Coach Wimberly was the man that most of the high school jocks looked up to. He had the charisma of a large teddy bear, but the discipline of a dictator. He was there for every practice, explaining to his players that being on time was essential. He made them run laps if they were late, because he would say in the real world you don’t keep others waiting for you.
He taught my son good sportsmanship. His philosophy of every man plays often brought humiliating losses. He told his team that wins and losses were part of life. He encouraged them not to taunt the person who did not play well, but to work with them to improve their game.
When the team would win, he would congratulate them. He told them not to take their win for granted, and urged them to work harder the next time. He often said that self confidence produced swelled egos, and those swelled heads often produce losers the next game.
He never chided the boys if they did not play well. He said that in life everyone has a day that they don’t do well. He encouraged them to “shake it off and keep trying.” His attitude of “never quit” was one that they could take throughout life’s journey.
When it came to players, he always had a nickname for them. He called my son “slider” because he could steal bases in baseball. There were others, the shark, the play maker, and ball hugger to name just a few. The fans caught on and often chanted players by their nicknames.
Mr. Wimberly did not have a first name in the eyes of the boys. He encouraged parent participation by assigning various duties to parents, such as assistant score keepers, refreshment providers, and even asked for suggestions on now the parents thought the team could do better plays.
This man was an excellent coach. He visited with the boys outside of the regular season. He made sure that each boy was performing his potential in school. If a player was not doing well with his schoolwork, he arranged for a tutor to help them. He felt that school was of utmost importance, much more than a sport.
My son often talks about his wonderful coach and how he cared about each one of his players. He was an excellent example for his team. His life long lessons were well learned on the baseball, football, and soccer field. My son has carried these in his life and passed it on to his sons.