Sheba’s Family Restaurant was a popular place to eat today and for more than just the normal everyday great food. Many local citizens, who were joined by the coaches and athletes from Hope High School had the pleasure of meeting former Arkansas Razorback Coach, Houston Nutt, Former Razorback Football player Ike Forte and our own local football legend, David DJ Johnson.
As the Bobcats sipped on their ice cold drinks and delicious cheeseburgers, Nutt spoke to the excited kiddos about the type of dedication it takes to play sports. “These are the best days of your life right here. I have had the pleasure of being around a lot of great players and I’m going to tell you this, you can do anything you want to do but it is up to you. There are three questions a coach is going to ask you, Number one, can I trust you? – Can I trust you when the heat index is 100, can I trust you to be your best, can I trust you to do everything you can do when it is 100 degrees? Number two, are you committed? -Are you truly committed, when it’s time to do those line drills in basketball, are you committed when coach asks you to do a little extra? And the last one, do you care? – Do you care about your teammates, do you care about your coaches because they care about you. If I go back and ask those three questions, trust, commitment, and care, it’s those three questions that are going to take you all the way through,” Nutt said.
He spent some time talking to the Bobcats individually, walking from table to table, shaking hands and no doubt giving tips he has learned throughout his career, as not only a great player but a great coach.
Ike Forte, gained some laughter from the crowd by saying, “I was tricked into coming here, I was told I was going to have lunch with Houston Nutt.” He then went on to talk about David DJ Johnson, “I don’t think you all understand, this man right here is a legend in Arkansas,” Forte said. He talked about times when he was in high school, how great the HHS coaches were for bringing the athletes to eat, allowing them to gain some wisdom and perspective from former players and that he would’ve liked to have the opportunity as a young player. “These people, your coaches have respect for you all, they’ve brought you here today,” Forte said.
“The Brotherhood of Fulton along with David, DJ Johnson invited Coach Nutt to come to Hope. He is a great motivational speaker and we wanted him to motivate the kids. The Brotherhood sponsored this and paid for the meal for the kids. The Brotherhood works with drug courts along side Judge Randy Wright and Judge Joe Short trying to turn the youth’s life around. We thought this was a great idea to have Coach Nutt speak to the young men and women that are in the athletic programs at Hope High,” Jessie Henry said.
Beckie Moore, Director of the Hope Chamber of Commerce presented all the guest speakers with their very own 45th Annual Hope Watermelon Shirt, along with a schedule of events for the festival. After all, watermelons were the just a secondary reason for the stop in Hope. “I have a great relationship with David Johnson and I think a lot of the city of Hope. Mike Huckabee was the governor when I started coaching at Arkansas, I love watermelon so there is just a connection with me and Hope. Anytime David asks me to stop by and visit with high school, I am happy to do it,” Nutt said.
It was a great experience for the Bobcats and their coaches. After everything was wrapped up, they all wished the Bobcats the best on this year’s season, then headed out to pick up a juicy melon to enjoy.