Do you have a BIG THREE? – Society for Self-Defense

Drew Gibbs died suddenly on Monday at the age of 59 – his aorta ruptured during training on Monday night and the “widow maker” married an amazing trainer and an even better person. It’s been literally decades since I trained with Drew. I first met him as a player and then we trained together for a few years. Then I saw him once or twice a year, caught up with him and then I was on my way.

Next Friday, our school will face his team at the state championships … and that would be another quick hello until next time.

Drew has left a legacy of more than seven state championships and undefeated seasons – he has left generations of people who are for the most part better … better people because they know him. During his life, he positively influenced thousands of people because he was one of those rare human beings who owned the BIG THREE.



Moral compass

As a coach, instructor, mentor … we need to have all three to be a great leader.

Know your work and always try to improve. Have compassion for others and weigh the well-being of the individual against the cost of winning and ultimately – just do what is right. It’s constant balancing and it’s not easy to do.

I had instructors several times who had one or NONE of the big three. They let the WINNER prevail over compassion and felt that the WINNER gave them the right to do what (or whom) they wanted and when they wanted. If they were not successful, they took no responsibility and blamed the talent around them.

I have seen them abuse their power and influence far beyond their means. I once saw an instructor persuade his students to dig a septic tank in his yard … and paint their house.

Balancing is a constant struggle. As human beings, our ego sometimes gets the best, and I’m sure Drew was no different, even though I’ve never seen it. During our joint coaching, he was the voice of reason and knew exactly what was wrong and how to fix it. I probably made every mistake the young coach could make … and Drew was there to guide me in the right direction.

My father was suddenly taken the same way when he was 66, it’s all surreal. For his players, I can only imagine how you feel. When you stand against us next Friday, it will mean something different, something more … and I think it will be something amazing for both parties. I can’t think of a better way to appreciate Coach Gibbs than playing the state championship under Friday Night Lights.

The only thing I tell my kids and instructors is to leave the world better than you found it. This happens when the people around you are better off knowing you. Do you make their lives better or worse?

Hopefully at the end of your run there will be more in the column.

David Berry

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