On Monday, June 11th, PCA-Arizona held its first Positive Impact Awards event to a soldout crowd of nearly 250 people. This year’s Positive Impact Awards were presented by Zipps & Goldies Neighborhood Sports Grills.
The event began with a special recognition for Tom Lewis, who was the original seed-funder for the Phoenix (now Arizona) Chapter. In addition, the Community Impact Award was presented to Fiesta Bowl Charities, and the Double-Goal Coach® Community Award was presented to David Solano, whose inspirational speech drew a standing ovation from the attendees.
Sagicor Life Insurance was then brought up on stage to introduce our Triple-Impact Competitor® Scholarship Winners that were in attendance for a Q& A session with moderator Paul Calvisi of Arizona Sports 98.7FM. All of the scholarships were fully underwritten by Sagicor Life Insurance. "It was humbling to see how far PCA-Arizona has come in the past year,” said PCA Arizona Executive Director Rich Tomey. "This event was a huge success, as the community support and interest in the mission of PCA was evident. This gives us a huge springboard to take future events to the next level!"
The Positive Impact Awards closed out the afternoon with a Q&A session with the two featured guest speakers that are both PCA National Advisory Board Members - ASU Head Coach Herm Edwards, and Former University of Arizona Head Coach Dick Tomey. Edwards' personality was shining, through his firm handshake and family friendly smile, as people approached the new Arizona State football coach.
During the event, Edwards could barely remain seated. He rose to congratulate each award recipient as they left the stage. As attentive as Edwards was to the honorees, the crowd was equally enthusiastic to hear the points the former ESPN personality was making. One of those moments came when Edwards and former Arizona coach Dick Tomey shared the stage in a Q&A session. Tomey, a Pac-10 coach of the year for the Wildcats, emphasized the importance of teaching players fundamentals, while Edwards, to his left, began nodding his head and clapping his hands in agreement.
Edwards continued putting the onus on the coaches in the room to give their athletes “hope,” because even at a young age they've become vulnerable to criticism. That's especially true in the social-media era, where everyone has a voice and athletes are a part of that. “Most people don’t realize, that when you become an athlete, you’re willing to expose yourself in front of an audience,” Edwards said.
"That is very difficult because everyone in the audience has a comment.” Edwards said he believes dealing with the pressures of social media is the toughest challenge for today's athletes – a much different reality than when Edwards, 64, was growing up.
As the program came to a close, Coach Edwards reiterated the importance of winning games and kids leaving his program as better men. “I’ve always been involved in football and I have passion,” Edwards said. “I think I can make a difference in young people’s lives, so that’s what motivates me every day.”