Why I Care
March 20, 2021
Why I Care So Much:
By Coach Chuck Stephens
Director: Flashes Football Foundation
When I reflect on my many years as the Flashes Football Head Coach, I always go back to the last few seasons of my career when I got to coach my son, Charlie, and how I got to experience his journey in becoming a Flashes Football player.
During his sixth-grade year, we discussed whether he would continue attending parochial school or transfer to Franklin Township. Since he was going to participate in football, he and several of his closest friends began attending our middle school during their seventh-grade year. At that time, we had a B-team schedule in the seventh and eighth grades. Charlie would never be a starter in middle school but was in the group we called the “Killer Bees”.
He and several of his teammates would later become starters on our undefeated 1990 state championship team. I watched him grow and develop as he and his buddies became involved in the weightlifting program after school and during the offseason when they were not participating in another middle school sport.
Charlie also assisted our football managers each year and rode the bus with us for away games. At the end of his freshman year, he began a huge growth spurt through his sophomore year. It seemed he would ask me to measure his height almost weekly. I remember most of his spare time was spent eating and sleeping. By the end of his sophomore year, he was maturing, and I knew that his dreams of becoming a starter were finally going to come true.
Charlie had always been patient, hard-working, and coachable. He now had the physical attributes it took to be a varsity starter and was a great example of what attitude and effort could produce.
In the preseason of his senior year, my son became very ill a week prior to our opening game. The doctor told me he believed Charlie had mono. I remember telling his mother the news. I was crying like a baby and I felt so sorry for him.
All his hard work and dreams of becoming a great player, on possibly our best team ever, appeared to be crushed. Tests proved negative, however, he would miss the starting game because of strep. Thankfully he was able to play the second week. Later in the year, he fought thru a severe ankle sprain. He had to do the ice bucket routine several times daily for the rest of the season. He overcame these challenges and did not miss another game.
I most vividly recall the third quarter of the Championship game. I kept slipping from being his coach to being his dad. I realized that I was watching him end his high school career. I watched my son, Charlie, grow and develop into a young man that I could not have been prouder of.
As a coach, I always felt that if playing football was not the most rewarding part of a player’s high school experience, we were not running the program in the proper manner. Coaching one’s son does not come without challenges. Most of the time you cannot show your pride in them as much as you would like because you are the coach for all the players.
You must show the pride and joy you have in your child’s accomplishments in a more controlled manner. To avoid criticism, you might be harder on them just to make sure you are not giving them advantages that others might not get. Even with some of these challenges, I would not trade the experience for anything.
I have watched my son, Charlie, grow up to become an outstanding son, husband, and father. I am very proud of him for all he has accomplished in his life. I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to coach him.
My son gives me the passion and drive to do everything in my power to help Coach West rebuild the Flashes football program from the ground up. I have always felt that if a football program is run properly, participating in that program will become the most rewarding experience of a student athlete’s high school career.
I have seen, firsthand, the positive impact football had on Charlie and his teammates’ lives. I want the present-day Flashes to have the same opportunity that the young men in our program experienced. Our football program has fallen behind. I am not here to point fingers. I am asking for your help in providing the resources it takes to build another successful football program. We are trying to help level the playing field, so our players have the same advantages that the top teams in Central Indiana and our conference have.
Coach West has won 3 state championships at the highest level in Indiana. He not only knows what he is doing, but he has a proven plan on how to bring that type of success to FC! The Flashes Football Foundation (FFF) is committed to providing the funds to upgrade players, coaching, and field equipment. We will demonstrate to our players and coaches that we will help provide the resources needed to build a competitive 6A program. Giving the present-day Flashes the same opportunity and environment that my son, and all my former players, had to be successful is a TOP priority for me.
I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that if we do not capitalize on Coach West’s rebuilding effort, Flashes Football will be doomed to mediocrity or worse, FOREVER!!! Coach West has stated, “I think that Franklin Central is a sleeping giant.” We need everyone to get on board and to wake and to
“CHARGE UP THIS SLEEPING GIANT”
If we don’t get this done, we are done.
It’s now or never!
We used to utter the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.
What you give is yours. What you don’t give is lost forever.”