CROOKSVILLE — The football season has just begun and players all around Perry County are getting ready for the gridiron. A Biddy League in Crooksville had a special guest — former OSU Buckeye defensive tackle John Holman talked with the youngsters as they sharpen their skills and minds.
“I feel that everyone has a purpose at the end of the day,” Holman told The Perry County Tribune. “And my purpose is just giving back and helping kids along the way.”
Crooksville High Schools Head Football Coach Casey Vallee reached out to Holman to speak to the varsity football team as well as the Biddy League. Holman is a former defensive lineman and played for The Ohio State Buckeyes when they won the national championship in 2014. Holman played at The Ohio State from 2012 to 2014.
Holman brings a unique perspective to the children and parents he presented in front of. He understands that it sometimes takes a village to raise a child as he was raised by his mother and his grandmother. Friends and parents of friends also contributed to his upbringing.
“Everybody has a story to tell,” Holman said. “Sometimes you can tell your story and it can relate to somebody and it can change their life.”
Holman has been talking with other teams as of recent. Public speaking is something that Holman stated was his passion since he first came to Ohio State. Giving back to the community is also something that he has been working on as he once led the team in community service hours.
What gave him inspiration to start publicly speaking with teams was when he listened to other public speakers when he was playing football. He stated while he does not remember every speaker, he does remember the lessons and advice that was given which he uses in his life today.
Several parents and Biddy League players gathered at Village Park in Crooksville, which is located next to the Ceramics stadium. Under the shade of one of the structures in the park, children climbed and sat as close as they could to the 2014 National Champ. Before Holman spoke to the group, three players from Crooksville’s varsity team had a chance to speak to the youngsters — Tanner Hayes, Branson Whissen, and Tyler Carr.
After the three gave supportive and encouraging words, Holman introduced himself to the group of parents and children. The Atlanta, Georgia native gave his remarks on consistency and perseverance telling the young men that when they grow up, they will face many challenges that could be a distraction from their overall goals.
Above all of his messages of encouragement, he communicated to the group of children to think about what they want to do and be when they grow up and to never lose sight of those goals.
“You’ll miss being a kid,” Holman addressed to the youngsters. “You’ll miss waking up on Saturdays eating cereal and playing video games.”
Towards the end of his pep talk, Holman told the group that he plans to come back to Crooksville. Before he does, the former defensive lineman assigned them to think about their “purpose” in life and to find their “why.”
Prior to speaking with the Biddy League, Holman had dinner with the Crooksville varsity team where he gave a similar pep talk. Coach Vallee seemed very pleased with the pep talk as he, along with others in the community, have played biddy league before and have looked up to the older and more experienced men.
“Our kids down here — our coaching staff — we all played Biddy League,” Coach Vallee said. “They look up to the guys that I brought. We are one big family in Crooksville so it was a great opportunity for him to talk to them.”
Football is a game that gives and takes. Players, in all levels, experience fatigue, second thoughts and disappointment. Holman hopes to instill pride in the young men who listened as he opened up his life for them to learn from.