Last Friday I made the trip to Coldwater to pay my respects to the late John Reed. Talked with his wife, Jan, for a few minutes and to one of his assistant coaches. Arrived at 1:45. Calling hours were to begin at 2:00. Ten people were ahead of me, and as I was driving away at 2:15, there must have been 70 people standing in line. Basically, that tells it all about John Reed, former head football coach at Coldwater.
Both Jan and John are Upper Sandusky people. First met him when I was a freshman in high school. He was a senior, and, as most freshman were, we were "low-lifes" to the seniors. Over the years our friendship grew, and most importantly, our respect for each other grew. If you knew John's path to the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame, you would understand the tremendous respect that I had and have for him. Now, we did not always agree with each other in our younger years, but as we aged, we became very good friends.
In the old days, Coach Hayes set the standard for young coaches. If you wanted to coach football, schools highly desired that you played the game. Profanity and physical toughness were sometimes necessary to get the respect of parents and players. Along comes John Reed. Never played a down of football in his life. Never played a high school sport. Very seldom used profanity. Never took the Lord's name in vain. By his own admission, not a " brawler." However, he was a role model for character. Studied the game inside and out. Spent numerous hours in preparation. Excellent teacher. Treated people right. Super organized. All he did was win and build character.
John was "driven" to be considered one of the best. That drive was almost a curse at times. In his last email, he told me his goal was to be in attendance at the OSU Spring Game. I could sense that "drive" coming back. When I heard that he could not make the trip, I knew the cancer was too much. Not making the trip was not from a lack of "drive." His body was just too weak.
I will miss my friend. I will miss the lunches at the OSU Clinic. I will miss seeing him on the sidelines. I will miss the emails. I miss the dry humor. I will even miss his intimidating smile. But most of all, I will miss the "spiritual high" I got after talking with him. After aany conversation(either short or long) with John Reed, I walked away a better person. For that I am thankful.