What I’ve Learned From Buddy

It’s the holiday season, so excuse me for a bit. This column may not be completely about football.

I admit for the last few months that my words have been focused in one location — Ocilla. And I know a lot of you are wondering how Irwin County head coach Buddy Nobles is doing. Most of the time, you can go to the Irwin County Indians Facebook page or Nobles’ family’s pages to get updates from Buddy’s wife, Tammy. We constantly get to see the outstretched arms of absolute and extreme gratitude from that whole community.

Really, that’s what I wanted to talk about this time around.

One of the phrases I constantly tell Buddy when I see him these days is, “I love you.”

I know that, for the longest time, we all used to think that those words weren’t supposed to be said in public — or at all — to someone you love and care about. It was meant for closed rooms, doors that no one could hear behind, secret conversations, and private moments.

I propose that we put all that aside.

I walk up to Buddy and tell him that I love him. I call him on the phone to talk and tell him that I love him before we hang up and go on to the rest of our days.

And that’s how it should always be. I tell those in my life that I feel that way, so why should it be any different in public?

I guess now that we’re heading to the end of another calendar year, I’m issuing a bit of a challenge — and a reminder to myself — to not keep things hidden as we all go forward. The emotional hide-and-seek isn’t worth all the grief and regret.

We’ve all lost someone we hold close, or we know someone who has. How did we act in that moment? How did we act in those moments that led up to a last conversation or communication? How much did we leave on the table, and how often do we look back and wonder what happened in the in-betweens?
It’s an easy escape to not wonder about those kinds of moments. But the notion to change that is simple: Talk to one another and don’t leave the thought that lingers in your head on the table. I admit it took me a while to get to this point, and I have experienced moments where I kicked myself over what I did and what I should have done.

So, I’ve learned from those around me. And I’ve learned from Buddy.

Written by: Jon Nelson