The Northside Eagles are preparing for life after football

Today it is about investing in the future for many years to come.

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia — Friday night is showtime for members of the Northside Eagles football team, but recently their coach began to emphasize a different set of skills.

Trainer Chad Alligood developed these “Life Wednesday” experiences. He says he never imagined the bond created through open and honest conversations, which has resulted in a closer group for players and coaches. He says it just fits with what makes the Northside community great.

Coach Alligood pushes his players every practice session.

“Our kids love to play and our kids love to work out,” he says, but “hump days” start to rank just as high when it’s time for “food Wednesday.”

“Football here at Northside takes care of itself. We’ll always have a few players,” Alligood said.

Coach Alligood was a teacher and assistant coach on Green Street for 17 years before taking the reins as Top Eagle.

After his promotion, he saw the need to focus on winning outside of the game.

“I wanted to highlight something outside of football, to make them great men. We say that all the time, but we’re actually going to do something concrete to help them,” Alligood said.

Every Wednesday, he requires his players to dress professionally and even provides a walk-in closet filled with donated clothing so there’s no excuse for not attending.

It was a learning curve for the players.

“Initially players were like, ‘Ugh…’ about dressing up every Wednesday, but we started to like it. Then we noticed that other kids outside of the team were also dressing up because they were following the football team because we’re like the principal,” said player Oceen Raines.

“We spend time on how to use the right handshake, how to talk to a lady, how to sit at a table with more than one fork, how to change the oil, how to do anything you might possibly do outside of the high School when you grow up,” Alligood said.

Alligood pushes the same level with these life skills as it does with running games on the practice field.

He says that he and his coaching staff don’t just talk, they walk the road, and the players grow from it.

Player Demarcus Allen says it’s all about: “Taking responsibility, contributing and helping the team to reach higher levels.

Today it is about investing in the future for many years to come.

“I want them to return to Northside married with successful jobs because football is going to end for all of us. Someday, one day, I want them to carry those skills for the rest of their lives and teach their kids the skills that we teach them,” Alligood said.

Alligood says occasionally during the regular season and now that it’s spring football, he allows the team to dress uniformly in team clothes during midweek assignments, but teaching valuable lessons still remains Life Wednesdays’ priority.

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