Not My Last Jump?

El Campo senior Philip Hundl gets ready to attempt his high jump at the Ricebirds relays earlier in the year. Hundl last year made state and a return back is in question with schools shutdown.

 

Former El Campo Ricebird Head Coach and Texas Hall of Honor member Bob Gillis took to social media Thursday night to try and add a little bit of calm to uncertain times.

Speaking through the Texas High School Coaches Association’s Twitter, Gillis shared a video message to the coaches throughout the state and the country.

“An open letter to our hero’s. Our coaches,” Gillis said. “As my wife and I were listening and watching our preacher last Sunday from our computer, it struck me to what crazy times we are witnessing. The coronavirus has taken over everything that we consider normal.”

Gillis reached out to his minister and shared that everyone needs to hear positive messages during times like this, he said.

“It also occurred to me, possibly now, we need our coaches now, more than ever in the history of our profession. Our young people today are filled with uncertainty and questions. How long will our schools be closed? Are we going to get to play sports again this year? When will things get back to normal? Will our parents still have a job? There are so many more questions as y’all know,” Gillis said. “This is where our heroes come into play. Even though none of us know these answers. You can be a steadying voice that our kids need to hear. In your programs every day, you teach your kids how to compete and how to persevere when things get tough. You teach them, things don’t always go according to plan. You teach them to get back up when they’re knocked down and not to quit. Now more then ever, they need to hear this from you.”

The former Ricebird coach emplored coaches to use social media and to reach out to their student-athletes and send positive messages.

El Campo’s current Head Coach Wayne Condra has been doing just that. While it may not be though social media, Condra’s stayed in touch with his ISD’s athletes.

“We have reached out to our players through emails. Google classroom and texts,” Condra said. “We are continuing to look at things to help (them out).”

As of press time, Gillis’ message has been seen by more than 9,000 times, just through Twitter alone.

All over the state, even before Gillis’ message, coaches have been trying to spread positive messages. To the north, Rice Consolidated Raiders Head Coach Jared Sloan tweets out daily workouts for his ISD’s athletes and re-tweets videos of them being active. North of Dallas, in Holliday ISD, their head coach turns on the football stadium lights an hour each night as a message, they shared on Twitter.

While there is still uncertainty about when the spring sports will come back, Charles Breithaupt, the UIL executive director, took to social media to their commitment to returning, this year.

“I know you’re anxious. I’m anxious for you,” Breithaupt said. “Our staff again is working around the clock to make these sports alive again. As soon as schools can resume, we’ll continue UIL competition for the 2020 school year.”

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