The Juneau Youth Football League's Junior All-Stars traveled to Kodiak from Oct. 16-19 and captured the junior championship trophy. The parents who traveled with the team saw not only remarkable football but also witnessed the extraordinary leadership and sportsmanship of the All-Stars coaching team, Edd Webb and Charles Fairless. These coaches, along with Tommy Penrose, had only five practices to put together a winning team comprised of players from four teams in JYFL's 11- and 12-year-old category.
The coaches' extraordinary technical knowledge and coaching ability resulted in two strong wins in Kodiak, but the coaches' kindness, sense of humor and genuine affection toward the players will be remembered long after the scores have been forgotten. There are no finer examples of role models than these men. They ran the Junior All-Star program with iron hands and velvet touches, getting the absolute best from the talent they inherited while commanding respect from the players and returning it in spades. Their talent was exceeded only by their generosity of spirit.
For example, coach Fairless insisted that every player eligible to carry the ball get a chance to score in the games, even if that meant the final scores were lower than they might have been if only the best players had made every play. Head coach Webb, a giant bear of man with a heart just as big, made a point to reach out to each player and motivated each in different ways with humor, discipline, warmth and encouragement. He has an uncanny instinct for knowing how to get the best from each player.
Juneau is so fortunate to have such gifted volunteers who offer so much to our youth and community. My son said it all when he said, "I don't want to stop now. I wish this season could go on and on."
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