We would like to welcome Josh Anderson, Payson High School's new football coach, and encourage the community to support him during his tenure.
For four months next fall, Anderson will become the most important person in this town -- more important than the mayor, more important than the police chief -- because he will be molding our sons.
As he leads, the community will be watching and emotions will be running high.
The feeling that rises up the spines of the athletes when Friday night lights flood the football field is a feeling that dates back centuries. In many ways, a teenage football player is no different than the gladiator who stood in the arena all those years ago listening to the cheers of his community. When the game begins, that PHS football player is battling for his school and for his town.
For the parents in the stands, many things are at stake. It's their pride. It's their kid and it's an extension of themselves out there on the field.
If you've lived in Payson for very long, you know how important it is to beat Snowflake, or Show Low or Blue Ridge.
And we all know who takes the heat if we don't.
In becoming the PHS football coach, Josh Anderson has taken on a job that has not seen a pay raise since the '80s. If you calculated the hourly wage, it would measure out in pennies for the amount of work required.
But high school football coaches never do it for the money. They do it for the game and for the kids.
Anderson comes from a football family. His father is an athletic director. Anderson himself played football in college and this is his chance to give back.
As he takes over the PHS program, he will have 100 kids in his charge among the three programs -- freshman, junior varsity and varsity.
He has to make decisions for the good of all those athletes. The problem he will soon face is that many parents are only thinking about the good of their one child.
No football coach has ever failed at PHS for lack of knowledge of the game. It's the relationship with parents that has ended many a coaching career.
Most parents will greet coach Anderson with open arms at the beginning of the season, but the first time he makes a tough decision -- the first time he makes someone's child sit on the bench -- that will be the true test.
At that moment, we ask that the community get behind him and support him in those tough decisions.