Coaches Fight For Summer Commitment


Most every head football coach can sympathize with Jake Swartwood and the frustration he’s experiencing trying to get prospective players to dedicate themselves to summer weight training.

The teens are not showing up for training sessions with regularity which Swartwood and all other football coaches around the state know will hobble the team once the season kicks off.

Pinpointing reasons the players aren’t participating can be tough. Some have summer jobs others consider the time of year as summer, which means vacation time, and there are those simply not motivated to participate.

Talking with coach Swartwood this week, rekindled a lot of memories of my first head football coaching position and the struggles I had in getting players to commit to the weight room.

It was 1983 and I had taken over a Show Low High program that had been downtrodden since the school first opened. Also, the very popular head coach before me had died tragically in a car accident and the players were reeling.

Because the school had never had a winning football season and had lost most games by lopsided scores, the players didn’t understand the value in summer workouts.

But thanks to a dedicated senior class I had coached previously in basketball and track in junior high, I was finally able to motivate athletes to turn out.

What resulted was the finest season (7-3) in the school’s history, the Cougars’ first regional championship, a first-ever berth in the state tournament and Show Low’s first win over archrival Snowflake.

There were many contributing factors to that amazing turnaround, not the least of which was the commitment the players finally began showing to summer workouts.

Here’s hoping PHS players find the motivation to delve head-first into workouts as they continue through the summer.

A bit of advice from others:

“Winning can be defined as the science of being totally prepared.” George Allen

“You play the way you practice.” Pop Warner

“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail,” John Wooden

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” Thomas A. Edison

“Preparation prevents piss-poor performances.” Nolan Richardson

“Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

“The key is not the ‘will to win’ ... everybody has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that is important.” Bobby Knight

Have fun, help out

Golf can be great fun and rewarding.

But it can be even more fun and rewarding if play is for an admirable cause like the 2013 Elks Clothe-A-Child benefit set for Saturday, July 6 at Payson Golf Course.

For years, Elks tournament chairman Becky Waer and her volunteers have annually hosted a charity golf tournament to raise money for Clothe-a-Child.

The Elks sponsor similar tournaments around the state with the same goal — to make sure school children have proper-fitting, warm and contemporary clothing.

Because the tournament is played for such a worthy cause, Waer is urging prospective golfers to sign up early and not be left out when the maximum number of teams is filled.

Check-in is at 6:30 a.m. when coffee and doughnuts will be served. At 7:30 a.m. the fray gets off to a shotgun start.

The format is four-man teams of best-ball play, and golfers who do not have a team will be assigned one.

The fee is $80 per golfer ($65 for PGC members), which includes 18 holes of play with a cart, lunch, raffle prizes and awards for closest to the pin and straightest drive.

The fee is a legitimate links bargain. The fee for the social welfare golf tournament hosted by the Chandler Elks Lodge is $115 per player and even higher at other benefits around the state.

The evening of the local tournament, July 6, a dinner, cocktail hour, silent auction, music and dancing will be held at the Payson Elks Lodge. The no-host cocktail hour begins at 5 p.m., the buffet dinner at 5:30 p.m., with music and dancing from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The day before the tournament, July 5, the Elks Lodge lounge will open at noon. Live music and a silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner served from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For those who don’t golf, there will also be plenty of activities going on at the lodge including bingo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Non-golfers can also purchase lunch ($5) and dinner tickets ($15), which will be available at the lodge.

On Independence Day, burgers and hot dogs will be served under the Elks Lodge ramada and a horseshoe tournament held. Both begin at noon.

Entry forms are available at the Elks Lodge, 1206 N. Beeline Highway.

For details, call Waer at (928) 476-3678, or the lodge at (928) 474-2572. Questions may also be e-mailed to


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