Several weeks ago, two of the Columbus North High School football coaches got into an altercation on one of the sidelines during a game. Many of the reactions I saw and heard were critical of the coaches, and some people thought the coaches should be fired since they were not appropriately representing their school.

I was also unhappy with the coaches’ behavior. However, I think people deserve second chances and the opportunity to change and improve.

Another frequent criticism of the coaches was that they were not being good role models for their students. Yes, the coaches made poor choices, but this just shows they are human. Don’t we want our children to know that their role models aren’t perfect, that they, too, have flaws?

After the incident, the coaches modeled admirable behavior by showing the students how to deal with mistakes. Both coaches acknowledged their part in the altercation and took responsibility for their actions. Both coaches apologized and accepted the consequences that followed. Having to miss games right as tournament play starts has to be hard for a coach, but they didn’t complain. They could have easily put the blame on each other or made a big fuss about how unfair their punishment was. Wouldn’t we like our children to handle their mistakes as these two coaches did?

The school district also gave the coaches support plans to help them learn how to prevent this kind of behavior in the future. When we make mistakes, we need to learn from them and improve ourselves. In a statement head coach Tim Bless sent to The Republic, he said, “I am resolute to grow from this experience.” I am glad the coaches were given second chances.

When other people make mistakes, do we rush to judgment and not allow them the opportunity to try again? I know I make many mistakes and need other people to give me a second chance, so I try to do the same for others.

How about when we make a mistake? Do we condemn ourselves? Don’t be so hard on yourself; give yourself permission to be less than perfect and then learn from your missteps.

What do you do when your children make a poor choice? Do you only chastise them or do you also take some time to teach them how to handle mistakes?

We can all follow the example these coaches set for us after their altercation. We can admit what we did was wrong and take responsibility for our actions. We can apologize, accept the consequences and take steps to keep from making the same mistake again. We are all human and we all make mistakes. We also all have the ability to change and improve and should be given the opportunity to do so.

Susan Cox is one of The Republic’s community columnists, and all opinions expressed are those of the writer. She is a mother, an adjunct instructor of English at Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus and a substitute teacher for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. She can be reached at