Kevin Motsinger, Wallace-Rose Hill back to football with heavy hearts after Hurricane Florence
Wallace-Rose Hill head coach Kevin Motsinger addressed his team after a win over Midway on Wednesday night with something weighing on his mind.
What he had to say wasn’t a critique or praise of his offense, defense or special teams. In fact, it had nothing to do with football at all.
Motsinger informed his team that a member of the community was in desperate need of an organ transplant.
He urged his players to register as organ donors when they obtain their driver’s licenses, citing the importance of being able to help someone else should the unimaginable happen to them.
After he got that off his chest, he led his team in prayer before players and coach went their separate ways for the night.
For Motsinger, striving to be a positive influence on his players is nothing new, but it’s become more important than ever over the past month.
Motsinger, like so many others in the area, saw his home suffer significant damage during Hurricane Florence.
“I’m blessed,” Motsinger said after the game and after addressing his team. “I’ve got an absolute mess, but there’s a lot of people that have absolutely nothing... We had 26 feet of water at my house. Luckily, I’ve got the high ground, so the water didn’t actually get to the main living part of the house, but it wiped out everything underneath.”
″[We’ve been] meeting with parents, trying to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help them. I’m so proud of our parents that have really stepped up and shielded their kids from this. A lot of our kids really don’t know the loss.”
“In our modern society, a lot of times coaches and teachers will talk about the lack of parenting, and I’ve got to give a shout out to our parents because they’ve done an amazing job protecting their kids. They may be grown, and they may be big as can be, but they’re still kids.”
Motsinger takes his responsibilities as a coach very seriously, but he’s also a father.
“The hardest part is my kids,” he continued. “I’ve got a five-year-old and a seven-year old, and they don’t understand why. They want to know where their bikes are, and a lot of their personal stuff, and that’s a five-year old and a seven-year-old. Well, [on the team] I’ve got 18-year-olds, 17-year-olds, 16-year-olds that are asking the same questions.”
“That’s the most challenging thing. People see it on the news, but unless you’ve been down here and seen everything you own piled up on the street... it’s really hard to put it in words. You drive to your house, and you see your son’s bike, and you see stuff that-- at the end of the day it’s just stuff-- but that’s your child’s stuff.”
The North Carolina high school football community has made sure that Wallace-Rose Hill and other schools in the area haven’t had to go through this without help.
Motsinger pointed out that Cardinal Gibbons, Apex and other programs and institutions from around the state have lent a helping hand.
“God has sent us so many angels, it isn’t even funny,” Motsinger said.
For the time being, the Bulldogs are back to playing football.
And as has become typical for the Wallace-Rose Hill program, they’re playing football well.
The Bulldogs have played two games since missing almost an entire month due to the hurricane and its aftermath, beating Spring Creek 60-0 and Midway 68-0 on Wednesday night.
“We’ve got to make the most out of every time we do have that is for football,” Motsinger said of his team’s approach post-Florence. “We don’t have time to waste. We’ve got to make the most out of every opportunity, whether it’s the second half tonight, or practice, or the coaches breaking down film, we’ve got to be a lot more efficient with our time.”
“Right now, football’s on the back-burner,” he admitted.
But that win over Midway was not intended to be played on Wednesday.
The game was rescheduled from its original Friday night slot this week due to the anticipated effects of another hurricane, Michael.
On its own, Michael’s impact on North Carolina does not figure to be nearly as severe as that of Florence.
Parts of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama will draw the most damaging effects of the most recent storm to batter the Southeast.
The unfortunate reality is that in those areas, communities will be faced with difficulties similar to the ones with which Teachey is still coping.
There will be coaches thrust into the position that Motsinger found himself in in September.
At the end of Motsinger’s prayer with his team, he lifted up the communities that would be most affected by Michael.
“The biggest thing... is those true leaders are going to do what they do every single day,” Motsinger posed when asked what advice he had for those who would soon be faced with the situation he has been in. “When tough times come it takes tough people.”
“Just stick to the basics that football teaches us every day,” he continued. “And to be a leader of men, because now they’re going to need you to lead even more.”