One of my first memories of Coach Murphy actually came at a Home Depot in Winston-Salem. I had on a West Forsyth t-shirt.
Murph had on West Forsyth garb as well. He recognized me and came straight up and told me that the football team was going to Asheville the next Friday for a game against A.C. Reynolds. He wanted to know if I was going because he sure was going to be there.
Of course, he was going to be there. He is one of the main cogs of the West Forsyth athletics program.
I was beginning to come to more athletic contests as I had become fully convinced that I was a part of the West Forsyth community and my investment in being a part of the school’s culture was growing. And I got to met Coach Murph in the process.
And when he approached me in that Home Depot on the western side of the Twin City, he had already designated me a friend because he had met me before and knew that I rooted for West Forsyth.
That steadfast loyalty to those he knows at West Forsyth has always amazed me. In 2012, the Winston-Salem Journal did a story on Coach Murph and what he means to West Forsyth – http://www.journalnow.com/journal_west/sports/pat-murphy-a-fixture-at-west-forsyth-is-a-titan/article_92ae90b8-2dd2-11e2-a4c6-0019bb30f31a.html. It’s fantastic.
One of paragraphs in that story did strike me as I read it again.
“Joe Murphy, Pat’s 80-year-old father, said that Pat was stricken with a mental disability at birth. He’s the one who drives his son across the street every afternoon at 2 to the high school, so Pat can get to work.”
As the father of a child with special needs or developmental delays or whatever people call it in conversation, I have come to realization that it may not really be a disability that happens to be identified with Coach Murphy.
Actually, it seems he has an ability that most of us do not have: the intangible gift of lifting others.
Two quotes stand out from that story said by two men whom I deeply respect.
“If you are really having a bad day, just go hang out with Pat a little while. You’ll be all right.”
“He has always been so positive, so kind, and he never forgets things.”
In a country that has expressed itself in such divisive ways of late, it seems that what Coach Murph embodies and shows on a daily level might be one of the saving graces for keeping communities together. And it’s especially good for our young people to see.
Last week, WFMY did a piece on Coach Murph: http://www.wfmynews2.com/sports/coach-murphy-motivates-at-west-forsyth/462667345.
In it, the sagacious Coach Snow said,
“He is a major part of West Forsyth, and he’s been a major part of West Forsyth for a long time (26 years to be exact).
I don’t know what we’d do without him,” Snow said. “He gets after the kids, he does the right thing, our kids love him.”
Think about all of the very things that people attribute to Coach Murph:
- the belief that “we will win”
- stays through thick and thin
I hope someone says that about me someday.
That’s why I want to be more like Coach Murph when I grow up.