Pride and Passion Lead to Impact

An Impact Story—Erik Coleman

It’s a strange love—something that takes hold of you when you spend time on “The Palouse.” My license plate holder reads, “I Bleed Crimson.” It reflects a passion that is hard to describe.

You have to be resilient to be a Cougar. To be a Cougar is to know what it means to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You know how to celebrate and cherish victories because you are not overwhelmed with too many to count.

Cougars are are easy to identify. Wear the iconic logo of Washington State University anywhere in the world and you are likely to be greeted by someone calling out “Go Cougs.”

There is a deep sense of pride that goes along with being a Coug for most Cougars. Pride is good but the endearing and admirable trait may be toughness—resiliency and a yearning to create and sustain impact.

Erik Coleman is a Cougar. A scholarship to play football at Washington State was his ticket to opportunity after growing up in a broken household and an environment of alcohol, drugs and violence. An environment and childhood filled with tremendous resistance that too commonly claim all who pass that way as a victim.

“We can look backwards for reference but progress towards the future is always based in what we are doing today.”

—Eric Greitens, Resilience

Erik’s pride, toughness and resilience was at the heart of a very special team in Cougar football history. He helped lead the Cougars to their last Rose Bowl appearance in 2003 and a win in the 2003 Holiday Bowl over the fifth ranked Texas Longhorns. Erik’s collegiate success opened the door play in the N.F.L. for nine years.

Erik, now a former professional athlete and a far removed from the troubles and resistance of his youth, has started a new race—leading kids to a better future. Erik’s most recent work is with ‘My Brothers Keeper,’ a non-profit organization that helps young men in difficult situations keep their live on track. Coleman will go to different community centers, talk to those there and be the father or brother figure that may not be prominent in that kid’s life.

Erik Coleman is running for impact—embracing his unique place in the world to change lives. Erik says he wants what he accomplished on the football field to “to play second fiddle to what he accomplishes in life.”

Every day we are presented with opportunities for impact. Opportunities to inspire hearts, unlock possibilities and change the lives of people who intersect our path. Impact does not require a grand stage. It simply requires us to look beyond our routine and say yes.

We become the best version of who were created to be when we pour our hearts and soul into creating positive impact in the lives of people who need our love and care.

Yes my license plate holder reads “I Bleed Crimson.” I don’t know Erik Coleman personally. But I am quite certain he bleeds crimson which means he understands the power of pride and passion—thanks Erik.

Maybe I need to change my license plate holder to read “I Race for Impact!” Life changes and becomes richer when we race for impact. Who is going to intersect your path today that could be inspired, influenced and motivated by how you respond?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Pride and Passion Lead to Impact

  1. “Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory….” Since graduating from Rogers High School in the late 70’s, watching and reading about the success of the wrestling program through the mid-90’s, I have seen many teams at Rogers struggle to seize the moment and win games or matches they deserved to win, often because they lacked being in these type of moments often enough to be able to play through the pressure and maintain their composure. And to see their reaction was enough to wish I could do something to make them feel better about their effort.
    But that is something we all face and have to accept that at some point ww will experience. That is something I have challenged my wrestlers at Rogers since taking over three seasons ago. It wasn’t pretty in terms of dual meet victories, but we, as coaches, tried to sell the level of effort that was put forth, that the victories would take care of themselves when they collectively learned that individual effort reflects team effort. This year, we snatched victory from the grips of defeat, finishing with a 4-5 record in arguably the toughest league in the State, top to bottom. and team success led to placing five wrestlers at the State tournament for the first time in our school’s history. Now that we have jumped that never achieved hurdle, I believe we are capable of so much more. I’m excited for the opportunities that lie ahead for our wrestlers.

    • Awesome work Rod! The power of belief and having pride and passion about what we do is so powerful and you have brought that to your program. Congratulations. Think we need to write a story about this.