High school soccer coach on how athletics can help build community

Tom Huleatt

Tom Huleatt 1949 –

Tom, who joined the Bruderhof in 1977 with his wife, Bonnie, is the head of the English department at The Mount Academy, a Bruderhof high school in upstate New York. But he’s just as passionate about soccer as he is about literature. In fact, it runs in his blood. The eldest of four brothers, all captains of their college teams, he led the soccer team at Bowdoin, where he graduated in 1971, and now coaches at The Mount. 

Musing on the way the world has changed over the years, Tom notes that the game itself, and the higher purpose of athletics, has not: 

Joining a team is about learning respect, responsibility, self-discipline, and honesty. And not just agreeing that those things are important, but remembering them in the heat of the moment, and honoring them on the field.

When we made it to the state championship in our first season and lost, the press noted that our guys did not shed a tear. They held their heads high and celebrated that they’d still come in second. That attitude set the tone for our team: you don’t have to be stars, you just need to do your best.

I’m also concerned about what happens off the field: how you’re getting along at home with your parents, or in the classroom with your peers. In my own experience – I went through some rough times in college – your team will often hold you accountable.

Interestingly enough, sports is one of the things that eventually led me to this community. The idea of each one doing his part with a greater purpose in mind. The sense of camaraderie – the feeling of going through something together, good or bad. Whether you win or not, you stick together, because you’re all part of the same team.

Afternoon soccer practice with the Robertsbridge village team

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