Teachers and Coaches through the yearsJan 18, 2024 10:32AM ● By J Ward
We were blessed in Malad to have incredible teachers at all levels.
Without Mr. Castleton, I would never have had opportunities to perform in top music performances groups at BYU.
Without Mrs. Deon Hanson and Mrs. Zundel, I would not have had encouragement to write and to be creative.
Without Mrs. Helen Servoss, I would never had an introduction to the language and culture of German speaking countries.
Mr. Joe Davis not only taught me American History and Government, but he encouraged all of us to seek educational opportunities.
I don’t see myself as a superstar athlete, but sports memories were important. Events taught us to be competitive, never to “give up,” but more importantly, we learned how to play as a team, and we discovered how “to have each other’s backs.”
In the fall of 1969, Oneida County School District hired a standout former Weber State defensive player.
He brought a “winning attitude.” But there was more. He and his assistant refused to tolerate team members targeting each other during practice.
Our two coaches also cared about the health of individual players.
Before one particular upcoming major game, coaches did more conditioning than usual. We began running offensive plays, but the offense kept making mistakes, so repeating offensive sets continued.
My teammates and I were tired. We had a starting senior fullback and linebacker, who looked at us. He implied he had a solution.
After taking a number of quick deep breaths and then not “taking in” any air, he fell to the turf. He seemed to have hyperventilated.
Our head coach rushed to the fullback’s side, knelt down and removed the player’s helmet.
The teammate, whom we assumed fainted, held his eyes shut, but a smile slowly spread across his face. Disgusted, coach sent him to the showers.
The rest of us ran a few more plays before we began a series of final wind sprints. Then coach sent us to the showers.
During an important home game, that same aforementioned player, who on defense made hard hits, began wandering on the field after making a fantastic tackle. In those days, you made plays by “leading with your helmet.”
Referees stopped the game. Our teammate, who had head trauma, didn’t know where he was, didn’t know his name. Coach “sat him out.” Not having him on offense and defense was a hardship, but our coach valued a player’s safety. A concussion was not something to take lightly.
In our final game at Aberdeen, without going into minute detail, I fell unconscious after an opposing player’s dirty play.
I tried to return to the offensive huddle, but my coach helped me get to the sideline. I had a concussion, and again, the health of players was most important.
Teachers and coaches in Oneida School District changed my life. They changed the lives of many classmates. Although I am not familiar with current staff in Oneida School District, I am confident that individuals in education still make a powerful difference.