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Our Readers Write: Warnock taught more than football

September 29, 2010

Last night I attended the Crescenta Valley High School junior varsity football game, the first since the passing of longtime Coach Gordon Warnock.

All the players wore black bands, and some had written his initials on taped limbs in memory of their coach. It was nice to see these young men honor their coach with such love and affection.

I sat with many of the team members as the beginning of the varsity game approached. There was the usual banter of teenagers at a high school football game, but once the announcer started to read a biography of the well-known coach, their loud conversation turned to respectful silence as they listened to the life of one of the most loved men in the Crescenta Valley.

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I took the time to realize how much Coach had taught me and how those lessons formed the man I was to become. Having played for him more than 30 years ago, many of the things Coach Warnock taught on the gridiron were actually lessons learned about how to live my life. Most of the boys I sat with last night will not play another down of football once their high school career is over, but like me, I know they will come to realize that this time spent playing football with Coach Warnock will be about more than wins and losses. It will be about forming good men.

It dawned on me that my son and his friends playing for Gordy today truly loved him, but could not yet realize the value and influence he will have on their lives and the men they will become. They simply have not had the life experience to know the importance of the message Coach Warnock sent through coaching football. So I turned to them and said, "Boys, remember everything Coach taught you because some day you will understand the full impact of this time spent playing ball."

Their response was, "Yes sir." Just as Gordy would have expected.

Godspeed, Coach.

Philip Lanzafame

Glendale

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