The Fathers of Our Lives:
Coach Pasterchick Retires
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
June 22, 2006
Perhaps I am biased but as a coach's son, I believe that a coach possesses perhaps more influence on young athletes than any other figure of authority in our society. Many positions of authority command respect and deservedly so. Priest, pastor, Rabbi, principal, school board member, public official even parent among others, could not command my attention as an athlete the way a coach could. After all, who but a coach could blow the whistle and have you taking extra embarrassing laps for punishment while all your peers watched in glee or amazement?
My wonderful father's generation, the greatest, by and large did not talk much. He told me what I had to do and that was it! "Children should be seen and not heard." I always felt a sense of rebellion and that I may or may not be seen but I will be heard. Maybe that's why I ran for public office---I rebelled against the unacceptable status quo in my community!
Years later, I have come to appreciate and revere the few words and mostly the role modeling my father gave me. He would say, "Tell me with whom you run and I'll tell you who you are." I hated to hear these words, but truer words were never spoken. Cut off sentences that emphasized the innocent operative words as opposed to harsher language we hear so often, were trademark Coach Adkisson. He would say "ness" for goodness! He would say "lee" for golly! "Mackeral" for holy mackerel and of course, "durn" instead of easy-to-imagine stronger language.
As for the role modeling, my father was a provider, a producer and a disciplinarian. He ate, breathed and lived any sport where a ball rolled, bounced or was hit into the air. A coach teaches respect, team play, discipline, sacrifice, conditioning, positive mental attitudes and psychological toughness that allows you to play-through tough situations and still come out winning.
And so it is that I could not let the opportunity of the moment pass me by to salute one of the finest of our local coaches or of coaches anywhere: Coach George Pasterchick! What is special about Coach Pasterchick is his incredible heart and his communications skills. He loved his athletes and was totally OK with showing them that he did. His wife Maxine attended perhaps more of his games than any coach's wife in town!
Coach Pasterchick along with his wife went to more funerals, weddings and celebrations in the lives of his students and their families than most public officials. The Pasterchicks didn't just talk the walk; they walked it and in the process, left an indelible impression. They generously shared both their hearts and their time with all.
At the retirement celebration for Coach Pasterchick, Cary Clack, Express-News Columnist and SGH Class of ‘78 spoke. In one of his classes Cary had to write a paper and had chosen to write on James Brown. He wrote on things like how many pairs of shoes he had and the like. When Cary showed Coach Pasterchick the paper, without being dismissive of Cary's selection of the topic, he asked Cary, "Why don't you write on Martin Luther King?" He did and with that effort found inspiration and an elevated direction in life for his skills.
He also said he would regularly be asked over the years by those who attended St. Gerard High or were acquainted, "Is Pasterchick still there?" He acknowledged that after 34 years of dedicated and inspired leadership, Pasterchick was not to be there. But despite his physical absence from SGH, Cary suggested that wherever we go, whatever we do, whoever we become, Pasterchick would always be there.
What a blessing for us all!