All students need fitness

By establishing the position of athletic director, I trust the Lafourche Parish School Board and a newly appointed athletic director will assure that not only the major sports will be enhanced. With obesity on the increase, now, more than ever, there is the need for a vigorous, solid, varied and strenuous physical education program that will promote long-time fitness and health to be an integral, imperative goal for the physical well-being of all Lafourche Parish boys and girls.

A long time ago, I hoped the Lafourche Parish School Board would stress physical education and health, along with sports as equally beneficial and necessary for all our boys and girls, not only athletes; that the board would appoint a parish physical education director, soon after World War II ended, to establish a parishwide program that would take care of the health and physical needs of our boys and girls who either did not want to participate in our major sports or could not do so, citing a valid reason.

Had such a position been instituted by our School Board early on, I certainly would have been an applicant. I possessed the talent, physical education and coaching background, ordinary knowledge, patience, intuitive and innovative skills and the ability to promote long-time health and fitness without sacrificing or short-changing parishwide varsity sports programs.

I was a successful coach in football, basketball, baseball and track, and I was instrumental in establishing a physical education and health program that was second to none in the parish, Louisiana and nationwide.

Students I coached and taught achieved success and a lifetime of physical fitness by participating in running (sprints and distance), rope climbing, rope jumping (52 skills), tumbling and stunts, weight training exercises, touch football, basketball, volleyball, intramurals (boxing, basketball, touch football, physical fitness exercises, track and field competition and pirogue races), recreational games and riflery.

Mrs. Rosemary Adams, our girls’ physical education director, health educator and coach, was right there with me conducting an equally complementary program.

If this sounds like bragging, then so be it. Recall how Dizzy Dean, a baseball Hall of Fame St. Louis Cardinal pitcher, once stated, “It ain’t bragging if you can do it.” Well, Mrs. Adams and I did it.

I am always thrilled and so excited whenever I meet a “youngster” I taught long ago, at a dance, supermarket, mall or at a particular event and said person greets me acknowledging that I played a role in his physical well-being.

To the thousands of boys and girls, now grown-up adults, that I coached and taught from 1950 to 1986 at Larose-Cut Off and South Lafourche High schools, my heartfelt appreciation to you for having so enthusiastically participated in my program to the extent that you all “made me look good.” All the very best, stay well and God bless.