Steel Sharpens Steel

By: J.D. Ey ’13

“Is it weird being in Lexington?”

“Do you still hang out at the fraternity house?”

“Where do you go out?!?

“Do you eat in D-hall?”

“Does Kevin listen to you?”

Those are the most frequent questions that I hear from friends, former classmates, current students, and just about anyone that I talk to about my new job as assistant basketball coach at Washington and Lee. I have a formulated response to each:

–       “Lexington is great! It is so cheap!”

–       “I eat lunch at the house every Friday.”

–       “I hang out with other coaches and occasionally Law students – and YES, sometimes we go to Macado’s.”

–       “No.”

–       “ Kevin rarely does anything wrong.”

While these questions reveal very important details about my post graduate lifestyle, there is another question that I often get: “What is it like coaching the team you used to play for?”  That is a good question, and one I think about a lot.

Coach Hutchinson often puts a Quote of the Day on our daily practice plan. Before practice starts, he asks someone on the team to recite the quote. After two or three players botch the quote, and first-year Austin Piatt then recites it word for word, Coach asks how the quote applies to our team, basketball and life.  And we talk about it together.

A few weeks ago, the Quote of the Day was: “As steel sharpens steel, so one person sharpens another.”

I wanted to get into coaching because I believed I could make a difference in someone’s life.  I had an amazing undergraduate experience at Washington and Lee on many levels (that is another story!), but the challenges and rewards of being a student-athlete were at the heart of that experience. Even though I learn something new every day, I think I have something to share about the game and how it can be important. While I hope to make an impact, I have quickly realized that I personally learn, grow, and sharpen all the time because I have the privilege of being around the people in our basketball family at Washington and Lee everyday.

Drew Kimberly shows me what determination looks like.  Jim Etling exemplifies the power of communication.  Kevin Gill teaches me the importance of consistency.  Patrick O’Connor displays what true leadership is. Clay McLean epitomizes the scholar-athlete. Andrew Franz shows me the great impact of positivity.  Coach Hutchinson makes me understand the value of reliability.

And there is more.  Every member of our team, our family, ‘sharpens’ me on a daily basis.  I am surrounded by ‘steel’. We sharpen each other.

As exams approach and we face a tough road game at Randolph-Macon College today, we remind ourselves that we are getting better every day.  And that is because we are ‘steel sharpening steel.’

Check out the clip below of Patrick O’Connor’s half court buzzer beater to top Roanoke last Saturday! (That assistant coach looks pretty quick in the celebration!)

Go Generals!

In our next post, we offer a video diary of the team’s trip to Scranton, Pa., for the PNC Royal Rumble on December 16-17.  Look for the video later that week.


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