Coach Blaine

This is a story that has gotten a great deal of attention over the last month.  CNN, The Today Show, Inside Edition, NBC 4 and now even ESPN has been in town to show the amazing story of our kids at Colonial Hills. 

If somehow you have missed this story, Matt is a physically challenged student at Colonial Hills Elementary who during field day inspires us all with his effort and determination.  Amazingly without prompting, the rest of the Colonial Hills student body joins in to cheer on their classmate.  The video is a testament to Matt and all of our kids.  It warms the heart just to watch it.

Obviously the star of this story is Matt and our kids.  Playing a supporting role is the Physical Education teacher John Blaine.  In the video you see John pushing Matt, encouraging Matt, and challenging Matt, to keep working hard.  Anyone who knows John, knows that this is what he does everyday.  Seriously, everyday.

20 years ago I was a high school football player in Worthington.  Coach Blaine was the young, energetic, and a bit crazy, defensive coordinator.  As an offensive player Coach Blaine had about as much use for us as he had for pond scum.  To put it bluntly he was a scary dude.

When I came to work in Worthington all these years later, John still kind of scared me.  Some things never change.  However in watching this video I see the same John I knew all those years ago.  Maybe he’s a bit kinder and gentler now, but his will to work and to push those he works with to greater heights has not softened one bit.  When I communicated to John after this video came out, here is a little of what I wrote: 

“I like all of America have watched Colonial Hills this week on the news, on You-Tube, CNN, The Today Show and on and on.  As I watched I was proud to be associated in a small way with your school.  What struck me as someone who knows the work you do with all kids really was how much I just expected that to happen.  How really ordinary it is for the kids you serve and the values you instill.  It didn’t surprise me at all that John Blaine expected success for Matt, and was willing to challenge him to push himself.  I would have been shocked if I had seen something different.  It didn’t surprise me that the students at Colonial would rally around one another and support a fellow student.  I’ve seen that time and time again with Colonial Hills cross-country meets and after school opportunities for tutoring in Selby Park.  I think it was great for the rest of Columbus and the nation to get a glimpse at what a special place Colonial Hills is and the difference a positive and committed role model can make for kids.  I think we probably take that for granted.  I appreciate what I saw on video, but I also know that is what you do everyday, day after day, and have done year after year.  That, I really appreciate.  Thanks for making a long-term positive difference in the lives of many, many, many kids!” 

Colonial Hills is a great place for kids.  John Blaine is one of the major reasons why.  Matt deserves the attention.  In a small way, John and the entire staff and Colonial Hills community does as well.

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