Dabo Swinney: 'That’s the game of football. I’ve seen it time and time again'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday June 02, 2017

There might be no better pitch man for the game of football than Dabo Swinney, and he showed why at the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday night.

Swinney was in Atlanta to receive the MacArther Bowl for last season’s national championship, and it included a chat that touched on the role of football. Here’s some of what Swinney had to say.

- He said football is a rare good influence on kids today:

There’s a lot of things out there in society I don’t think are a positive influence on young people, but the game of football is still a positive influence. It’s hard work. It’s just hard work. The one thing that hasn’t changed about football — styles of play come and go — but it is still hard work. It’s a tremendous commitment. It teaches young people work ethic. It teaches young people sacrifice and courage and how to win and lose. It teaches young people how to get along with somebody they may not like, but we’ve got a job to get done. It teaches young people how to handle adversity. To me, the game of football mirrors life like nothing else.”

- He said it brings other people together who might not otherwise:

“You go to Tuscaloosa, you go to Clemson and you see all these fans, when the Tigers score, they’re high-fiving and hugging. A lot of those people Monday through Friday, because they’ve got different political beliefs or religions or neighborhood or checking accounts, they probably walk right by each other. But a football game breaks out, and they’re inviting each other to the tailgate. They’re high-fiving. It’s powerful."

- He shared a message he got from a fan battling cancer:

“I got a letter from a lady going through cancer, and I read it to the team. She was talking about all the chemo treatments she had been through. This letter, this lady says, ‘Coach, I’ve been through all these chemo treatments, but the best chemo I’ve had yet is those three or four hours I get to see the Tigers play.’ And you tell me football doesn’t matter?"

- And he told a funny story of something that happened at an emergency room:

“Last year, a player had an issue, and I go to the emergency room on a Tuesday night in Anderson, S.C. The mom of the player meets me outside the doors, opening and closing, people in and out, it’s a madhouse. I’m trying to talk to this lady, we’re 3/4 of the way through the season, I’m trying not to make eye contact with anybody. All of a sudden, I hear this guy behind me moaning and groaning, and I’m worried something’s wrong. I turn around, and there’s this lady bringing this guy into the emergency room. As soon as I turn around, we lock eyes, and he (did a double take), ‘Coach Swinney? Hell of a year, man! Hell of a year!’ He reached out to high-five me and I’m like, ‘Can I help you?!’ He’s got like a collapsed lung or something. That’s the game of football. I’ve seen it time and time again.

“I’ve seen guys stand up for each other at their weddings. I’ve seen guys be pallbearers at funerals. I’ve seen teammates be there for a friend when their wife leaves them. The game of football creates a brotherhood, a work ethic, a skill set.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.