CORONAVIRUS VOICES: Bluffton football coach Brent Kunkel

We continue today with our series called CORONAVIRUS VOICES, giving area coaches, players and others a platform to share their stories, thoughts and advice during the pandemic. 

Today, we welcome Coach Brent Kunkel of Bluffton.

I, like everyone else in the world, have spent the last couple of months living in a state of uncertainty.  

Currently the most common question I am asked is…”So what are you doing now?”  It’s a fair question. I mean after all, school is closed, track season is cancelled, football off-season workouts are up in the air…what am I doing now?

At times like these it is important to have something solid to fall back on.  If you strip everything else away, what remains?  Right now, for many of us, the things that give us this sense of identity and purpose have either been taken away, or changed in such a way that they do not feel the same.  What better time than now to reevaluate those things that are the most important?

For me, the first thing on that list is my faith. My favorite verse in the Bible is Ephesians 4:1 – ‘I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” 

I feel like God put me on this earth to be a teacher and a coach, but if I am only doing that for my own personal gain I am wasting the opportunity I have been blessed with.  Whether my football teams go 0-10 or 15-0…my mindset and purpose for what I am doing will not change.  We all have been called to do something…don’t waste the call!

Second, my family.  My wife Danielle is one of the most loving and selfless people that I have ever met.  We have been married for almost 14 years, and for 12 of those I have been a two-sport varsity coach.  She has put her life on hold, given up dreams and passions that she has had, all to give me the chance to pursue mine.  The Lord has also blessed us with four amazing children – Cora (10), Wesley (8), Eliza (6) and Harrison (4).  Covid-19 has given me the opportunity to be at home and spend quality time that I never would have had otherwise.  When this passes, the memories that we have been able to make during these couple of months will last a lifetime.

Finally, coaching.  Our program has two acronyms that we constantly repeat to our players.  

The first is E.E.E. – The purpose of the Bluffton football program is to: turn boys into men of integrity by teaching them to EMBRACE their PAST, ENGAGE in their PRESENT, so they can ENHANCE their FUTURE.  We all come from different backgrounds, what you have done in your past does not define you but does shape who you are.  Live in the present, make sure you are doing the things you need to do today, so that you can do the things that you want to do later.

The second is F.A.M.I.L.Y. – Forget. About. Me. I. Love. You. – What are you willing to give up in service of others?  What an amazing opportunity that we have right now to stand out and be different by sacrificing a little bit of what we want, so that others can benefit.

These are strange times, but as with any storm, this too will pass.  However, during this time I encourage you to think about the foundational things in your life, and to spend your time investing in those things. 

Brent Kunkel
Bluffton High School

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