Many football players in college and in the pros can help motivate younger athletes by setting a good example or providing inspiration. And the effect that they can have on those athletes is very strong.
Former North Pike football star Javian Jackson is hoping to carry on that tradition but he is planning to do so in a different form. Jackson aspires to be an offensive coach, something that he has had his eye on for quite some time. He is in his final semester at Kentucky Wesleyan University, where he played on the football team. One of his final requirements to graduate is completing an internship in coaching, which he is presently doing as a member of the North Pike staff.
But for Jackson it is more than the X’s and O’s on a dry erase board. He wants to have a positive influence on a kid’s life that goes beyond the football field.
“It’s not just being a football coach, it is also being a motivator,” he said. “Some people don’t have fathers in their lives to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. I just want to be that football coach that is not just there on the football field but also off the field.”
Jackson hopes to inspire kids to continue their education after high school, pushing them to work hard and take nothing for granted.
“I want to tell them to get an education and go to college, especially if you have a scholarship and it is free, take the free schooling instead of staying home and taking a minimum wage job,” he said. “Kids do that all of the time and it makes me upset to see a lot of kids in Pike County and Walthall and all around. It makes me upset how they have a free education and they will go to school or college and do something stupid and get kicked out of school.”
His desire to inspire kids to go down the right path developed after seeing people take advantage of a scholarship to go to school.
“I’ve seen guys come in (wasting) away their scholarship,” Jackson said.
“They are not even trying to do anything. They go to class messing around, playing around, not taking notes. At the same time, why are you here if you aren’t going to try? That’s what gets me. Anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it. Everyone is here for one reason and that it to get an education. Once you walk across that stage, that is a piece of paper nobody can take out of your hand.”
Jackson has also had local kids like his cousin Jermarius Lewis and Damuriyon Montgomery — who both play for North Pike — reach out to him saying that they want to follow in his footsteps.
“When I was in Kentucky, those guys shot a message to me saying, ‘I want to be like you.’ ” Jackson said. “And I tell them all the time, ‘Be better than me.’”
Back when he was in the shoes of the kids he is working with now, there were several people who inspired him, but one stood out — his cousin, former NFL player and Pike County native Glover Quin.
“Glover, he was one of those guys who when he came back home, he reached out to all of his family members and friends and said, ‘I want your kids in a camp,’ ” Jackson said. “That was something like that, that got to me. When he came back, nothing changed, nothing changed about him. He was always there for someone, even when he was off in the NFL. That kind of made me want to be like him. He did something for himself and I want to do something for myself.”
But players like Quin also taught Jackson about being humble. “One thing that always got to me, though, is that I am not worried about the money,” he said.
“I want to be here for the kids. Most people think about the money, but I come here to help these coaches. I stay here and if we win a championship or win district, I am going to get a pay raise. (But) what I am worried about it winning games, winning to get kids into college, winning to raise my kids’ GPA. I want kids to finish on the honor roll, I want kids to walk across that stage with a degree and say that coach right there is the reason I’m here today and I want to be that guy.”