I wrote this story in September of 2013: St. Louis area youth football coaches untrained, profane.
The article doesn’t include any team names or kids’ names because the experience was so vulgar and repulsive, I thought the backlash may be too much for the kids and the organizations. Specifically, I felt bad for the young boy featured in the article. He didn’t deserve to be treated that way and he certainly didn’t deserve to have some johnny-come-lately blogger immortalizing his experience online.
The boy’s name is Peyton Marshall. He and his mom now live in Atlanta and things have changed. The poor youth football experience they had in St. Louis is but a distant memory. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Micheal “Coach Moon” Thompson, defensive coordinator of the Atlanta Vikings 9u team, on which Peyton played last season.
I’ve never met Coach Moon, but one thing was evident right off the bat during our conversation: He loves Peyton and wants him to succeed. He called the 30 kids on the 9u squad his “sons.” Keep in mind that Coach Moon has a son of his own on the same team, but he went on and on about Peyton.
Coach Moon understands that although Peyton is bigger than most teenagers, he’s still 9-years-old and needs to be taught. He showed Peyton how to use his size to his advantage and kept repeating that it is his job as a coach to put Peyton in the best position to succeed.
A trained coach who cares about kids has not only renewed Peyton’s love for football, it has caused others to notice the talent that was always there. Peyton is a finalist for the D1 Spects 9u Defensive Player of the Year.
Peyton is now second in the overall voting. I’m asking the readers of this blog to help get Peyton the rest of the way – not to slight any other kid, but to reaffirm the power of positive coaching. Click on the following link to Vote for Peyton! As much as adults can wreck the sports experience for kids, we also have the power to fix it and make the experience awesome.
Vote now until January 1 and share this story with your friends. We really can make a positive difference in the lives of young people.