As one might expect, tributes have been pouring in. One of them was from an assistant coach and one-time classmate of mine, Liberty Christian Fellowship pastor Tim Fritson. I'll quote a snippet of his Facebook post from this afternoon, which I believe rings true for any coach, sponsor, and supporter of interscholastic competition:
Coach Nixon exemplified this, whether it was guiding Liberty's runners to three state championships, keeping us in line and focused on our Mission Possible and Road Scholar competitions, or laying down the tracks at school functions and other community events as a DJ for hire. His focus was on enriching the lives of his scholar-athletes and encouraging them to excel.Tim Fritson, via Facebook, wrote:I can remember one of my first days at XC practice. 6:00am, hot and humid, mid-July. I was trying to figure out what my role was supposed to be. Tim said, “Well, we’re going to love kids, help them mature, maybe they’ll get fast and beat some people. That’d be fun.”
And believe it or not, that’s truly the way he coached. Love first, kids future second, kids speed third, beat some people fourth.
And yet...his kids regularly beat almost all the other kids. And they’re amazing young people while they do it.
Don’t get me wrong, the man wanted to win, as much as anyone I’ve met. But he refused to compromise priorities 1, 2, 3 in order to do it.
That is the life of Tim Nixon. Be as great as you can, but NEVER sacrifice the really important stuff to do so. Do all the work. Be consistent. Show up more. Make sacrifices. Work harder than everyone.
But keep the priorities in order. Do not budge on the priorities.
That mentality has changed the lives of thousands of people. It’s changed a community...in the best way possible.
I write this here in particular, as I think these priorities should remain true to all of us who coach, advise and encourage our young scholars: "Love kids, help them mature, maybe they'll get fast and beat some people." May we never forget that with each question we write, each invitation we send to schools, each interaction we have at tournaments and on this board, our paramount purpose in quiz bowl (as well as most interscholastic competition) is to show current and future players that they are important and valued by our communities.