Kelly Weese // Sports Editor
After spending thirty-four years as a coach, Jesse Chick provides the COD football team with a different type of teaching method. As the team’s chaplain, Chick is a support system that gives both coaching and spiritual advice to the players. “The X’s and O’s are taken care of on the field. My job is to make the X’s and O’s work off the field,” coach Chick said.
Although he is not always available to the team for practices, coach Chick commutes from the city to COD for football games. When he arrives at the field, he sits in the stands for the first quarter of play. He observes the body language of the players and just watches the game. At the start of the second quarter, he moves to the field where he begins to take in the reality of the game and what is happening. He takes some time to pray before players approach him and vice versa.
To the players, coach Chick is someone they can talk to about anything. Whether it’s football, family life, relationship advice or religious inquiries, Chick will listen and respond to everything. “I’ve dealt with situations where players have lost loved ones. I’ve been there to sit and talk with them and provide a spiritual response,” Chick said. “Football is a game. Life is forever.”
Formerly the head coach at the Simeon Career Academy; Chick uses his football experience to help players on the field. “There was one time where a kid was standing there and you could tell he wasn’t happy. I walked up to him and said ‘everything is going to be alright. Last week you were in the stands with no uniform, this week you are on the field with a uniform, next week you’re going to be on the field playing.’ He was on the field that next week.”
As a chaplain, Chick wants the players to feel comfortable talking about their spiritual life with him. On Sundays, he has the opportunity to talk to the players individually. This gives him the ability to talk with them, offer advice and transition the conversation towards a religious aspect. “We will just talk and then when it transitions into spiritual talk we just keep flowing.”
Although he focuses on the players on the team, Chick will take advantage of any conversation he has. He will talk to coaches, the community and random strangers that he comes in contact with. The ability to talk to people and make an impact on their lives intrigues him. Chick’s example of the carrot and the coffee bean gives people he talks to a different way to look at life. “A carrot is tough to eat at first, but if you put the carrot into a pot of boiling water it turns real soft. If you put a coffee bean into a pot of water, it’s going to transform the water into coffee. The biggest thing you have to remember is don’t ever let the boiling water, which is the outside, control your inside and turn you into a soft carrot. Be a coffee bean and change the environment from the inside out. Don’t change yourself. Change your surroundings.”
Jesse Chick has been giving back to the community for most of his life. God has given him this assignment at COD and he believes that everything in life happens for a reason. Chick asks, “are you being a carrot or a coffee bean today?”