United off the field

By Angie Purdy

The Surveyor

Team sports are one way to unite a community, hence “Friday Night Lights,” but what about in the off-season?

The BHS football team recently worked alongside the Berthoud Area Chamber of Commerce and had a successful community outreach during Berthoud Day on June 3.

Zak Starkey a BHS football player is flanked by his team’s super-fans Jayce (left) and Brenner Dodson at this year’s Berthoud Day festival. Zak’s father Blaine “Scrappy” Starkey purchased the football pictured which was autographed by the BHS football team and gave it to the boys who reportedly had their eye on it the whole day.

The impact a high school football player has on the younger generation is often over-looked by the players themselves. The excitement the young people feel watching their favorite football player out in the community makes them beam with anticipation and pride for when it will be their turn to take the field.

That fact was clearly displayed by the looks on the faces of Jayce and Brennen Dodson when Zak Starkey a Berthoud High School (BHS) football player gave them a football his father purchased at Berthoud Day. Blaine Starkey, known as “Scrappy,” purchased the football not knowing there were two huge fans of the BHS football team that had their eye on that ball throughout the day. Zak found those two and gave them the football, and their day was better because of that kind-hearted gesture shown to them by the Starkey family. The imprint that kind of gesture has on young, impressionable children is hard to fathom. It results in them wanting to be just like the high schoolers they look up to on and off the field. While these high school “kids” are still trying to figure out their place in life, they have unknowingly impacted future athletes.

To build on that positive community involvement, like this story illustrates, and help further develop players both on and off the field the BHS football program is changing-up their team dynamics. According to Head Coach Troy Diffendaffer, the team has hired a character coach to bring back team-building activities, build up the character of each player, and bond on and off the field. Ken Easter is coming on board as the new character coach for the BHS football program. Easter will join a deep and experienced staff that includes a number of volunteer coaches.

Diffendaffer was introduced to Easter through the Northern Colorado Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership program. Diffendaffer had noticed his team had become fragmented and was losing cohesiveness. With the help of Easter, the staff feels they can better the character, integrity, honesty and leadership of the team by doing various things within the community and fortify the players’ mindset to be “a united front.”

A new program will be implemented, prior to the season, that takes a three-dimensional approach. The first of the three coaching dynamics consists of technique, agility, speed and power, and skills. The second dimension is the mental part of a team – cohesion and how players can stay focused and maintain confidence. The third and final dimension centers on selflessness – imparting to the team the importance of giving unto others.

“The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back of the jersey,” Diffendaffer explained.

Easter described it as “new energy” with this year’s football players. A team goal is to have more of a community outreach program during the summer. One idea is to have clean-up day for the houses that are behind the east side of the football field. Easter said, “I have already reached out to the owners and will discuss with the football players to help, tentatively after football camp.”

Another idea is to have the team “united” in helping with the Habitat for Humanity homes. By doing community outreach programs throughout the summer, the team can hopefully strive to be more cohesive and “united.”

 

“One of the best honors is when somebody comes back five, 10, 15 years later and still calls you ‘coach,’” Diffendaffer stated. “I still, to this day, call my head football coach, ‘coach.’”  Diffendaffer will not and cannot bring himself to call his coaches anything but “Coach.”

To Diffendaffer, affectionately referred to by many simply as “Diff,” it becomes that sense of responsibility for them to be called “coach” even after their players graduate. Part of the BHS football program’s mission statement is, “trying to develop young boys to becoming better young men; that will be great brothers, great sons, great husbands and great workers, employees, employers,” Diffendaffer explained.

Football is the opportunity to use as the vehicle to get them there, and you cannot be a good team without being a good teammate; that is what the BHS football program will be working on moving forward.

 

Photo by Melanie Johnson

Blaine Starkey, known as “Scrappy,” purchased this football at Berthoud Day not knowing there were two huge fans of the BHS football team that had their eye on that ball throughout the day.

Zak Starkey, Blaine’s son (center), is a BHS football player and the two boys are Jayce (holding football) and Brenner Dodson heard about the brothers and found them in the part and presented them with the football.

 

 

Zak Starkey a BHS football player is flanked by his team’s super-fans Jayce (left) and Brenner Dodson at this year’s Berthoud Day festival. Zak’s father Blaine “Scrappy” Starkey purchased the football pictured which was autographed by the BHS football team and gave it to the boys who reportedly had their eye on it the whole day.

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