How an Old Ball Coach Changed My Life

Jonathon LoughridgeContributor IOctober 17, 2008

I love professional sports. I love my Royals and Chiefs, no matter how much they suck. And it doesn't matter if Mizzou loses to Okie State, I still support my Tigers.

But on Friday, I am devoted to only one team: My Adrian Blackhawks.

Our proud football tradition is about to get even prouder tonight, as coach George Bruto goes for his 200th victory against the Drexel Bobcats.

Adrian is a different kind of town than the big city schools. Sitting just 20 miles from the Kansas-Missouri border, our town of just over 2000 people loves its Blackhawks. And for good reason: we're the WEMO Conference powerhouse.

Our tradition trancends state championships (we only have one). It is more than being an absolute dominating force in Western Missouri. It's more than even the brand new football field we just recently built.

Our tradition culminates into one man: Coach George Bruto. Adrian's dominance is only possible through our old ball coach.

If old is the qualification, George has achieved it. The 60-something (we're not quite sure) has coached Adrian for over 20 years. He's led Adrian to one state championship in 2002, not to mention over 10 state playoff appearances and several semifinal games. He's an Adrian legend, and has been rightfully been inducted into the Missouri High School Sports Hall of Fame.

But more than that, George has been a positive influence on all the students of Adrian High.

He's helped many of his football players go to college and get good jobs. He has given both of his sons and many other deserving people jobs as his assistants. And he's given everyone that I know inspiration and advice for how to live life.

He especially helped me out. When I first moved to Adrian, he helped me overcome brutal ridiculing. He befriended me when no one else did, and really helped me become a greater person.

My story is just one of many that George has made possible. And tonight, he goes for win number 200 in a great career that will be remembered by Adrianites forever. Though this year may be his last season as our head coach, his legacy will be with us forever.