Another shooting. Another school. More dead kids. More tragic stories. Another hero who will never hear the praise, love, respect and admiration he deserved.
This hero was a teacher.
This hero was a coach.
Aaron Feis was an assistant high school football coach who died as he used his body as a shield from the latest active shooter in Parkland, Fla. Witnesses said he responded to a call after he recognized the popping sounds were not firecrackers.
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This is not a column about guns, mostly because we’re too immersed in some dumb opposing political narratives to do anything about it. We will bury the other in a series of statistics, and then the constitution, and promptly do nothing about it.
This is about recognizing those, and one in particular, whom we routinely take for granted, and too many of us crucify for no reason because they were “mean to our kid.”
We talk big about the respect and admiration we have for the most noble profession that exists, but nearly every day we don’t do enough to thank the teachers for dealing with our bratty little pain the butt.
One teacher in particular deserves her moment, and her phone needs to ring this year.
You likely missed it, but former Granbury high school girls' basketball coach Leta Andrews is again up for induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Those wins will eventually put her in the Hall because they generate the most attention, but it’s the number of lives she guided, molded, mentored, and protected, that are the most Hall worthy.
How does one quantify that?
Like Hughes, Andrews is not a basketball coach but rather a teacher.
Sometimes the very best teacher is the coach.
Like Hughes, Andrews came from a time when women were at a second-tier status behind white men.
She came from a time when women played sports, it was every four years during the Olympics. And they were “feminine sports” – skating, dancing, gymnastics. Maybe tennis. Or track.
She came from a time before a piece of Richard Nixon-signed legislation, Title IX, mandated the chance for a girl have the same shot at playing sports as the boys.
She came from a time when school athletic departments treated the girls’ team as a migraine that would not end.
The idea of women having an ice hockey team competing in the Winter Olympics, such as they do now, when Andrews began her career was as unbelievable as a black man elected to the Oval Office.
Women's sports does not look like it does today without Leta Andrews, and a generation of women who dealt with more garbage than your trash collector. Only Andrews and her colleagues picked up the trash every day.
Because that’s what teacher’s do, now more than ever.
Too many teachers, and coaches, are expected to be babysitters, but are shackled by over-reaching district policies influenced by moms and dads who refuse to let an adult discipline, and teach, even though too many times the parents don’t want to do either.
Since when did challenging a kids’ grade transition from aberrational to normal behavior? Your kid earned that 'C' because it was C work – deal with it, and make it better.
We think nothing of it to watch a mom or dad erupt on youth coaches, even though they have no problem not volunteering their own time to work with the team.
For those who wanted their kid to be an adjusted person, you let Leta Andrews go to work, you turn Hughes loose.
You let a teacher do their job during school, and you do yours when the kid goes home.
Leta Andrews is not perfect, some teachers are better than others, and there are so many others who didn’t win as many games who should be recognized for their work, too.
A Hall of Fame that celebrates every level of the game from every country is incomplete without one of the best coaches women’s basketball ever knew.
This Hall of Fame is a disorganized mess of good intentions, desperate financial needs and hypocrisy, so it will be no surprise if Leta doesn't make it this time either. Given how that Hall works and functions, there is a good chance the voters will simply forget her.
Please don’t forget about Leta Andrews. Put her in the Basketball Hall of Fame, not just for the games she won, but for the lives she impacted.
And, much like Aaron Feis, for the lives she – and all teachers – every day try to protect.