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Letter: Bemidji’s calm demeanor a reflection of its coach

Recently I and another Bemidji High School alum made the trek up from the Twin Cities to Sartell to watch the football team take on the Sabres.

During the first half, we were standing next to the bleachers on the Sartell sideline. As we were watching, there was a penalty called on Sartell that wasn’t even questionable. However, in the mind of the head coach, it was an erroneous decision. The coach threw his hat on the ground in anger and had a heated debate with the referee.

We made our way over to the Bemidji sideline at halftime to root the Jacks on for the second half. During a crucial drive in the third quarter, Bemidji threw a pass into the end zone that was deflected by the defensive back. However, the defender arrived before the ball and it was a clear pass interference penalty but was not called. Coach (Troy) Hendricks calmly walked over to the ref and quietly discussed the missed infraction. The ref’s response was, “Sorry coach, I didn’t see it.” Coach Hendricks left the discussion at that, calmly turned around and walked back to his spot on the sideline.

It didn’t seem like much at the time, but in the fourth quarter, the attitude of the coaches and how they each deal with adversity showed up in their respective teams.

Bemidji’s run game was in top form at the end of the game and it was having an effect on Sartell’s defense. At one point, there was a late hit against Sartell. The penalty gave Bemidji extra yards and allowed the Jacks to score on that drive. You could feel the frustration coming from Sartell and it definitely showed on that play. On the Bemidji sideline was a team that never seemed nervous or worried, even though they were behind for most of the game. Their calm demeanor, which is a direct result of the attitude of their coach, helped them win that game.

I want to recognize the outstanding person Bemidji has leading their football team and their entire athletic program. Standing behind the team, we saw Coach Hendricks constructively coach individual players when they ran the wrong route or missed a block. Never getting too upset at a player, at the team or at the referees. It was a perfect example of how a team of young individuals follows the lead of their coach.

Thank you Coach Hendricks for having the right mindset and the right attitude to lead the young athletes of Bemidji. I couldn’t be any more proud to call myself a Lumberjack.

Eric Metso

Monticello, Minn.