Now that we are in the middle of football season, I would like to take you back to a column I did a few years ago.
Then I told you about a high school football coach in Arkansas who operates under a different philosophy than his peers. Coach Kevin Kelley believes his team should never surrender the ball voluntarily. That means he does not punt, goes for it on fourth down and usually tries for an onside kick on each kickoff. Most of the time he also tries for a two point conversion instead of kicking an easy extra point.
The guy is a free thinker and I love it. In his 18 seasons as coach at Pulaski Institute in Little Rock, he won nine state championships. That is a huge record of high school success.
When his bizarre methods became public nationwide, several big universities and even a few pro teams called him in for an interview. I don't believe they were as interested in hiring him as finding out just how he accomplished such a record without playing in the traditional manner.
At that time Coach Kelley let it be known he was interested in moving up, but none were brave enough to give him and his unorthodox methods a try.
This year he took the head coaching job at little Presbyterian College in South Carolina. The coach had to take a pay cut for this job, but, as he says, he was interested in seeing if his methods would work at the college level.
His team is now 2 and 2, so I suppose the verdict is not yet in, but in his first two games his team scored 80 and 63 points respectively. Not bad!
His players love him and his strange ways, but if you don't want to play his brand of football you can hit the street. Coach Kelley reminds me that too many of us are stuck in our own ways. We should always approach each chore knowing there is more than one way to complete a task.
Throughout history it was the free thinkers who came up with ideas that conventional thinkers believed to be too strange to work. Henry Ford believed that if you allow a person to do the same task all day, the quality would be improved. That was the opposite of his competitors.
If it wasn't for free thinkers we would never have come up with cable TV and then satellite TV. Better ways of doing the same old thing.
The person who came up with the microwave oven designed a different and, at the time, amazing way to heat things in a box. Scientists figured out how to send people into space when we believed there was no way to leave this world. Just took a little free thinking.
So, I applaud Coach Kevin Kelley and hope he has success at Presbyterian. Maybe one day he will change the way professional football will be played. Who knows?
There is usually more than one way to complete a task. Just have to think a little and follow our own convictions. That idea may serve us all in our daily lives.
Dan Smith is on the board of directors of the Motor Racing Heritage Association and is the author of two books, “The World’s Greatest Beach” and “I Swear the Snook Drowned.” Email questions and comments to email@example.com or call (386) 441-7793.