cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
In the ‘people making a difference’ category, there can be no doubt that Phil Datka is among those at the top of that group, if not at the very top.
Coach Datka has had so much influence in the lives of so many young men and women that it seems he has been around forever. Over forty years of doing what he does is simply a remarkable run. He has never been in this race for himself, either. The focus has always been on the kids with whom he was interacting, teaching and coaching to become the best people they could be.
He has spawned a crop of coaches who continue doing things the “Datka Way” in that they focus on the kids and on fair play and on hard work and on taking the bad with the good and on being true to self.
We each can learn lessons from the success that has become synonymous with the name Phil Datka. We are on display to someone every moment that we’re in public, and we can have had an impact on someone without ever being aware of that interaction. A curt word, an ugly gesture, a good deed, a warm smile, a helping hand…each of those things leave a mark, either for the better or the worse…and we each have such impacts daily.
We are about to witness the beginning of the end of the Datka era, but there will be much of that era remaining and living in the lives of those whom he touched all along the way.
We are a fortunate community to have had him active in our midst for so long as we have.
My prayer is that he will remain healthy and active for many more years to come, and that each of us will remember his example often.