher. This didn’t bother me. What did bother me was how he started each class period.

At the beginning of class we were instructed to sit down on the basketball court to witness the daily competition. The Gym Teacher and one of the wealthy kids would shoot free throws until one missed. This would go on for quite some time because they were both quite good shots. The experience instilled in me a dislike of the wealthy.

I’m ashamed to say that this feeling lived on in me for a number of years. It even manifested itself through my two sons.

I coached my sons in competitive little league baseball. Our team was comprised of players from average to lower income level families. I know part of my drive for success for the team was fueled by my long ago experience with The Gym Teacher.

When an opposing team would roll into the baseball parking lot in a custom bus and step out with their embroidered uniforms and custom ball bags – my energy level would surge. On most occasions we came out victorious. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to ease the pain.

That all changed when a career step took me into administration. I was soon interacting with many people who were in the upper wealth category. I realized that it wasn’t the rich kid that was the problem back in middle school, it was the Gym Teacher.

As a Leader you have many core responsibilities. No responsibility is greater than that of “Respect.” Whether it be a class of middle school kids or a team of workers, everybody deserves respect.

Everyone serves in a leadership position at times during their life. Every once in a while ask yourself, “Does anyone see me as – The Gym Teacher?”

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